Why the Change to Troubadour?

 
 

Effective June 1, 2019, The Minstrel Acoustic Concert Series has changed its name to The Troubadour Acoustic Concert Series.

In our former name, we had always considered "Minstrel" in its original definition, i.e. traveling entertainers of Medieval Europe. In our early years we displayed a hand painted sign depicting a pantaloon-wearing lute player. But of late, that word has taken on a more nefarious meaning.

In early 19th century USA, well before the Civil War and the end of slavery, wandering musicians evolved into wandering troupes of musicians and entertainers whose "entertainment" included white actors putting on blackface make-up and performing racist stereotypes of Black people. These troupes were known as "minstrel shows" and continued purveying racist humor well into the middle of the 20th century. That is definitely not the image we want to present to the public.

And yet that was the image that sprang to mind for some people when they read "The Minstrel". And particularly, after the appearance in the news of photographs of some white politicians done up in blackface, that unwanted interpretation became more prominent. And the unwanted interpretation was reinforced when Google searches for our concert series came back interspersed with those photographs. This showed us that despite our attachment to the name in its original meaning, it was clearly time for a change.

The Folk Project wants to be clear that it welcomes "folk" of every color and size and shape and form and orientation. So we have traded in our old name with the unintentional baggage it carries for a new one: "The Troubadour Acoustic Concert Series". Or, "The Troubadour" for short.

There are times when being "politically correct" is just plain correct.

Mike Agranoff
Program Chairman
The Troubadour Acoustic Concert Series