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Freak folk
Stylistic origins Psychedelic folk
Baroque pop
Noise rock
Cultural origins Late '60s United States
Typical instruments Acoustic guitar, percussion
Other topics
New Weird America

Freak folk is a genre of folk music associated with contemporary artists such as Davenport, Devendra Banhart, CocoRosie, Mr. Charlie, Panda Bear, Kelli Ali, Joanna Newsom, Vetiver, Bowerbirds, Greg Weeks, Hecuba, Little Teeth, Akron/Family, Rio en Medio, Sufjan Stevens, Bigger Princess, Sean Hayes, and The Dodos, and with '60s and '70s artists like the Holy Modal Rounders,The Incredible String Band, Tyrannosaurus Rex, The Godz and The Fugs.

Freak folk draws from traditional folk music and uses mainly acoustic instrumentation, but introduces elements of avant-garde music and psychedelic folk, often featuring uncommon sounds, themes, and vocal styles.



"If you were to ask me how I feel about the term freak-folk," said Banhart to The New York Times, "it's cool - you have to call it something - but we didn't name it. We've been thinking about what to call it, and we just call it the Family."

Banhart would eventually become fed-up with the term "Freak Folk", saying in a 2007 Rolling Stone interview, "the term is fucking lame! I just play rock 'n' roll." Others have criticized the label. Greg Vandy, of KEXP, wrote on its blog, "The press have labeled it Freak Folk. Which pisses off all the artists described as such." Ed Droste, of Grizzly Bear, has said, "Freak-folk comes with an image attached: You have to have a beard and be Jesusy, if you know what I mean.... You have to have a really extreme voice, and be really divisive."[1]

See also


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