I'm heading up to Sheffield this week to help present "The Secret of the Selkies" (an evening of music, image, and spoken word) along with three of my Modern Faeries colleagues: Fay Hield, Lucy Farrell, and Barney Morse-Brown. The concert takes place on Friday night at the Kelham Island Museum, sponsored by the University of Sheffield's Being Human Festival. If you're anywhere nearby, please come. (Tickets are free but you have to book. For more info, click on the link above.)
Today's music comes from those same three colleagues, whose work is simply beautiful....
Above: "Martha" by Barney Morse-Brown, who performs under the name Duotone. This haunting piece is from his fourth album, A Life Reappearing (2018).
Below: A wonderful performance of "Raggle Taggle Gypsy" (Child Ballad #200) by Fay Hield. The song appeared on her third solo album, Old Adam (2016).
Above: "Go From My Window," another heart-stirring song recorded by Fay for Old Adam. William Alexander Barrett, the editor of English Folk Songs (1891), tells us this ballad was widely known in the reign of Queen Elizabeth I.
Below: "Arthur O'Bradley" by Fay and the Full English band, at the 2014 Folk Awards. Sponsored by The English Folk Dance & Song Society, the Full English project created a searchable online archive of English folk song collections from the early 20th century. Alongside the project, Fay assembled a "supergroup" of folk musicians (Nancy Kerr, Rob Harbron, Ben Nicholls, Seth Lakeman, Martin Simpson, and Sam Sweeney) to create and perform new musical arrangements of material drawn from the archive. They toured the songs in 2013; and produced an album, The Full English, which I highly recommend.
Above: "Polly Vaughan," a traditional Irish ballad performed The Furrow Collective, from their second album, Wild Hog. Lucy Farrell is the singer here, with Alasdair Roberts, Emily Portman, and Rachel Newton.
Below: "I'd Rather Be Tending My Sheep," performed by The Furrow Collective. Lucy is the lead singer on this one too. (And another Modern Faeries colleague, Marry Waterson, created the animated video.) The song appeared on The Mark Radcliffe Folk Sessions album (2014).
And to end, as we began, with music by Duotone (Barney Morse-Brown):
"Greetings Hello," performed at the Union Chapel Church in London in 2016. Barney's mix of loops and cello from the 5:30 point onward is especially dazzling.....
Photographs: Sheep on O'er Hill, Chagford