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Folk Song in England Announcement

June 26, 2017 | by Hannah Marshall

Tags: Faber Social, Folk Music, faber and faber

On August 17th we publish Folk Song in England by Steve Roud, a brand new look at the folk music tradition in England.

One of the great musical discoveries of the early twentieth century was that England – famously dubbed ‘the land without music’ only decades before – held a vital heritage of folk song, vibrant and alive among its working men and women. Collectors and enthusiasts such as Cecil Sharp, Ralph Vaughan Williams and Percy Grainger gathered a rich musical harvest: celebratory and elegiac, chaste and ribald, from farmhouse and forge, playground and pub.

But after more than a century of collection, publication and performance, there are still many things we don’t know about England’s traditional music. Where did the songs come from? Who sang them, and where, when and why? What part did singing play in the communities in which the songs thrived? And did the collectors’ passions and prejudices determine what was preserved, and what was not?

In answer to these questions, acclaimed folklorist Steve Roud has drawn on an unprecedented range of sources to present an intricate social history of folk song through the ages, from the sixteenth to the early twentieth century. It is an absorbing and impeccably researched account that gives sonorous voice to England’s musical past.

To celebrate publication of Folk Song in England, join Steve and friends for an evening of music and conversation at The British Library on August 17th. For more information and tickets click here.

Steve Roud is the founder of the Roud Folk Song Index and the author of a number of major works on English folkways and customs, including The English Year and (with Julia Bishop, who contributes two chapters here) The New Penguin Book of English Folk Songs.