The English Folk Dance and Song Society (EFDSS) commissioned a unique artistic collaboration between two of the United States’ and England’s foremost musical tradition bearers to explore the journey of our shared folk music, and the changes between our musical traditions.
In July 2014 English musician Martin Simpson (one of the finest acoustic finger-style and slide guitar players in the world) and American guitar and banjo player Dom Flemons (from the Grammy award-winning Carolina Chocolate Drops) met at Cecil Sharp House for a short three-day exploratory creative residency to research, and then perform, brand new collaborative material rooted in English and American folk traditions.
This EFDSS commission, in association with WOMAD, was supported by the PRS for Music Foundation. This exciting commission sees both artists researching and exploring how folk songs travelled from England to North America and vice versa, changing shape as they journeyed.
After delving into archive collections in the Vaughan Williams Memorial Library at Cecil Sharp House – including Cecil Sharp’s landmark folk music fieldwork notebooks and diaries from his collecting trips in the Appalachian Mountains.
Martin and Dom performed live on BBC Radio 4 Front Row, and a song from the recording is available here.
The artists premiered the new material at Cecil Sharp House at the end of the research and played a total of 4 shows, culminating in a performance at WOMAD.
Unlocking hidden treasure of England’s cultural heritage. The Full English is the world’s largest free digital archive English folk songs, tunes, dances and customs. Containing more than 58,400 items from 12 of the country’s most important early 20th century folk music collections, you can delve into wherever you are in the world.