Thursday, February 27

Shirley Collins: Lodestar

- May 15, 2017

Less than a third of the way into this extraordinary event one became aware if being privileged to be at something very special. This assembly of fine exponents of folk music was not only there to perform a beautiful set of songs. They were there also to remind us of how important this musical heritage is – massively important!

The collecting of folk song has been the work of a dedicated few, The Copper Family of course and Shirley Collins no less. I was amazed to learn that she had been collecting songs in America as far back as 1959 – she simply does not look old enough to have been there then.

The structure of the programme was a series of guests, all immense talents, singing songs, playing instruments, some of which were unusual to say the least, and all of them played brilliantly. So too the singing, fine, fine voices, in particular Sam Lee, Naomi Bedford and John Kirkpatrick. I even warmed to Morris dancing in this context, accepting that this is a part of our heritage that teams like the Brighton Morris are doing so well.

After an interval Shirley Collins came to the stage for what was the Lodestar section of the evening. The format continued to be narrated, explaining the origins and development of songs that shifted form Britain to the Americas and sometimes back, anecdotes of their retrieval and discovery and of course the delivery of the songs. Collins has a voice that is both powerful yet frail, an honest voice untainted by the world of popular music and her delivery is heartfelt, sometimes moving and at other times impish and witty.

From the minute I saw this event listed I knew that I had to be there and now I am glad to say that I witnessed something very special and more so something very important.

Dome Concert Hall

14 May

Andrew Kay

Rating: ★★★★★

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