In the video above, folksinger and music scholar Fay Hield explains The Full English, an ambitious undertaking by the English Folk Dance and Song Society to create the world's largest digital archive of early 20th century English folk arts manuscripts -- including the folk song collections of Harry Albino, Lucy Broadwood, Clive Carey, Percy Grainger, Maud Karpeles, Frank Kidson, Thomas Fairman Ordish, Cecil Sharp, Ralph Vaughan Williams, and Alfred Williams.
As part of the project, Hield gathered some of the finest folk musicians in England (including Nancy Kerr, Martin Simpson, and Seth Lakeman) to produce a terrific CD based on material from the EFDSS archive, which is also called The Full English. I adore good collaborations like this. (Now if only someone would put Seth Lakeman, Johnny Flynn, Chris Thile, and Aoife O'Donovan in a recording studio together.... Ah, a girl can but dream.)
Below is the Full English band's performance of "Arthur O'Bradley" at the British Folk Awards, presented at the Royal Albert Hall in London last month. The band walked off with two awards that night: for Best Group and Best Album of 2013.
Above: "Stand by Your Guns"from The Full English CD (audio only), with Seth Lakeman on lead vocals this time. For updates on the Full English project and the various events surrounding it, visit the Full English blog.
And to end with today, a faery ballad: "Sir Orefeo" performed by Fay Hield with her regular band, The Hurricane Party, at The Greystones in Sheffield a couple of years ago. That's Bellowhead's Jon Boden, Hield's partner, on guitar and backup vocals. (Boden was the brilliant fellow behind the "Folk Song a Day" project in 2010.)