English Folk Dance and Song Society awards funding for new music

Creative Bursary

Seven projects will create new music rooted in the English folk tradition following the latest round of funding awards by England’s national development agency for the folk arts.

The English Folk Dance and Song Society (EFDSS) has made four awards under its 2017 Creative Bursary scheme and three through its Creative Seed Funding programme.

Both initiatives are funded through the PRS for Music Foundation Talent Development Partner scheme. They come under the umbrella of EFDSS’ Artists’ Development Programme, which provides professional development support, both creative and business, to artists at all levels of their career.

Katy Spicer, EFDSS Chief Executive and Artistic Director, said: “All the successful applications are rooted in the folk arts but will bring a fresh take on their subject matter.

“By its very nature, folk music has always evolved and reflected the issues of its generation and these awards will help to develop some very innovative and relevant proposals. We look forward to supporting and working with the artists as their ideas take shape.

“Our bursary and funding schemes are designed to kickstart projects, giving the recipients time to bring their ideas to life. A great example is Sam Sweeney’s Made in the Great War music and storytelling project which began thanks to an EFDSS Creative Bursary.”

The Creative Bursary scheme invited applications from more established artists for an award of up to £2,000 to support creative research and development, together with use of rehearsal space at Cecil Sharp House and access to the Vaughan Williams Memorial Library. They have been made to:

·       Alex Vann (Spiro) to create an instrumental concert trio using traditional English tunes as the basis for improvisation where each performance is one piece of improvised music using traditional tunes as the cornerstones

·       Tom Moore and Archie Churchill-Moss (Moore Moss Rutter) to develop and produce an album of new art-music based compositions and devised improvisations with their roots in local English folk tune traditions

·       Alma (John Dipper, Emily Askew & Adrian Lever) and Nick Hennessey to devise a new multi media experience including lighting, data projectors and other technology to enhance the performance and build bridges between inherited traditions and modern media experiences

·       Fiddler Rowan Piggott to explore traditional and contemporary folk songs highlighting the decline and environmental threats to our native honeybee and bumblebees.

The Creative Seed Funding Programme was open to emerging artists and involves a £750 bursary to research and develop new work linked to the English folk arts. The awards have been made to:

·       Emily Mae Winters to research, record and tour new songs dealing with modern socio-political issues including the movement of people, feminism, fake news, global warming, war and social media

·       Heg Brignall (Heg & The Wolf Chorus) to research new material based on modern day myths or myths and legends that have found their way back into our culture, leading to a single/EP release and finished studio album in 2018

·       India Electric Company to research, write, record and release the second in a series of releases for 2017 with the theme of country and the city on a six track EP/album.

More information: https://www.efdss.org

HEG & THE WOLF CHORUS – A Tale Of Sailors (own label)

A Tale Of SailorsAfter two singles Heg & The Wolf Chorus stretch out to an EP. The band: Heg Brignall, who writes the songs, Stephanie Taylor, Richie Dobson, Vince Martin and double-bassist Joe Kelly live in Bristol and have links with Dartington College. Their previous release, Giant, explored folk tales from the Bristol area and A Tale Of Sailors comprises four songs of the sea.

For a band with avant-garde connections the songs on A Tale Of Sailors are quite traditional in construction. ‘Three Sailors’, for example, tells of the titular characters being picked off one by one by a sea serpent. The accompaniment is based around Heg’s piano, Vince’s violin and a string quartet with percussion from Stephanie and Richie. ‘Annie Of The Atlantic’ is the record’s big production number, a story taken from Heg’s family history, and ‘Boat And I’ is a reworking of their first single. ‘Sea Shanty For Bessie Harker’ is the story of a heroine who effected a hazardous rescue, although it doesn’t really conform to any shanty form – you might just about work the halyards on the ho’s, I guess.

Now, after tantalising us with three short offerings, I do think that it’s time that Heg presented us with a full album.

Dai Jeffries

Artists’ website: http://www.hegandthewolfchorus.com

‘Three Sailors’ – the official video: