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At the heart of English folk

Creative Artists Residences 2014/15

Creative Artists Residencies form part of the English Folk Dance and Song Society's (EFDSS) Aspire Programme, which is supported by the Paul Hamlyn Foundation, to provide artistic support and professional development to emerging artists.

Bursary Holders

Phillip Henry and Hannah Martin

Phillip Henry and Hannah Martin

Phillip Henry and Hannah Martin are a BBC Folk Award winning duo from the West Country. Their residency will kickstart a project to celebrate the centenary of Cecil Sharp and Maud Karpeles' song collecting trips to the Appalachian Mountains in 1916/7.

During a week at Cecil Sharp House, they will use the Vaughan Williams Memorial Library to research diaries and original notes taken and re-examine their work, in the light of both the English and American traditions, and create reinterpretations of the songs in their collection ‘English Folk Songs From The Southern Appalachians’.

They are hoping this could lead to a more substantial project and album or collaborations with English and American musicians to explore the relationships between these two genres.

Find out more about Phillip and Hannah

Emily Portman

Emily Portman

Emily Portman is a singer, writer and concertina player originating from Glastonbury and hailed "one of the new British folk scene’s most beguiling presences" (Uncut). Emily is the 2013 holder of the BBC Radio Two Folk Award for Best Original Song and is now embarking on a new songwriting project for her third solo album, due out in June 2015.

The EFDSS Creative Artist Residency will enable Emily to research and arrange traditional songs and tales that will in turn inspire new compositions. Emily said:

“Traditional folk songs and stories are the dominant inspiration of my songwriting. I am drawn to the rich folklore surrounding birth, death and the power of liminal spaces in folklore: the lying in and laying out rituals, ballads of the restless dead, the untying of knots at births and deaths, death as a symbol for transformation and metamorphosis and so on. Drawing on materials found in the EFDSS archives, my aim is to write new material unearthing the contemporary significance of these songs and tales.”

Find out more about Emily

Polly Paulusma

Polly Paulusma

Polly Paulusma is singer songwriter who has toured the UK, USA and Europe and supported the likes of Bob Dylan, Marianne Faithfull, Jamie Cullum and Coldplay. An English graduate from Cambridge, her residency will tie in with a post-graduate research project to research the influence of traditional folk music on the writings of the feminist novelist Angela Carter.

Polly will use the archives at Cecil Sharp House to find the songs which have most impact on Carter’s work, and then to be able to play them with folk musicians, work up versions of them with musicians who could guide her and teach her more about traditional folk performance.

From the rehearsals with folk musicians Maz O’Connor and Jack Harris and indie folk bass player John Parker, the bursary will allow her, to create a mixed-media project involving spoken-word excerpts of feminist prose presented side-by-side with the traditional folk songs that inspired them.

Find out more about Polly


The Full English

The Full English

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.


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