Yan Tan Tethera is a brand new English Folk Dance and Song Society (EFDSS) commission, curated by sonic visual artist David Littler. Set to take over Cecil Sharp House – and spilling into the local Camden area – this inspirational project celebrates the wonderful wealth of textile songs in England.
David will bring together a season of performances, events and workshops, as well as an exhibition, which will explore the rich vein of folk songs and dances that have emanated from, and been inspired by, England’s textiles industry. Exploring, sharing and bringing to life songs about roving hecklers, doffing mistresses, croppers, mowers and drunken tailors.
Surprising and thought provoking, contemporary and historic, this collaborative project involves an impressive group of artists including Freddie Robins, Shane Waltener, Prick Your Finger, Stewart Easton, Celia Ward, the McGrath Makers’ Group, and artists from the collective sampler-cultureclash – Jason Singh, Hector MacInnes, Anne Martin and Aimée Leonard. Together they will create the exhibition pieces and shape the associated season of events.
For further insight into the project’s progress visit textilefolksong.co.uk, where you will find information about David and the Yan Tan Tethera project artists, as well as their research, work created during the project and updates about how the public participation events are taking shape.
Tweeters – follow project news and join in the conversation using the #textilefolk hashtag.
15 May to 25 September
Available to view during building opening hours
Along with David Littler’s exhibition of his archival exploration of the subject, artists Freddie Robins, Shane Waltener, Stewart Easton and the McGrath Makers’ Group showcase new work inspired by the connection between textiles and folk song. They will dig into the Vaughan William’s Memorial Library’s archive to connect with, build upon and share the wonderful work of collectors, researchers, writers, singers and groups already exploring local and regional songs connected with textile production.
Expect influences from the laments of Coventry ribbon weavers, protests of Preston steam-loom strikers and Huddersfield loom breakers, as well as the processes and sounds of making; strutching and hackling to the rhythms of the spinning wheel, the din of the weaving shed, the punching of digital embroidery machines and the hum of the 3D printer.
Free (no booking required)
May to September
Yan Tan Tethera is not confined to Cecil Sharp House: keep an eye out for graffiti textile song chairs in cafes, shops and community centres in and around Camden. If you spot one, pick up a needle and thread and embroider your favourite textiles song lyrics into the upholstery. These chairs will feature in the project’s culminating event, Spin-Cycle. To locate a venue and find out how to attend an open stitching workshop lead by Mr X Stitch, visit textilefolksong.co.uk.
May in a Day!
Saturday 10 May, 2pm to 5pm
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Museums at Night: Yan Tan Tethera
Thursday 15 May, from 7pm (drop-in)
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Saturday 5 July, 7pm
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Thursday 25 September 7.30pm
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.