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At the heart of English folk

Folk Nations

Kolkata Music Residency

“I had an absolutely amazing time [and] have learnt so much about music and lots of other things too… I really hope there will be more phases to this project and I would love to visit the countries of all the participants.” Hannah James, artist

Folk Nations is a British Council project devised to foster creative exchange and collaboration between traditional artists from the UK and the Indian Sub-continent. The English Folk Dance and Song Society (EFDSS) was invited to curate and manage a week long residency which took place in Kolkata in February 2013, working in partnership with

Bringing together some outstanding folk musicians from the UK folk scene and South Asia, the residency provided the opportunity for the musicians to explore and learn from each other’s cultures and musical traditions, as well as foster collaborative working and inspire the creation of new projects.

The UK musicians were English banjo player Dan Walsh, Scottish fiddler Patsy Reid, Welsh harpist and chanteuse Georgia Ruth Williams, and singer and English clog dancer Hannah James.

Their South Asian counterparts were, sarangi player Suhail Yusuf Khan and vocalist Saurav Moni from India, Shahid Hamid, a vocalist and Turab Ali Hashmi, a sitar player from Pakistan and, singer-composer-lyricist Syed Waqeel Ahad, and Dhol player MD.Shafique Mia from Bangladesh.

This residency project concluded with a work in progress style performance for an invited audience of 200 in Kolkata. 

The legacy of the residency project has endured into 2014, with the group appearing at Celtic Connections and Alchemy Festival, followed by a tour of India from 15-20 October.

“Once again thank you [to everyone] for putting up this wonderful residency and very bravely baring the musicians... can't wait for the next one.” Suhail Yusuf Khan, artist

Take a look at more pictures of the project in progress via EFDSS' Flickr

Read Dan Walsh's diary blog


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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