NEW ROLE TO SUPPORT FOLK ARTISTS
EFDSS introduces new role to support folk artists
A new role to offer more support and create new opportunities for folk artists has been introduced by the organisation that represents folk culture, the English Folk Dance and Song Society (EFDSS).
Neil Pearson has been appointed as Artist Development Manager at EFDSS. Key aspects of his job will be to manage the Society’s Folk Rising programme, which showcases emerging musicians, commission new projects and administer the bursary programme.
Neil, who is also Programming Manager for EFDSS’s headquarters Cecil Sharp House in Camden, is part of the management team that organises Shrewsbury Folk Festival, one of the most progressive and forward-looking folk festivals in the UK.
In recent years he has been Project Director for two high-profile and successful multi-artist projects; both the Darwin Song Project and the Cecil Sharp Project have seen British and North American folk musicians come together for a residential period with the aim of creating new works together.
Alistair Anderson, the founder of Folkworks, which did much to introduce more young people to traditional music, has welcomed the new appointment.
Anderson, who also developed England’s first degree course in folk and traditional music at Newcastle University, said: “I truly believe that traditional music has an important place in contemporary society and this new role will give young and emerging artists valuable support.
“These gifted youngsters will be the ones who create a new place for folk arts alongside all the other elements of our multifaceted cultural life today. It is important that they have a range of experiences and performance contexts to feed their love of the music and power an ambition to connect with new audiences and inspire a whole new generation to join in and enjoy singing, playing and dancing themselves.”
EFDSS’s Chief Executive Katy Spicer said: “Since 2009, EFDSS has been proactively working with artists, musicians and dancers to offer them training and creative opportunities. Neil’s experience and knowledge will enable EFDSS to provide even more training and creative opportunities, strengthening the support we can offer.”
Artist development projects to date
Funding for creative research and development to artists including Laurel Swift, Debs Newbold, Hazel and Emily Askew, and Tim Van Eyken.
Bursaries to help with areas of professional development including marketing, touring opportunities, international showcases and material for a CD and concert.
Support to Jon Boden’s inspirational internet project A Folk Song a Day.
Associate Artist status given to Laurel Swift, Jackie Oates, Lisa Knapp and Tim Van Eyken as artists developing new and innovative work rooted in a traditional English folk repertoire.
Folk Rising, giving a platform to 115 new and emerging artists some of whom are now becoming familiar faces on the folk music circuit including Walsh and Pound, The Staves, Blair Dunlop, Ewan McClennan, Emily Barker, Sam Sweeney and Hannah James, Sam Carter.
Folk Rising performances in London (CSH/Nest Collective) and at Keith Summers Festival, Beverley and Hull (Beverley Folk Festival), The Sage Gateshead, Derby Music Month, Fylde Folk Festival, Bright Phoebus Sheffield.