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At the heart of English folk

President and Vice-President

The English Folk Dance and Song Society (EFDSS) are extremely fortunate to have two of the great folk artists and advocates of their generation as our President and Vice-President.


Shirley Collins MBE, EFDSS Gold Badge recipient

"Shirley Collins is without doubt one of England's greatest cultural treasures.” Billy Bragg

Shirley has been President since 2008. She first became involved in the folk music scene in the early 1950s meeting the likes of Bob Copper, Ewan McColl and Bert Lloyd.

Collaborating with a number of artists including her sister Dolly and Davy Graham, Shirley release a number of albums through the 1960s and 1970s including Anthems in Eden (1969) with Dolly and Early English musician David Munrow, which is considered by many to be her seminal album. During the 1970s she was a member of The Albion Band and the Etchingham Steam Band before retiring from singing.

With actor Pip Barnes, Shirley now tours with her three illustrated talks "America over the Water" about her collecting trip in the US with Alan Lomax, "A Most Sunshiny Day" on the traditional music of England and Sussex in particular, and "I'm a Romany Rai" about the Gypsy singers and songs of Southern England. She has also edited CDs entitled "I'm a Romany Rai" and "You Never Heard So Sweet" in the series The Voice of the People (2012).

Visit Shirley Collins’ website 


Eliza Carthy MBE, EFDSS Gold Badge recipient

Eliza became Vice-President of EFDSS in 2008. The daughter of folk musicians Martin Carthy and Norma Waterson, Eliza has been performing from a very early age.

Describing herself simply as a "modern English musician" Eliza has revitalised and made folk music relevant to new audiences and has captured the most hardened of dissenters with canny, charismatic and boundary-crossing performance.

Eliza was awarded an MBE in June 2014. With a host of awards and nominations including two nominations for the prestigious Mercury Music Prize, Eliza is also the winner of more than five BBC Radio 2 Folk Awards, and has presented awards for MOJO magazine and been invited to judge at both the Q Awards and the Ivor Novello Awards. In 2003 she became the first English traditional musician to be nominated for a BBC Radio 3 Award for World Music.

Eliza is a very busy artist, writing and performing as a solo artist, with her own band, The Imagined Village (original member) and with family. Over the years she has collaborated with a wide variety of artists including Paul Weller, Jools Holland, Joan Baez and Cerys Matthews. She divides her time between touring and recording with her legendary parents Martin Carthy and Norma Waterson (as Waterson, Carthy and the Gift Band) and pioneering solo and band projects, currently focusing on her solo songwriting material and the Imagined Village.

Visit Eliza Carthy’s website 


National Youth Folk Ensemble

National Youth Folk Ensemble


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