June 2015 sees the 200th anniversary of the Battle of Waterloo. The battle was the subject of several broadsides and traditional songs and one of them is featured in the regular Singer, Song and Source series. The song ‘The Eighteenth Day of June’ first appeared as a broadside, and was recorded from oral tradition; it is now sung by The Wilsons from Teesside – five brothers who have been singing together for many decades and have recently been accompanying pop singer Sting. The extended ‘Source’ feature, by Peter Wood, examines a variety of songs about the battle.
The cover feature is Alistair Anderson, a consummate musician whose playing of the English concertina and Northumbrian pipes has delighted audiences for several decades. Alongside some of his musical biography, Alistair has some important things to say about the role and importance of traditional music.
The featured singer in the Singer, Song and Source series is Bryony Griffith from Yorkshire, who has recently released her first solo album, Nightshade (having previously recorded with husband Will Hampson and with the Demon Barbers). The song is Wild, Wild Berry – a unique song recorded from Ray Driscoll who lived in London and Shropshire, which is where he learned the song. Allan Wilkinson writes on Bryony, while Gwilym Davies contributes on Ray Driscoll.
The featured singers in the Singer, Song and Source series are The Askew Sisters – Hazel and Emily – who have become popular and much-respected performers, as a duo, and in various other musical collaborations. The song is the appropriately-titled, I Would that the Wars Were Well Over, which was noted from Devon singer, Sam Fone, in the 1890s by Sabine Baring-Gould. The Askew Sisters’ version of the song is included on their most recent CD, In the Air or the Earth. Sophie Parkes writes on the Askews and Martin Graebe on Sam Fone.