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At the heart of English folk

Gold Badge recipients announced

Five people who have made key contributions to the folk arts have become the latest recipients of Gold Badge awards from the English Folk Dance and Song Society (EFDSS).

Magazine editor Ian Anderson, singer and composer John Tams, founders of Wren Music Marilyn Tucker and Paul Wilson, and writer and researcher Rollo Woods have all been chosen to receive the awards.

Gold Badges are given for unique or outstanding contributions to folk music, dance or song, distinguished service to EFDSS and/or exceptional contributions to EFDSS’ work. The five join an illustrious list of Gold Badge holders including EFDSS founder Cecil Sharp, composer Dr Ralph Vaughan Williams, performer/writer A.L. Lloyd, and musicians The Spinners, EFDSS President Shirley Collins and EFDSS Vice President Eliza Carthy. 

“I am delighted that Ian, John, Marilyn, Paul, and Rollo have been recognised for the important role they have played in their individual fields. All of them have helped to inspire, support and inform generations of folk fans which enables the traditional English folk arts to continue to thrive. They are all very well deserved awards.” 

Alan James, Chair of EFDSS

About Ian Anderson
Ian founded fRoots magazine 35 years ago, the leading folk, traditional and world music magazine in the UK, and has been its sole editor. As a broadcaster he spent 12 years on the BBC World Service and also worked on Jazz FM and Capital Radio. In 1982, he made a TV programme promoting English folk clubs called The Not The Finger In The Ear Show for EFDSS, which was shown on BBC2. He has worked extensively as a folk scene writer, photographer, festival and event producer & tour organiser, and as a highly-regarded record producer and compiler. His notable releases include Hidden English for Topic Records, and The Rough Guide To English Folk Music. A highly accomplished musician, his distinctive English country blues guitar style can be heard on records alongside Nic Jones, Martin Simpson, Rod Stradling, Bob Copper, John Kirkpatrick and many others. 

About John Tams
The career of Derbyshire native John Tams has seen him wear many hats - composer, musical director of the acclaimed Radio Ballads, actor, Olivier Award winner, multiple BBC award winner, broadcaster, collector, and performer. His songs for the National Theatre’s production of War Horse alone has entertained five million people in live performances all over the world (and rising) with 150,000 more watching the live cinema production in one night, and productions still opening all over the world. John’s music for The Mysteries, also for the National Theatre, won him an Olivier Award. In both cases, it would have been the first experience of folk music for many people in the audience. A member of the Albion Band and Home Service, he is also renowned for his theatre work and as Rifleman Daniel Hagman in the television series Sharpe.  John has made more than 50 albums as a singer, musician or producer and continues to perform at festivals and take to stages throughout the UK and Europe.

About Marilyn Tucker and Paul Wilson
Marilyn and Paul founded Wren Music, formerly known as the Wren Trust, in 1983 to develop an awareness of English folk music and traditions in Devon and the South West. Today, the charity works with more than 30,000 people every year, helping them to make traditional and folk music through pre-school and early years’ settings, schools, after school and holiday clubs, community music events and activities. Wren Music works internationally leading exchanges with Canada, South Africa and EU projects involving choirs from six European nations. It also organises promotions in the South West and the annual Baring-Gould Folk weekend highlighting the work of Devon based folk pioneer Sabine Baring-Gould. The couple also still perform regularly as the Wren Band.  Paul and Marilyn are ambassadors for folk and traditional music and have engaged several new generations of folk and traditional musicians through their work in the South West.

About Rollo Woods
The 90-year-old has enjoyed a 75-year relationship with the folk arts, notably through playing for dancing, Morris dancing and researching and performing the music of the village church bands through West Gallery Music.  A widely respected concertina player and dance musician, Rollo’s passion for folk dance was inspired by his mother and on seeing the Cambridge Morris Men perform inspired him to take up the dance whilst at Cambridge, which led to a career in dancing and music which was to last more than 50 years. He also danced with the Winchester Morris side, later becoming Squire. In 1974 Rollo provided some of the music for Lionel Bacon’s A Handbook of Morris Dancing, known to all as the Black Book. Rollo also formed and led the first ever ceilidh band in Hampshire. Over the years, through this playing and teaching including residential workshops and weekly groups, has taught many amateur musicians their craft. His interest in church and secular music led to the founding of the West Gallery Music Association led to festival experiences, guest appearances on BBC television programmes, a sell out book Good Singing Still and formation of revival bands Madding Crowd and Purbeck Village Quire.

Details of the Gold Badge presentation events will be published on as soon as they are confirmed.

Find out more about the EFDSS Gold Badge awards 

Gold Badge Award recipients: 1922 – today


Know someone who merits an English Folk Dance and Song Society (EFDSS) Gold Badge?

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Find out how the nomination process works, with answers to the most frequently asked questions



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