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At the heart of English folk

Perspectives on Tradition

The English Folk Dance and Song Society has announced three ambitious new ‘Perspectives on Tradition’ cross-cultural creative residencies at Cecil Sharp House, London’s home of English Folk. Each of the residencies will look at notions of culture, tradition, collecting, cross-pollination and fragmentation of music, working with Ian Carter and Nicola Kearey (Stick In The Wheel, From Here Records).

Nicola and Ian have invited Olugbenga Adelekan (Metronomy, Africa Express), Jon1st (DMC DJ Champion, Fly High Society) and Nabihah Iqbal (Ninja Tune, NTS) to experiment and collaborate with them on these residencies. Each artist will spend three days with Nicola and Ian, exploring the national collection of folk arts held in the Vaughan Williams Memorial Library, which is managed by the English Folk Dance and Song Society and held at Cecil Sharp House.

‘Perspectives on Tradition’ is funded by Cockayne – Grants for the Arts and The London Community Foundation. The project is the latest manifestation of the English Folk Dance and Song Society’s commitment to artist development. The organisation champions the development of the English folk arts by providing training and development support to artists, at all stages of their careers. It commissions and supports new works covering a broad range of music and dance. Artist development projects are currently supported by Arts Council England, PRS Foundation and Help Musicians UK.

Nicola Kearey said: ‘We’re really excited to be working with such an interesting set of musicians, and looking forward to diving into the archive of the Vaughan Williams Memorial Library, England’s national collection for the folk arts. New perspectives are essential to understanding our heritage and its place in society.’

Katy Spicer, Chief Executive and Artistic Director of the English Folk Dance and Song Society, said: ‘English folk never has existed in a vacuum. And in our diverse 21st-century England it is more exciting than ever to engage in cross-cultural projects, exploring the traditions that bind us together and celebrating the differences that define our individual identities. We are delighted to be supporting Nicola’s and Ian’s explorative work with these three fascinating creative musicians.’


Also this autumn

The English Folk Dance and Song Society is developing a new creative learning project to explore, share and create artistic connections between English traditional folk music and dance, and folk traditions originating from outside Europe. As the first stage it is seeking artists and committed educators, from a range of backgrounds, to work together for two days in November to explore ideas and material. Read more...

About the artists 

Artist photograph 
Olugbenga was born in Lagos to a Kenyan mother and Nigerian father, and lives in Brighton. He has travelled the world performing as a bass player and vocalist with groups such as Damon Albarn’s Africa Express, Paloma Faith and La Roux. He is best known for his long-standing association with Metronomy, and has worked as a remixer to Laura Marling, Janelle Monae, Mew, Alt-J, Depeche Mode and the Scissor Sisters. He also works worldwide as a DJ.

Artist photograph 
has built a reputation as a ‘DJ’s DJ’ since his breakout win in the 2013 DMC World Online DJ Championships. A turntablist and club DJ, selector and producer, he blends influences across the alternative bass music spectrum. His interest in live performance within electronic music has seen him work with Beardyman in his Dreamteam improvisation band. He has developed a production and live show with the Danish artist Shield, which the pair have been touring extensively in 2019.

Artist photograph 
Nabihah Iqbal
is a musician, producer, DJ and broadcaster from London. Her debut album, ‘Weighing of the Heart’, was released to critical acclaim in 2017. She is an artist-in-residence at London’s Somerset House, where she is writing and recording her second album. Her long-running NTS Radio programme explores musical traditions and cultures without boundaries, and since June 2018 she has presented shows on BBC Asian Network and BBC Radio 1.

Artist photograph 
This project has been devised and will be curated by Ian Carter and Nicola Kearey of Stick In The Wheel, described by Uncut as ‘Britain’s most exciting new folk band’. Five-times BBC Radio 2 Folk Award nominated Stick In The Wheel have been widely acclaimed for their radical approach whilst remaining totally connected with the tradition. Their From Here Records English Folk Field Recordings Project continues to document the roots music of this country, and was a Guardian Album of the Year.

‘Perspectives on Tradition’ is funded by Cockayne – Grants for the Arts and The London Community Foundation.


National Youth Folk Ensemble

National Youth Folk Ensemble


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