Sam Lee, Rachel and Becky Unthank will be touring A Time and Place from September 17-19
One hundred years on, the Great War remains a potent cultural moment in the British psyche. It is the event that brought a violent end to folk traditions that were already reeling in the face of industrialisation and its dislocations. Morris dancing sides vanished, musicians were silenced and folk songs were never heard again.
Yet out of the slaughter came some of the most searing creative responses to war in the nation’s history – and many of them from regular soldiers in the frontline. Black humour, nostalgia and cold nihilistic despair are all present in the songs and, most memorably, poetry of the era. This centenary year has seen a number of treatments of this material from the folk scene, including two excellent releases from folk stalwarts Show of Hands and Coope, Boyes & Simpson.
In September, another project comes to culmination in a series of concerts in Birmingham, London and Leeds led by three stars of the current folk revival – Sam Lee, Rachel and Becky Unthank. Entitled A Time and Place: Musical Meditations on the First World War, the show brings reinterpretations of the traditional song, music and poetry of the time together with new creative responses to wartime stories.
This multimedia show will feature video backdrops from Matthew J Watkins, based on the modern art of the period.