Root and Branch, Vol. 1: A New World

COMPOSERS: Various
LABELS: Root and Branch
WORKS: World
PERFORMER: Various
CATALOGUE NO: (enquiries: fax 0118 931 2582, e-mail: aston@mailbox.co.uk)

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If you want authenticity, try ROOT AND BRANCH, a new collaboration between the English Folk Dance and Song Society and the people who brought you Unknown Public, the periodical package of adventurous contemporary music. You subscribe (no shop sales) to a twice-yearly themed disc plus written support from notes to posters. First time out the topic is migration and uprooting. Songs appear in indigenous English versions and émigrés’ modified or adopted ones, from Australia to the Caribbean. There’s a music hall song turned into folk and a Baptist sermon. Singers range from old-time and contemporary unaccompanied to a 98-year-old Illinois Swede. The result, if heavy on the collecting/preserving angle, is a revealing picture of oral transmission on a world scale.