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So much of history is written from the point of view of the aristocracy, the landed and powerful gentry, or the church. So very little recounts the experiences of the small, the powerless and the humble.
SIMPLEFOLK is a collection of songs, oral history songs, the ballads of the people … with a few little extras thrown in just to be quirky. The ordinary person, the so called ‘simple folk’, as ever, the backbone of any society who love and labour, often in adverse situations, and who somehow manage to go down in history as mostly a homogenous ‘blob’ - it was their story we sought to tell. Still do - thats what folk music is essentially about. A musical, collective history, told & retold, sung and recited, across the centuries and the fireplaces, a baton to be passed from one generation to the next.
This collection is a focus on songs from the British Isles, which is our personal heritage.
In recording them, one of the things that really struck me was the commonality of the themes, how incredibly similar we all are emotionally, not just across racial & religious & geographical barriers, but also across time itself. The longings of the human heart, it would seem, are as unchanging as the tides.
We dedicated the recording to the incredible strength of the ‘ common man’ - faced with so many obstacles, the very fact that we stand here is testament to the enduring strength & stoutness of heart of our dear ones gone before us - do hope they'd be pleased!
When we finally did access authenic documentation relating to the many, the history was mostly collective, - things like expected lifespan (woefully low!) parish taxation records and general diet. As the facts started to fall into some semblance of order the overwhelming feeling we had was to admire these people, for if life seems difficult at times for us, those difficulties are dwarfed by the burdens our ancestors bore.
All of these songs are traditional, written by an unknown person (we call him Mr. Trad Anon) with the exception of track 4, Fogtown is a modern song written by an American woman, Michelle Shocked. We included this one song because its lyrics depict the modern urban struggle, sort of linking the past with the present.
We completed the CD with a traditional Australian sea shanty, more recently used as a childrens lullaby - Little Fishy. This beautiful song seemed so fitting as a closing number, and its haunting reprise of "Go home and dont cry" seemed so very right and in context.
We hope you enjoy our small contribution to history.