The BBC is to feature six new one-hour Radio Ballads in the run up to the 2012 Olympics. For those unfamilair with the past two Radio Ballads they feature stories told as first-hand accounts (non-narrated) accompanied by songs specifically written for each story. The orginal Radio Ballads were prouduced by Ewan MacColl and Charles Parker and broadcast in the late 1950’s. The last series was broadcast in 2006 and featured a number of folk artists including Kate Rusby, Karine Polwart, John Tams, Jez Lowe, Chris While and Julie Matthews, Bob Fox and Barry Coope with the Radio Ballads band (Andy Cutting, John McCusker and Andy Seward). Each series is themed and as you probably guessed this series will focus on the Olympics.
The new series will begin with Olympics Through The Ages, the series revisits the Berlin Games of 1936 and the Munich Massacre of 1972, and considers the agony and ecstasy of Olympic competition, as well as the controversies, boycotts and protests.
There are 50 newly composed songs written by some well known folk musicians including some that featured on the last series. Amongst them are Jez Lowe, Chris Wood, Martin Simpson, Julie Matthews and Steve Tilston.
They will be broadcast on BBC Radio 2 on Monday evenings from 2 July – 6 August.