At the end of last year we announced an exciting new project commissioned by Folk by the Oak and the English Folk Dance and Song Society (EFDSS). Much in a similar vein to the previously adventurous Darwin Song Project and the Cecil Sharp Project, a number of artists were chosen to take part with the aim of creating new music that has a resonance and relevance to a central theme which in this case was Queen Elizabeth I.
The connection to Queen Elizabeth I lies with Folk by the Oak whose annual music festival is held in the beautiful grounds of Hatfield House in Hertfordshire, which was also the childhood home of Queen Elizabeth I. Martin Simpson, Nancy Kerr, Folk by the Oak patron Jim Moray, Bella Hardy, John Smith, Hannah James, Rachel Newton and early music specialist Emily Askew were selected to live and work together for a week in Hatfield House. There they were to take inspiration from the material and history, stories, myths, characters and legends relating to the 16th century period and also draw inspiration from the role that Hatfield House played in the Queen’s life.
On hand to help them was Tudor Historian Ian Mortimer whose book The Time Traveller’s Guide to Elizabethan England was no doubt essential reading for all participants.
We have a very special exclusive video today which provides the first behind the scenes glimpse of what has been taking place at Hatfield House as well as an interview with Jim Moray and John Smith. Whilst some of you may be wondering what music they were likely to conjure and whether it resembled anything from the Blackadder series you may well be surprised to hear some of the results. The background track to the video is ‘Shores of Hispaniola‘ which was written by the talented Nancy Kerr during her time on the project.
The results of the project were premièred last month at Cecil Sharp House and The Old Palace at Hatfield House. Following this the artists then returned again to record a live CD at the Old Palace itself. The CD will be launched at Folk by the Oak on 20 July, where the artists will come together once more for a final set as part of the festival.
Visit the festival website here for more details: http://www.folkbytheoak.com/
Photo Credit: Elly Lucas