Peter Bellamy‘s masterpiece Ballad-Opera ‘The Transports’ made it’s first appearance in 1977, released as a vinyl double LP via Free Reed Records (later released on CD and as a special edition boxset). The cast read like a Who’s Who of the Folk world at the time: Martin Carthy, Nic Jones, Mike & Norma Waterson, A L Lloyd, June Tabor, Cyril Tawney, Dave Swarbrick and many more.
It relates the true story of Henry Cabell (played by Mike Waterson) and Susannah Holmes (played by Norma Waterson), convicts transported to Australia in the ‘First Fleet’ in 1787 and the trials and tribulations which culminated in that historic voyage. It’s widely recognised as Bellamy’s greatest achievement and as one of the true masterpieces of the Folk Revival. MoJo Magazine’s included it in its ‘Top 100 Recordings of the 20th Century’ and BBC 2 declared it one of the “Best folk albums of the 20th century.”
A new production of the Ballad-Opera will run from January 2017 featuring some of the leading folk musicians of today which promises incredible music with spell-binding story-telling. This is without a doubt the folk music event of 2017 which any folkie out there would kick themselves for missing, so book those tickets fast. It includes performances at Celtic Connections, The Sage, Cecil Sharp House and more (dates below).
The production features musical arrangements by Paul Sartin of Bellowhead and Faustus who said:
This is perhaps Peter Bellamy’s greatest legacy – an immensely powerful, beautiful and haunting collection of songs and texts crafted in a traditional English idiom. Unique in its conception, it is unified by a narrative which speaks with immediacy and passion and demands both musical and human responses
Two-time BBC Folk Award winners The Young’uns bring their trademark live dynamism. Further musical excellence comes from Nancy Kerr, Bellowhead’s Rachael McShane, Faustus’ Benji Kirkpatrick and Saul Rose, and Greg Russell.
Award-winning record producer Andy Bell will be the sound engineer for the production with Emma Thompson creating the lighting.
Storyteller Matthew Crampton (author of HUMAN CARGO: Stories and Songs of Emigration, Slavery and Transportation) will create fresh narrative elements to tell more fully the extraordinary story behind The Transports and Tim Dalling (The New Rope String Band) is Creative Director.
Talking about The Transports Matthew said:
“Mass migration is a defining dilemma of today. There’s seldom been a more vital moment to revisit The Transports – it’s not just a great musical experience but a sharp reminder of folk music’s power in portraying the way the world works.”
Complementing the tour will be the accompanying Parallel Lives project which aims to link the show to refugee support groups in the tour towns. Matthew adds:
“In our accompanying Parallel Lives project we will work with organisations supporting refugees in Britain, gathering stories of those trafficked or transported from Britain in the past alongside the stories of those arriving in the country and showing how the ebb and flow of migration has helped shape our country.”
Supported by Arts Council England and Shrewsbury Folk Festival, the new show promises to be a highlight on the 2017 folk music calendar fusing together moving, inspirational music and spellbinding storytelling within a vital historical and contemporary tapestry.
The 40th anniversary show will also be seen next August in an exclusive festival performance at Shrewsbury Folk Festival.
The Transports Tour Dates
24/01/2017 – The Junction Cambridge
25/01/2017 – Celtic Connections Glasgow
26/01/2017 – The Sage Gateshead
27/01/2017 Pavillion Arts Centre Buxton
28/01/2017 The Met Bury
29/01/2017 The Guildhall Derby
29/01/2017 The Guildhall (Matinee) Derby
30/01/2017 The Phoenix Exeter
31/01/2017 The Stables Wavendon
01/02/2017 The Hawth Crawley
02/02/2017 Cecil Sharp House London
03/02/2017 Ropetackle Arts Centre Shoreham
For tickets and further details go to: www.thetransportsproduction.co.uk
‘The Transports – 1977’ CD Giveaway*
COMPETITION NOW CLOSED.
Congrats to Ian Rumboldt and Lynda Sweeby, your CDs are in the post.
To celebrate the news we have two copies of CD ‘The Transports – 1977’ (re-Mastered from the originals) to giveaway* featuring Vic Legg, A L Lloyd, Nic Jones, June Tabor, Cyril Tawney, Martin Carthy, Martin Winsor, Dave Swarbrick, Mike & Norma Waterson.