The Ballad of Shirley Collins - Film release

Widely regarded as the 20th century’s most important singer of English traditional song, Shirley Collins is someone who was born to invoke the old songs. Alongside her sister Dolly, she stood at the epicentre of the folkmusic revival during the 1960s and ‘70s. But in 1980 she developed a disorder of the vocal chords known as dysphonia, which robbed her of her unique singing voice and forced her into early retirement.

The Ballad Of Shirley Collins - which premiered at this year’s London Film Festival - tells this story, though to reduce it to that single aspect
does everyone (not least of all Shirley!) something of a disservice. The story proves itself to be something of a time-travelling Transatlantic road-movie of sorts, utilising a motherlode of archive audio to recount the tale of her seminal 1959 song-collecting trip around America’s Deep South alongside her then-lover (and legendary ethnomusicologist) Alan Lomax. As well as these songs (notably Alabama Sacred Harp Convention, Texas Gladden and Sidney Hemphill-Carter) there are more recent offerings, a home recording of Shirley's sister Dolly Collins, and a BBC session from 1958, "Eight Five Spiritual" which gets its first release, some 60 years after it was recorded.

Shirley Collins spent her life in song. Even during her time without her performing voice she was telling the stories of others’ music. Not once has she dropped the baton in keeping these songs, these stories, these people alive. The soundtrack to ‘The Ballad Of Shirley Collins’ - though diverse - showcases just a fraction of the facets that make up an extraordinary career by anyone’s standards.

"Music Documentary Of The Year" – Louder Than War

"One of the great voices in British folk music" - The Guardian

Deliberately eschewing a straightforward biopic approach, Rob Curry and Tim Plester's follow-up to their award-winning documentary WAY OF THE MORRIS, is a lyrical response to the life-and-times of this totemic musical figure. Granted intimate access to recording sessions for Shirley’s first album of new recordings in almost four decades, and featuring contributions from the comedian Stewart Lee and David Tibet of Current 93, what emerges is a meditative and carefully textured piece of portraiture. A timely delve into the arterial blood, loam and tears of our haunted island nation. The film was released in October and has played more than 50 venues to date. January 9th is the date to look out for, with the film showing at around 30 venues across the country. Between then and January 20th there will be screenings in:
Bath , Birmingham, Bradford, Brighton, Edinburgh, Exeter, Glasgow, Henley, Liverpool, London, Norwich, Oxford, Southampton, Torrington and York.
Performance dates can be found HERE

News from East Anglian Traditional Music Trust HQ


TRADITIONAL MUSIC DAY will be taking place in Bungay, Suffolk on 15th September 2018. We are really excited that the new version of TMD is going ahead with a view to it taking place in a different county each year. There will be plenty of concerts, workshops, sessions and much more to keep you inspired and entertained. We will be taking over the whole Fisher Theatre and St Mary's Church (of Black Shuck fame) with more venues to be announced. Make sure you put the date in your diary now for this very exciting day of music, song and dance.

Our website is currently offline and having a little break over Christmas, (i.e. we have unfortunately been hacked! Don't worry we have a back up!) But.... this gives us the opportunity to complete the brand new website which will be up and running in January, fresh and new for 2018. Please email if you have any general queries before it is up and running This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

Folk Choir Workshops starting on February 19th 2018 These sessions will be led by a very inspiring professional singer who specialises in traditional and early songs. The workshops will lead towards a performance at the Traditional Music Day in September, being part of the performance is not compulsory if you would like to take part in the workshops without the pressure of performing. Booking Details will be available in January.

Melodeons & More  There have been several enquiries about the Melodeons & More Day for 2018. A decision was taken by Katie and the Trustees not to book one for 2018 as they had not appointed a new Director. I am sorry if this is disappointing news for some of you, but rest assured there are some really exciting projects in the pipeline.

Sound Survey Collecting Project This is a major new project we are working on, details of which will be announced early 2018, including how to submit your own recordings. We will also be launching our very own EATMT Record Label in 2018.

We are also discussing lots of other interesting things... and always keen to hear ideas from EATMT Friends and subscribers - This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

Laura Cannell and Alex Bartholomew

Bury Folk Collective

Bury Folk Collective was formed by a group of people with varying tastes running three different evenings each month from unaccompanied traditional to contemporary music. Based at Oakes Barn in Bury St Edmunds, the various evenings are these

  • The first Monday of each month is the Traditional unaccompanied folk singers night running from 8-10:30 in the small room upstairs. This is a free entry sing around for voice only, open to everyone.
  • Running on the 1st Wednesday of each month we have Contemporary nights again in the small room upstairs from 8-10:30. A few artists are booked to ensure that the evening is not just audience and there is an opportunity for members of the audience to step up to entertain everyone. Contact Liz This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. to book a place.
  • On the 3rd Wednesday of each month Folk from the Traditional take over the upstairs room, again from 8-10:30, for an evening of traditional based music. To pre-book a spot or just to let us know you are coming contact Dave & Linda This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. or This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it..

Visit out website see Facebook page or email This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it..

If you enjoy folk music or don’t know if you like it then please come and have a listen.

We hope to see you at Oakes Barn, St Andrews Street South, Bury St Edmunds IP33 3PH.

New Acoustic Music Day in Beccles – 28 April 2018

Martello Promotions will be hosting their first Acoustic Music Day at the Canopy Theatre in Hungate Church Beccles on 28 April next year.

The event will be limited to just 160 tickets and as these are likely to sell out quickly, we want to give priority to local residents. For this reason tickets will initially be available only to personal callers at Beccles Books (1 Exchange Square, Beccles) during January 2018. On-line sales will be opened to the wider public from 1st February.

Subscribers to the Martello on-line mailing list (who are all local residents) are being given the opportunity to reserve their tickets now. Anyone who wishes to join the list can do so simply by sending an e-mail to Martin at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. . They will then be told how tickets can be collected and paid for during January.

Read more: New Acoustic Music Day in Beccles – 28 April 2018

2nd Aylsham Festival of Dance Music and Song 7th & 8th September 2018

STOP PRESS! Holt Ridge Morris and Aylsham Town Council are pleased to bring you the second AYLSHAM FESTIVAL OF DANCE, MUSIC AND SONG ON 7th AND 8th SEPTEMBER 2018.

Planning for the second Aylsham Festival is now almost complete. Venues and artists are booked, dancers of all different genres are cleaning their dance shoes (or painting their toenails), singers are going through their repertoire and musicians are exercising their fingers all in preparation for another great day in Aylsham!

The event 'sings off' on FRIDAY with a FREE FOLK NIGHT at 8pm in Aylsham Town Hall, NR11 6EL hosted by the one and only Geoff Roberts and his Flying Folk!

On SATURDAY the Market Place in Aylsham comes alive with FREE daytime DANCE EVENTS including Egyptian dance, English Dance, Morris dancing, French traditional dance, Balkan dance and Norfolk Step Dancing and, as if that wasn't enough, Broadland Ukuleles will also be giving a FREE concert.

Artists will be performing in the Conservatory, Biddy's Tearoom and the Unicorn at various times during the day with free concerts outside the Unicorn and the Drill Hall during the afternoon.
A Longsword workshop is to be held in the Drill Hall and there will be a Ukulele workshop in the Library for anyone wanting to learn or even just have a taster.

The Festival will finish with TWO SEPARATE SATURDAY NIGHT CONCERTS in the Town Hall
by local personality and renowned melodeon maestro TONY HALL, 7.30pm.
followed by the supremely talented singer/song writer/guitarist MARTIN SIMPSON, 9pm.

Come along for a great day out! Enjoy the music, song and dance – even participate in the workshops and join us for the evening concerts.
For further information -

For Concert Tickets - contact Aylsham Town Hall tel: 01263 733354, or purchased online at :

TONY HALL, 7.30pm £7.00, and MARTIN SIMPSON, 9pm £20.00 (OR BOTH FOR an excellent £22.50).


Below is A REVIEW OF LAST YEAR'S EVENT to 'whet your whistle'!

Friday 8th and Saturday 9th September 2017 saw a new Folk venture launched by Aylsham Town Council in North East Norfolk - billed as a Morris/Folk Weekend - AYLSHAM FESTIVAL OF DANCE, MUSIC AND SONG will become a regular event in the County's Folk calendar at the end of the summer holidays, after such a successful debut.

Read more: 2nd Aylsham Festival of Dance Music and Song 7th & 8th September 2018