Folk song archives come to life with The Full English

image of The Full EnglishFay Hield has been working on a project which premiers in London on Thursday 20th June 2013. A programme to create the world’s biggest online portal of English folk music, song and dance manuscripts has been developed by The English Folk Dance and Song Society (EFDSS) They will archive, conserve and digitise materials from six archives containing some of the country’s most important folk music collections and allow free public access to 58,400 digitised collection items through a new web portal. Fay’s involvement was to search for songs in the archive and put a group of musicians together to turn these manuscripts into a performance. (

Four students, Kate Smith, Natalie Farrow, Tim Knowles and Ollie King, have been working with Fay and Julia Bishop from the School of Education to uncover the collectors' and singers' histories, bringing the people who built these dusty archives to life. Their research will be displayed at the launch, and at a performance of the show at Firth Hall on 29 October 2013.

The project sparked interest in the media, from classical to rock journalists. Air time has been given on BBC Radio 2's Folk Show with Mark Radcliffe Wednesday 26 June, listen out for a piece about the project on BBC Radio 3 in Saturday 15th June's Music Matters; Fay and Nancy Kerr are singing and talking on Woman's Hour Radio 4 next Thursday 20th June, and there is a nice piece by Alexis Petridis in the Guardian. A full half hour documentary is also aired on Radio 2 on 13 August at 11.30.