This is the first instalment in a project devised and developed by Carol Dawson, to re-introduce the traditional songs and tunes that were played and sung in North Lincolnshire in the last half of the 19th century. Carol plays violin and viola on this excellent and varied CD, along with fellow traditional musicians and singers: Kathleen Watson, Kay Ashberry, Steve Le Voguer, Mossy Christian, Karen Thompson, Geraldine Stephenson and Lisa Oliver.
Extensive background information about the songs and the source singers - referred to as ‘The Grainger Singers’ because they were recorded by the folklorist Percy Grainger at the turn of the 20th Century - is included in the detailed Folk Map and brochure which accompanies the CD. Additional information about each song is included in the CD’s liner notes. These both make fascinating reading.
Most of the source singers were already elderly when Grainger recorded them in 1904-1908, so the songs truly do come down to us from another time. This collection brings that past era to life again, thanks to these modern singers and musicians from that part of the country.
Some of these songs are based on much older ballads, while others are quite local-specific and more contemporary to Grainger’s Singers. On this CD we get songs about sailors, about farmers, disgruntled old misers, lovers (requited and otherwise), feisty women who don’t balk at doing what needs to be done, a bountiful granny, doings at local fairs, and even a song from the local ‘fool’ …who admits that advancing age isn’t likely to bring improvements. A touch of the supernatural hovers in the background to several of these songs, as well.
This is a hearteningly worthwhile and successful ongoing heritage project, funded by several organisations, including the North Lincolnshire Council, The Heritage Fund, The North Lincolnshire Museum and others. I look forward to the next CD in the series, and to the time when groups like The Folklincs Band are able to do live shows. Theirs is one show I will certainly not want to miss.
This review appeared in Issue 139 of The Living Tradition magazine