The Imagined Village

If you think you know about English folk music, think again. The Imagined Village, the brainchild of producer and musician Simon Emmerson, has recast age old traditions in the shape of the 21st Century. A daring mix of ancient and modern, The Imagined Village fuses fiddles and squeezebox with dub beats and sitars. To do so it has gathered an extraordinary array of talent: Martin Carthy, Eliza Carthy, Sheila Chandra, Billy Bragg, Paul Weller, Tunng, Transglobal Underground and Benjamin Zephaniah among others. Emmerson has a history of ground-breaking fusions, as founder of jazz-soul group Working Week and The Afro Celt Sound System, and as a Grammy-nominated producer of world acts like Manu Dibango and Baba Maal.

"After travelling the world I thought it was time to explore my own roots, to look at the earth under my feet." Simon Emmerson

The Imagined Village project grew out of a discussion prompted by the BBC Radio 3 documentary A Place Called England which addressed the blind spot amongst many of the English concerning their own musical heritage. The Imagined Village is also influenced by Georgina Boyes’ eponymous book that examined the pivotal impact the Edwardian song collectors, most notably Cecil Sharp, made on the development of an English folk music repertoire.

Billy Bragg, whose book The Progressive Patriot addresses the same issue of English identity, agrees. “In any village there’s a meeting between the custodians of the past and the architects of the future, and The Imagined Village reflects just that.”

Further reading

The Breath pay tribute to American cult folk icon Karen Dalton with new single

Karen Dalton's classic album In My Own Time is 50 years old this month.

A Lantern and a Bell by Loney dear out today

A Lantern and a Bell is the eighth studio album by Emil Svanängen, a.k.a. Loney dear.

A Lantern and a Bell: Track by Track

Emil Svanängen a.k.a. Loney dear and producer Emanuel Lundgren discuss the new album.

Nick Page (1960-2021)

Nick's work can be heard on albums by Dub Colossus, Syriana, Los de Abajo and Temple of Sound.