The Full English

The Full English is an English Folk Dance and Song Society (EFDSS) project, supported by the National Lottery through the Heritage Lottery Fund, the National Folk Music Fund and The Folklore Society. It will bring together 11 major collections for the first time in the most comprehensive free searchable digital archive in the world.The Heritage Lottery Fund (HLF) has awarded the English Folk Dance and Song Society (EFDSS) a grant of £585,400 to 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. The project will bring together the collections of Harry Albino, Lucy Broadwood, Clive Carey, Percy Grainger, Maud Karpeles, Frank Kidson, Thomas Fairman Ordish, Cecil Sharp, Ralph Vaughan Williams, Alfred Williams and Mary Leather for the first time, to create the most comprehensive searchable database of English folk songs, tunes, dances and customs in the world. The Full English is also EFDSS’s biggest learning and participation programme to date. The Full English project is also supported by the National Folk Music Fund and The Folklore Society.This archive is due to launch in June.

Fay Hield has been commissioned by EFDSS, with support from the Arts Council’s Grants for the Arts and PRS for Music Foundation, to create new work, arrangements and a full concert performance piece to commemorate The Full English. The results of Fay’s journey through the digital archive will premiere on 20 June at Cecil Sharp House in London, the home of EFDSS.

Fay, Seth Lakeman, Martin Simpson, Nancy Kerr, Sam Sweeney, Rob Harbron and Ben Nicholls will perform new music and arrangements inspired by material Fay has found within The Full English archive.

The Full English Tour will run from 19 October until 2 November taking in Bury, Gateshead, Southport, Derby, Bristol, Colchester, Sheffield, Milton Keynes, London, Birmingham and Lincoln.

Fay Hield said: “Exploring the archives so far has led to some amazing discoveries and there is a wealth of material that, from 20 June, will be available to anyone who is interested. I am delighted that so many talented and experienced musicians will be part of The Full English Tour, enabling us to share our discoveries.”

Seth Lakeman said: “I have always been interested in folk stories, songs and tunes so the plan by EFDSS to make a lot of their archives available via the internet is something I want to support. So I’m excited that I’ve been asked to be part of this special project celebrating this work and I’m looking forward to working with this great bunch of musicians.”

Martin Simpson added: “I’m delighted to be involved in The Full English Tour – it gives me the chance to work with some of our finest young musicians and singers, and to learn new pieces from the big folk song collections.”