By Jodie Nesling
A fascinating community project that explores perceptions of England through music will culminate in four concerts staged across Margate.
Echoes of England: The Margate Songbook will feature more than 80 songs and accompanying interviews which have been collected from the community at public spaces such as the International Food Centre, care homes, and the Dalby Café.
Organiser Morag Butler, who is also at the helm of Cliftonville folk venue Rosslyn Court, says the public response has been exceptional.
She said: “The depth of conversation has surprised me and it was just so wonderful how willing people were to give up their time to chat to us.
“We even had somebody chase us down the street saying, ‘I have a song for you!’ “
She added: “The nation has a proud musical heritage and currently with right wing protests and everything happening in the world we need to champion England’s national identity as a positive, inclusive and gloriously diverse place.
“We would love to hear from all members of our community and their songs can be from any heritage as long as they live in Margate.”
Rosslyn Court sound engineer and musician John Beetham (pictured above) has been collating songs in care homes and rather than the expected options of Vera Lynn and Land of Hope and Glory, Blur’s Parklife and songs by Pulp have been proffered.
The team, which includes Thomas Wood from sea shanty band The Snottledogs and folk legend Gerry Colvin, now has the challenge of whittling down the huge selection to be performed at concerts next year.
Morag said: “They are going to be so much fun; we have some seriously talented musicians who will perform their own interpretations of the songs and all the concerts will be compered by a stand-up comedian, so we are all really excited about it.”
The newly opened ARK in Cliftonville and Libertines hotel Albion Rooms are confirmed venues with more to follow. There will be two private concerts held in care homes.
Acts include: Gerry Colvin, Sally Ironmonger and Brian Carter, Charlie Hannah, John Beetham, Bob Kenward, The Snottledogs, Bower Street Morris Dancers, Josh Flowers, Ben Faira, Paul Grant, Phian O’Phian, Harmony Bo, Ruby Tipple, Morag Butler and others.
Compere – Charlie Partridge
Free to people who have provided songs or £10 otherwise.
February 17 – ARK
Other dates TBC visit margatesongbook.com and visit @rosslyncourt socials for more information.