Shirley Collins


Colston Hall, Bristol

Date: 11/02/2017

Last night, I caught a glimpse of a dancing collection of musical strands that have flowed through history for centuries, trickling across the globe via England, Scotland, Ireland, Wales and the Colonies, even into the French diaspora. They were woven for me with intricate care using a splendid variety of instrumentation – a concertina, guitars, a fiddle, other oddly strung instruments, sympathetic percussion, a Hurdy Gurdy even – and presented by a band of enthusiasts who all clearly delighted in the process. At their centre was a woman of 81 years. A woman whose work first graced records played long ago in a million bed-sitting rooms, in student digs and bohemian tenements, records upon whose inner sleeves she appeared, alongside her sister, rubbing shoulders with Pink Floyd, Quatermass, Roy Harper and the mighty Tea & Symphony among others. The occasion was the live presentation of her most recent album, whose cover photo I have shown here in tribute to its miraculous existence. The music, a straightforward unfolding of the wonders on the album, was accompanied on a big screen behind the band by the most marvellous video footage and animation; the strongest visuals … Continue reading Shirley Collins