It Takes a Village

The Imagined Village
Real World Records W147

Since the dawning of the industrial age ethnomusicologists have bemoaned the disappearance of traditional villages and the “authentic” culture that went with it. Those villages were more romantic than real in the first place, so what if we just moved on? Could one then re-imagine village music in ways relevant for contemporary society? That’s the challenge brilliantly taken up by English artists who cut their teeth on traditional music—such as Billy Bragg, Martin Carthy, The Copper Family, and The Watersons—and those who dabble in contemporary idioms such as Transglobal Underground, Afro Celt Sound System, and Sheila Chandra. Why not a hip-hop version of “Tamlyn,” a Bollywood rendition of “Cold Haily Rainy Night,” a funk-laced “Acres of Ground,” or an electric jug band country dance tune? Why not indeed! This is the most original thing to come out of the folk music community in years.

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