English Music - an introduction to this site.

This site aims to promote and support interest in English traditional music.

With American culture taking over the world, the British Isles are no exception. In Britain, since the 1950's, American music, blues, soul etc. has dominated popular music and British performers have either used American material or re-created the style.

English music on the radio.

There are about 20 radio stations available on DAB, satellite, and cable. They are nearly all music stations, but almost universally play only chart pop and rock. The only national station which plays any folk music at all is Radio 2 which has only one 1 hour programme, and even this plays a significant amount of American folk, bluegrass, and C&W. There is little acknowledgement of instrumental music.

It is bizarre that the best source of English folk music can be found on BBC Radio Scotland, Radio Wales, and Radio Ulster which are available nationally on satellite and cable radio, and worldwide at bbc.co.uk. Saturday evening is a good time.

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Traditional music of the British Isles is mainly upheld in the celtic fringes, Ireland, Scotland and Wales. In fact much of Irish and Scottish music originated in England, as did much of American music, especially old-time, bluegrass and appalachian music which is largely music from the British Isles which has become modified through time.

Fortunately there are still a few dedicated musicians maintaining and developing the English music tradition, especially in the folk world. There are some are big names such as Fairport Convention, the Albion Band, and Steeleye Span and their illustrious members over the years. These include Ashley Hutchings, Maddy Prior, Martin Carthy, Dave Swarbrick, Simon Nichol, Sandy Denny and others. There are other musicians, perhaps even more 'purist' for English music, but who are not well known in the pop world or on radio and television, but nevertheless highly respected by those 'in the know' on the folk scene. The Old Swan Band in the 70's gave English folk dance music 'a good kick up the arse' (a quote).

Traditional English instrumental music is most easily encountered in morris dancing, and this provides the largest pool of instrumentalists. The principal instruments used are the melodeon and the violin, which always work well together.

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