I’m hardly qualified to call myself a “folkie”, but I do have an interest in folk music and have been known to murder the occasional folk tune on my trusty tin whistle. (My children leave the room and my wife mutters about divorce lawyers, but my shoulders are broad. :)) Any true folkies out there will be wanting to listen to a new show on BBC Radio 2 that begins next Monday, Radio Ballads, a six-part documentary series which will combine songs and anecdotes to offer insights into some contempoary issues.
The first program is about the decline of the steel industry in South Yorkshire, my home county. Other programs will look at AIDS, foxhunting, shipbuilding and The Troubles - quite a mix. Musical director of the series is John Tams, best known outside the folk scene for his work on the Napoleonic War dramas, Sharpe.
The series is inspired by documentaries created for the BBC in the late 1950’s and early 1960’s by folk legends Ewan MacColl and Charles Parker. Extracts of the original broadcasts are available as RealAudio streams and well worth a listen.