Tuesday, 19 January 2016

The Manchester Ballads...... songs of a city in the 1840s .... one to listen to

Now if you spend your time crawling over the history of Manchester in the 19th century or want to discover more about the people who lived and worked in the city Manchester Ballads is well worth a listen.*

It is one of two Radio Four programes which first aired in the summer and are repeated today and next week.

"The folk singer Eliza Carthy visits Chetham's Library in Manchester to find out about nineteenth century broadside ballads, and to see if she can find a new song to perform. 

She is joined by Andrew Biswell, Professor of English at Manchester Metropolitan University, who is an advocate of the cultural value of the ballads, which were printed on a single sheet and sold on the streets of Manchester.

She meets Michael Powell, Librarian of Chetham's Library, which is one of the oldest public libraries in the English-speaking world, and he tells her more about the collections of ballads there. 

Many of the ballads reflect the Irish community in Manchester and she goes to the site of Little Ireland with Professor Brian Maidment to find out more about the conditions there. 

Eliza also has a go at printing a ballad herself, with help from Graham Moss at the Incline Press in Oldham. She talks to Jennifer Reid, the self-styled 'pre-eminent broadside balladress of the Manchester region', who has collaborated with the artist Jeremy Deller. Jennifer and Jeremy describe their work on his exhibition at the recent Venice Biennale which includes some of the ballads."* 

Eliza asks her guests about their favourites then chooses one of her own to sing.

Location, Manchester

Picture; New Gates, a closed court off Corporation Street 1908, m08316, Red Plaque, 1994, Little Ireland, M Luft, m02593, courtesy of Manchester Libraries, Information and Archives, Manchester City Council, http://images.manchester.gov.uk/index.php?session=pass 

*The Manchester Ballads, Radio 4, http://www.bbc.co.uk/programmes/b06fkm2g

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