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Peter Murray


The Society held two concerts recently, celebrating the 150th anniversary of English Heritage’s Blue Plaque scheme and the contribution to the culture of London made by musicians.

On 31 October, Pizza Express in Soho rocked to the sounds of Omar Puente/Al McSween duo, Yiddish Twist Orchestra, Gospel Singers Incognito and The Sugar Sisters – jazz musicians who all hail from London, exemplifying the melting pot of cultural influences that the City, and especially Soho, has become over the years.

The second concert was at Cecil Sharp House, home to the English Folk Dance and Song Society and celebrated those folk collectors memorialised with Blue Plaques; Cecil Sharp and Percy Grainger. The stellar group of artists included Stick in the Wheel, Sam Carter and Lisa Knapp & Jack Harris. The relevance of the sung tradition of folk tunes and themes came through strongly, with Lisa Knapp and Stick in the Wheel in particular, powerful in their reference to the work of collectors of folk tunes and the importance of developing and promoting the tradition of learned aural culture.

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Peter Murray


Do you a little bit of time to spare to help out the Society?

The Society’s Blue Plaque Initiative includes two concerts this autumn. The first is a jazz event on 31 October at Pizza Express Soho, the second a folk concert at Cecil Sharp House on 3 November.

As well as having a couple of great evenings of music, one of the key elements of the initiative is to apply for Blue Plaques for four London musicians :

  • Ewan MacColl: English folk singer/songwriter, communist, labour activist, actor, poet, playwright and record producer.
  • Sandy DennyEnglish singer and songwriter, perhaps best known as the lead singer for the folk rock band Fairport Convention.
  • Ronnie ScottEnglish jazz tenor saxophonist and jazz club owner.
  • Leslie ThompsonA Jamaican jazz trumpeter who moved to England in 1929

We need a keen research volunteer to join the organising team to aid with the application process. In return we can offer a great deal of gratitude (and probably a couple of free tickets).

For more information please contact Society Trustee Ben Derbyshire  –

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Peter Murray


London City of Song poster

The Heritage of London Trust are putting on a concert of London songs at Bush Hall, Shepherd’s Bush on 22 September 2016.

Be transported into London’s vibrant streetscape and its darkest corners, meet its lavender-sellers and Thames boatmen, 19th century émigrés and the Bloomsbury set through exquisite songs and readings.

With music ranging from folksong, Laura Marling and Ralph McTell to Noel Coward, Gershwin and William Walton, and spoken word extracts including Zadie Smith, Neil Gaiman, Richard Rider, Virginia Woolf and many more, the highs and lows of London life will be brought to life in a kaleidoscope of characters and colour. Thought-provoking, evocative and enthralling, this stunning evening is not to be missed.

Tickets cost £15 (plus booking fee) and are available here.

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