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The Elizabethan Session

An 8 artist co-commission in 2014 between Folk by the Oak and EFDSS, inspired by Hatfield House, Elizabeth I's childhood home, and also the location for the Folk by the Oak festival.

Martin Simpson
Nancy Kerr
Jim Moray
Bella Hardy
John Smith
Hannah James
Rachel Newton
Emily Askew

The brief was for the artists to use the Elizabethan Age as inspiration for new material, creating songs and tunes that have relevance to the characters, stories, songs, controvosies or rumours from the time.


The artists spent a week in a residential in March 2013 in Monnington in Herefordshire, where at the start of the week they were joined by historian Dr Ian Mortimer who provided a memorable evening of Elizabethan colour and stories to set the artists on their way.


The residential was immediately followed by shows at Cecil Sharp House and in the Great Hall at Hatfield House, with time to squeeze in a visit to the Southbank to perform 4 songs live on BBC Radio 3.

Following the shows, the artists stayed over in Hatfield to record the Elizabethan Session album in the Great Hall, with the 14 track album being released on 8th September 2014, and a vinyl release later in the year.


The artists performed two further shows, at Folk by the Oak in July 2014, and a sold out performance in the Mitchell Library at Celtic Connections in January 2015.



Selected coverage

5 * concert review The Times, Monday 24th March 2014

4 * Guardian concert review link
Feature in The Telegraph link

Album review on Bright Young Folk link



"....a stunning and unforgettable evening."  The Times

"...Simpson provided two of the finest songs of the evening, dealing with the deaths of Christopher Marlowe and Mary Queen of Scots..." The Guardian

The Shores of Hispaniola - The Elizabethan Session
Elizabeth Spells Death - The Elizabethan Session
The Monnington Pavane / Ortiz Ground - The Elizabethan Session
The Straight Line and the Curve - The Elizabethan Session
The Elizabethan Session Documentary, March 2014
London, The Elizabethan Session, March 2014
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