20.40-21.40, Stage 1 • Friday
“Collins’ reappearance is remarkable in itself; more remarkable still is that she seems to have re-emerged with her powers undimmed.” The Guardian
At the end of 2016, legendary folk singer and one of England's most respected song collectors, Shirley Collins released 'Lodestar' - her first record in 38 years and one that was swiftly named among her best. To celebrate the release, Collins announced a series of very special live events for 2017 including Cambridge Folk Festival.
Born in Hastings in 1935, Shirley was fascinated by folk songs as she was growing up, songs she heard on the radio or sung by her grandparents in Anderson shelters. She left home for London to immerse herself in the burgeoning folk scene.
After travelling with Alan Lomax in 1959 on the renowned USA field trip ‘ Southern Journey’, Shirley returned to England, cementing her role at the forefront of the Folk Revival and recording over a dozen albums including the influential 'Folk Roots, New Routes' with avant-garde guitarist Davy Graham, and No Roses, from which The Albion Country Band was formed. However, in the 1980s, Shirley lost her singing voice – later diagnosed as a form of dysphonia - and withdrew from performing live. It was only in 2014, after coaxing from David Tibet (Current 93), that Shirley sang in public for the first time since 1982.
Shirley Collins also played the very first Cambridge Folk Fesitval in 1965, the whole Folk Festival team are thrilled that 2017 marks her return to the Festival for the first time in 52 years.