Congratulations to Eliza Carthy MBE who has agreed to become the next President of the English Folk Dance and Song Society. Eliza takes over the honorary post from Shirley Collins MBE, who was President between 2008 and 2020. Only three others have held the position since the Society was founded in 1932: Ralph Vaughan Williams, Princess Margaret and Ursula Vaughan Williams.
Describing herself simply as a ‘modern English musician’, Eliza Carthy is one of the most recognisable faces in British folk. Steeped in the folk traditions of England from an early age, she has spearheaded the re-emergence of English traditional music as a vibrant, exciting genre. Eliza has been Vice-President of the English Folk Dance and Song Society since 2008.
Katy Spicer, Chief Executive and Artistic Director of the English Folk Dance and Song Society, said ‘We are very pleased to start another chapter in the organisation’s long-standing and valued association with Eliza. She is superbly imaginative ambassador for the folk music of England, celebrating its history hand-in-hand with an ever-innovative approach to music-making today. Eliza’s support will be invaluable as we continue our mission: to champion the folk arts at the very heart of England’s rich and diverse cultural landscape.’
Eliza Carthy said: ‘Since I was a child my family has spoken of the institution of the English Folk Dance and Song Society as the trove of our traditions. My first visit to the house as an adult to research the Carpenter collection on microfiche for my first album was like a pilgrimage, an experience never forgotten. The Society has since worked tirelessly to make the Archive and library available to the wider modern world via their online resources; the treasure is now free to curious minds all over the world.
‘When a laughing Shirley Collins and I put our handprints in cement outside the House in 2008 I didn’t imagine that I’d one day be given the honour of President of the Society. The English Folk Dance and Song Society continues to be custodian of the people’s shared cultural history whilst looking forward to the future. I’m beyond delighted to accept this position.’
Look out for Eliza’s 30th anniversary shows in 2022. Tour dates will be 24 Nov – 4 Dec with The Restitution.