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Black British History and Folk Songs

This resource for ages 14+ by Angeline Morrison (Guardian folk album of the year 2022) investigates hidden histories of people of African origin, and their relationship to traditional songs that are still sung in Britain today.

Sara Forbes Bonetta by Camille Silvy, 1862.

This Black History resource was written for us in 2023 by Angeline Morrison. Angeline’s The Sorrow Songs (Folk Songs of Black British Experience) was The Guardian’s folk album of the year in 2022: ‘dazzling… a living catalogue of Black British folk song… a startling record of resistance, rebellion and celebration’.

With this resource, Angeline investigates the UK’s hidden histories of people of African origin. The descendants of these people live in Britain today. We explore their ancestors’ relationship to traditional songs that are still sung in Britain.

We have designed this resource:

  • to acknowledge and celebrate the contribution of black people to life in Britain
  • to expand and develop interpretations of English folk music
  • and to encourage learning about and from different perspectives: showing how folk songs, and the stories they tell, can speak to all people regardless of background or heritage. Learners are encouraged to work with traditional songs in creative ways to develop new interpretations and understandings.

This resource is aimed at Upper Key Stage 3, 4 and 5 (age 14 and over). It can be used to support learning in and across a variety of curriculum areas, including music, English, drama, history, performing arts, citizenship, PSHE (Personal, Social & Health Education).

About the Provider

English Folk Dance and Song Society

We champion folk music and dance at the heart of cultural life, all across England.