Probably the first and last time you’ll read the name “Barbara Dickson” on AUK. In November 2018, a collective of folk musicians and singers including John McCusker, Michael McGoldrick, Boo Hewerdine, O’Hooley & Tidow, Chris While, Julie Matthews, John Doyle, Jez Lowe, Andy Seward and Andy Cutting are taking to the road to tell the story of Britain’s forced child migrants through a concert called ‘Ballads of Child Migration’. Presented as a series of songs, narration, slides, audio and film clips, the performance, narrated by Dickson, premiered at last year’s Celtic Connections festival in Glasgow, where it was described as“without doubt the most memorable concert of the festival.”
Radio 2’s Mark Radcliffe described it as “one of the pre-eminent song collections of recent times, poignantly re-telling one of the most important stories to have emerged from these islands.” The songs in the concert were recently heard as part of a major BBC Radio 2 dramatisation of Michael Morpurgo’s book ‘Alone on a Wide Wide Sea’, which deals with the same subject. The radio drama, including the music, starred Toby Jones and Jason Donovan and reached an estimated audience of 6 million listeners.
Forced child migration is a little known and dark part of the history of Britain. More than 100,000 children from Britain were sent overseas (to places including Australia and Canada) with the promise of finding a better life. Some did find the happy lives they longed for; many others found only hardship, abuse and loneliness. ‘The Ballads of Child Migration’ is a tribute to those children, some of whom were sent abroad as recently as 1970.
After each concert there will be a short Q&A session where members of the audience can ask questions of the performers and other experts about child migration. Tickets are available from www.ticketline.co.uk and www.thegulbenkian.co.uk (for just the Canterbury date) (obviously)
Ballad of Child Migration 2018 Dates
Monday 12th Nov – Folk In The Barn, Gulbenkian, Canterbury
Tuesday 13th Nov – Saint James Church, Clerkenwell, London
Wednesday 14th Nov – Corn Exchange, Cambridge
Thursday 15th Nov – The Albert Hall, Nottingham
Friday 16th Nov – Floral Hall, Southport