|Edward II return with a brand new album, ‘Dancing Tunes’, which will get a physical release through Cadiz Music on 12 March 2021 and available as a beautifully packaged CD bolstered with fastidiously researched sleeve notes and featuring all the lyrics.
‘Dancing Tunes’ is a selection of traditional songs from Jamaica and the Caribbean as collected by Walter Jekyll and recorded by Louise Bennet, the celebrated singer, folklorist and activist for Jamaican dialect. Of course, while these songs are regarded as uniquely Jamaican, they were all written and sung in English, or the Jamaican street dialect known as Patois. Full of wit and irreverent humour, if anything these songs demonstrate that folk music is first and foremost about telling stories and entertaining each other using song and dance – a very human practice!
Since the 1950’s Mento (Jamaica) and Calypso (Trinidad) have become conflated into a broad genre of Caribbean music, commercialised since the 1950’s and generally referred to as Calypso for marketing purposes. Pioneered by Lord Flea, Harry Belafonte, Lord Burgess and others, culturally and musically, it is clear that Calypso is the precursor to Reggae, Ska, Dancehall and all the subsequent sub-genres that have followed.
Of course, with ‘Dancing Tunes’, the band have imparted their own unique take on the songs, re-interpreting, blending and referencing some of the English tunes which no doubt added to the original mix. Working alongside dub producer Paul ‘Lush’ Morris of Nucleus Roots, on this album Edward II have purposely recreated a British urban dub sound, using drum machines and beats intertwined with the live performances and instrumentation that has always been part of the bands unique style.
Edward II are an English roots band that uniquely blend the rhythms of the Caribbean with traditional songs from the British Isles. Back in the nineties the band was signed to Cooking Vinyl Records and Rhythm Safari in the US. They worked extensively across the globe touring world music, reggae and folk festivals on almost every continent before finally calling it a day in 1999.
Despite the constant touring the band always remained close friends and, in 2016, came back together to record and perform a new repertoire of songs born of the Industrial Revolution (specifically of their home town Manchester) known as the Manchester Broadsides, and released a brand new CD called ‘Manchester’s Improving Daily’. The album received a plethora of positive reviews, including Four Stars in both Mojo magazine and The Guardian.
‘Dancing Tunes’ finds Edward II still upbeat, and with rock-steady rhythms, blazing horns, fabulous harmonies and fiery melodeon melodies, the band continue to amaze audiences across the UK and Europe. For more info contact Chris Hewlett PR on firstname.lastname@example.org
Miss Lou was a Jamaican singer, folklorist and activist for Jamaican dialect. Miss Lou’s infectious and charming delivery of Jamaican folk songs captured the imaginations of Jamaicans of all generations and led her to be a much loved part of Britain’s theatre and radio circuit.
Louise Bennett was born in Kingston,Jamaica in 1919, she laughingly stated that she was ‘born under the clock’ . In her schooldays it did not sit well with Miss Lou that in school she was only being taught well spoken English folk songs rather than songs & stories using the Jamaican dialect known as patois.
Walking on the streets of Kingston & Spanish Town, where she grew up a young Louise would hear street tales sung in patois and it became her passion to change the Jamaican curriculum. Her contribution to Jamaica’s literacy campaign was significant, and then by her mid 20s she applied to RADA, the prestigious theatre school in London and became the first black student to study there.
3 months in to being enrolled at RADA, British audiences were introduced to this truly unique talent as she was given her own BBC radio show Caribbean Carnival. She was awarded an MBE in 1960.
It has to be said that Miss Lou was Jamaica’s first real international star. Her comic delivery of telling Caribbean tales and her sensational delivery of interpreting classic folk songs such as Linstead Market, Yellow Bird and Long time Gal in a mesmerising comic sing song fashion had a remarkable impact on Jamaican singers and poets that had grown up learning her poetry in schools and hearing her on record and on the radio.
Miss Lou was a main stay on Jamaican radio, with the Lou and Ronnie show and Miss Lou’s views. What a raconteur, sharing the trials, tribulations and good times of the Jamaican people in a dialect that was not bowing to the Eurocentric view of language. She instilled a pride in Caribbean artists that gave them an understanding that patois was a language in its own right.
Edward II’s re-version of Miss Lou’s classic songs continues a tradition that Miss Lou spent her life campaigning for. A pride in Jamaican heritage, and moving the Jamaican art form onwards. Edward II do this here with boutique collection of songs.
Long Time Gal featured in this collection was often the opener for Miss Lou’s live shows where she would encourage the audience to sing along with her and take pride and understanding in the sentiment of the song. Miss Lou greatest gift was to recite breathaking snapshots of Jamaica’s social complexity and Edward’s inclusion of the song Cordelia Brown telling the story of young bi-racial girl with red hair informs us of the versatilty of Miss Lou’s works
Available to Listen or download
To support our live performance on the BBC Radio 2 Folk Awards on 16/10/19, where we opened the show with new single ‘Linstead Market’.
The song is a traditional Jamaican folk song gathered from the collection ‘Jamaican Song and Story’ by Walter Jekyll (1907) This release pre-empts the bands new album release (mid 2020) that presents a collection of Jamaican working songs in new light.
From early deals with Cooking Vinyl, Pure Bliss and Zomba Records the band is known with their extensive touring schedule in the 80’s and 90’s which saw them headline festivals around the world.
Mark Radcliffe hosts the 2019 BBC Radio 2 Folk Awards – the annual ceremony (celebrating its 20th year this year) that celebrates and rewards the very best in folk, roots and acoustic music. The show will be broadcast live on BBC Radio 2.
Click on this link to see the booklet in full – probably best to use a laptop or desktop computer.
Giddy Kid opens Edward II CD
The joys of un-wrapping a new Edward II ‘Manchester’s Improving Daily’ CD set to a fabulous dub remix of the title track…
This is our version of Peterloo performed live at The Big Session Festival in Buxton. Filmed by Paul Walker, the freelance cameraman who has been following the project since he first came in to film for BBC North West Tonight.