Part of Music City Mondays.
Mon, Nov 12, 7:30pm: Post-screening discussion with co-director Rob Curry. BUY TICKETS
Widely regarded as the 20th century’s most important singer of English traditional song, Shirley Collins was born to invoke the old songs. With her sister Dolly, Shirley stood at the epicentre of the folk music revival during the 1960s and 1970s. In 1980, she developed a disorder of the vocal cords known as dysphonia, robbing her of her unique singing voice and forcing her into early retirement.
Deliberately eschewing a straightforward biopic approach, THE BALLAD OF SHIRLEY COLLINS is a lyrical response to the life-and-times of a totemic musical figure. Granted intimate access to recording sessions for Shirley’s first album of new recordings in almost four decades, the film features contributions from the comedian Stewart Lee and close friend David Tibet of CURRENT 93.
THE BALLAD OF SHIRLEY COLLINS proves itself to be something of a time-travelling Transatlantic road-movie of sorts – utilising a motherlode of genuine archive audio to recount the tale of her seminal 1959 song-collecting trip around America’s rural Deep South alongside her then-lover (and legendary ethnomusicologist) Alan Lomax - a trip on which they uncovered and documented the music that would later inspire the soundtrack to the Coen Brothers’ film O BROTHER, WHERE ART THOU?.
“She is a brilliant documentary subject—plain-speaking, authentic, feisty and seemingly without ego.” —Cath Clarke, The Guardian “[A] fine documentary about one of the great voices of British folk music…. [Collins] is a sprightly, game interview, whose own secret history is as enticing as the lost, esoteric music she has championed.” —Michael Bonner, Uncut
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