A Singer's Guide To Britain

Episodes

EpisodeTitleFirst
Broadcast
Comments
01Song of Myself20190807

Renowned baritone Roderick Williams explores how songs and singing can help us help us to define who we are and connect to the communities we inhabit.

The instinct to sing is as old as humans themselves and, in Britain, we have been singing our story, consciously and unconsciously, all through our history. Songs that harness a fleeting thought, capture a mood, tell a tall tale, or simply make us smile.

In this four part series, Roderick Williams explores different aspects of our British story, through the lens of the songs we sing. He’ll show how songs can transport us across all classes, all eras and all areas of the UK. Each song can tell us something essential about our nation at different times and places by teleporting us right inside the experience of someone who was there. We’ll see how songs have passed from singer to singer, from listener to listener, reflecting who we are as a nation, and celebrating the things we hold most dear.

In this first programme Roderick looks at the power of song to express a sense of identity and belonging.

He visits Kilmarnock, where Eddi Reader explains how the songs of Robert Burns brought her back to an essence of Scotland after many years living away. In Aberystwyth, Georgia Ruth talks about passing on the songs of the Welsh language to her young son and the inspiration of the pioneering song collector Ruth Herbert Lewis. And we join siblings Cuthbert and Lydia Noble as they build a dry stone wall in Shepley, West Yorkshire.

Featuring, Billy Bragg, Fay Hield, Cuthbert Noble, Lydia Noble, Eddi Reader and Georgia Ruth.

Producer: Martin Williams

Roderick Williams explores how songs and singing help us express a sense of belonging.

Roderick Williams gets on the road to tell the stories of Britain through our songs.

01Song of Myself20190807

Renowned baritone Roderick Williams explores how songs and singing can help us help us to define who we are and connect to the communities we inhabit.

The instinct to sing is as old as humans themselves and, in Britain, we have been singing our story, consciously and unconsciously, all through our history. Songs that harness a fleeting thought, capture a mood, tell a tall tale, or simply make us smile.

In this four part series, Roderick Williams explores different aspects of our British story, through the lens of the songs we sing. He’ll show how songs can transport us across all classes, all eras and all areas of the UK. Each song can tell us something essential about our nation at different times and places by teleporting us right inside the experience of someone who was there. We’ll see how songs have passed from singer to singer, from listener to listener, reflecting who we are as a nation, and celebrating the things we hold most dear.

In this first programme Roderick looks at the power of song to express a sense of identity and belonging.

He visits Kilmarnock, where Eddi Reader explains how the songs of Robert Burns brought her back to an essence of Scotland after many years living away. In Aberystwyth, Georgia Ruth talks about passing on the songs of the Welsh language to her young son and the inspiration of the pioneering song collector Ruth Herbert Lewis. And we join siblings Cuthbert and Lydia Noble as they build a dry stone wall in Shepley, West Yorkshire.

Featuring, Billy Bragg, Fay Hield, Cuthbert Noble, Lydia Noble, Eddi Reader and Georgia Ruth.

Producer: Martin Williams

Roderick Williams explores how songs and singing help us express a sense of belonging.

Roderick Williams gets on the road to tell the stories of Britain through our songs.

02Songs of Love and Desire20190814

Renowned baritone, Roderick Williams continues his exploration of Britain’s stories, told through our song. Today, he uncovers what our singing history reveals about Britain's changing attitudes to love and passion.

Roderick samples love songs from medieval times to the modern day and explores how singing has, for centuries, helped Briton's through the murky waters of desire and romance. He hears how the Tudors and the Victorians approached the sensitive topic of sex in their songs, and he meets singer and harpist, Leah Stuttard, to try out what may have been Britain’s very first internationally best-selling love song.

The instinct to sing is as old as humans themselves and, in Britain, we have been singing our story, consciously and unconsciously, all through our history. Songs that harness a fleeting thought, capture a mood, tell a tall tale, or simply make us smile.
In this four part series, Roderick Williams explores different aspects of our British story, through the lens of the songs we sing. He’ll show how songs can transport us across all classes, all eras and all areas of the UK. Each song telling us something essential about our nation at different times and places by teleporting us right inside the experience of someone who was there. We’ll see how songs have passed from singer to singer, from listener to listener, reflecting who we are as a nation, and celebrating the things we hold most dear.

Roderick Williams uncovers what songs can reveal about our changing attitudes to love.

Roderick Williams gets on the road to tell the stories of Britain through our songs.

Renowned baritone, Roderick Williams continues his exploration of Britain’s stories, told through our song. Today, he uncovers what our singing history reveals about Britain's changing attitudes to love and passion.

Roderick samples love songs from medieval times to the modern day and explores how singing has, for centuries, helped Briton's through the murky waters of desire and romance. He hears how the Tudors and the Victorians approached the sensitive topic of sex in their songs, and he meets singer and harpist, Leah Stuttard, to try out what may have been Britain’s very first internationally best-selling love song.

The instinct to sing is as old as humans themselves and, in Britain, we have been singing our story, consciously and unconsciously, all through our history. Songs that harness a fleeting thought, capture a mood, tell a tall tale, or simply make us smile.
In this four part series, Roderick Williams explores different aspects of our British story, through the lens of the songs we sing. He’ll show how songs can transport us across all classes, all eras and all areas of the UK. Each song telling us something essential about our nation at different times and places by teleporting us right inside the experience of someone who was there. We’ll see how songs have passed from singer to singer, from listener to listener, reflecting who we are as a nation, and celebrating the things we hold most dear.

Roderick Williams uncovers what songs can reveal about our changing attitudes to love.

Roderick Williams gets on the road to tell the stories of Britain through our songs.

03Places To Sing20190821

Singer, Roderick Williams continues his exploration of Britain’s stories told through our songs. Today, he looks at where we choose to sing and what those places can tell us about our social history.

Roderick starts his journey at Mason’s Court, the oldest residence in Stratford-upon-Avon, where songs might have been shared between family and friends in the 15th century. He takes us into a busy London square to understand the life of a street balladeer in the Georgian era, and hear how our present-day buskers work the passing crowds. He also pays a visit to City Varieties Music Hall in Leeds, with Professor Derek Scott, to examine how the Victorians transformed songs and singers into mass-market commodities.

The instinct to sing is as old as humans themselves and, in Britain, we have been singing our story, consciously and unconsciously, all through our history. Songs that harness a fleeting thought, capture a mood, tell a tall tale, or simply make us smile.
In this four part series, Roderick Williams explores different aspects of our British story, through the lens of the songs we sing. He’ll show how songs can transport us across all classes, all eras and all areas of the UK. Each song telling us something essential about our nation at different times and places by teleporting us right inside the experience of someone who was there. We’ll see how songs have passed from singer to singer, from listener to listener, reflecting who we are as a nation, and celebrating the things we hold most dear.

Roderick Williams discovers the social history hidden in the places we make for singing.

Roderick Williams gets on the road to tell the stories of Britain through our songs.

04We Travel with Songs20190828

Roderick Williams tells the stories of Britain through our songs.

The instinct to sing is as old as humans themselves and, in Britain, we have been singing our story, consciously and unconsciously, all through our history. Songs that harness a fleeting thought, capture a mood, tell a tall tale, or simply make us smile.

In this four part series, Roderick Williams explores different aspects of our British story, through the lens of the songs we sing. He’ll show how songs can transport us across all classes, all eras and all areas of the UK. Each song can tell us something essential about our nation at different times and places by teleporting us right inside the experience of someone who was there. We’ll see how songs have passed from singer to singer, from listener to listener, reflecting who we are as a nation, and celebrating the things we hold most dear.

In this final programme Roderick looks at the way that song can express a common humanity -- and at some of the songs given voice by people who have come to these islands, as visitors, as refugees and as distinct communities.

He visits a singing session for asylum seekers and refugees in Cardiff and hears about the singing legacies of the Jewish East End and Irish workers in Birmingham.

Featuring, Laura Bradshaw, Billy Bragg, Alan Dein, Joseph Gnagbo, Marie, Angela Moran and Zarife.

Thanks to Valley and Vale Community Arts.
Alan Dein's compilation of 'Yiddisher jazz' is called Music is the Most Beautiful Language in the World (JWM Records)

Producer: Martin Williams

Roderick Williams tells the stories of Britain through our songs.

Roderick Williams gets on the road to tell the stories of Britain through our songs.

04We Travel with Songs20190828

Roderick Williams gets on the road to tell the stories of Britain through our songs.