The Imagined Village

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The Imagined Village
The Imagined Village 2010.jpg
The Imagined Village playing in 2010
Background information
OriginUnited Kingdom
GenresContemporary folk
Years active2004 (2004)–present

The Imagined Village is a folk music project founded by Simon Emmerson of Afro Celt Sound System. It is intended to produce modern folk music that represented modern multiculturalism in the United Kingdom and as such, featured musicians from a wide variety of ethnic and cultural backgrounds. The name of the project came from the 1993 book The Imagined Village by Georgina Boyes.[1]

The project started in 2004, and led to the release of an eponymous album in 2007 by a collective of artists on Real World Records.[2] Some of the tracks on it are modern re-interpretations of traditional folk songs.

The Imagined Village E.P. was released earlier in 2007, and is a remix of the album tracks. The 2008 BBC Radio 2 Folk Awards voted "Cold, Hailey, Rainy Night" as best traditional track.[3]

In 2009, the project moved to a new record label, ECC Records, and a second album, Empire & Love was released in January 2010,[4] followed by Bending the Dark in May 2012.[5]


The Imagined Village[edit]

The Imagined Village
TheImaginedVillage cdrw147.jpg
Studio album by
Various Artists
GenreNu folk, dub poetry, world fusion
LabelReal World Records
ProducerVirgin Records
Professional ratings
Review scores
Allmusic link
No.TitleMain ArtistsLength
1."'Ouses 'Ouses 'Ouses"John Copper and Sheila Chandra6:20
2."John Barleycorn"Martin Carthy, Eliza Carthy and Paul Weller5:42
3."Tam Lyn Retold"Benjamin Zephaniah and Eliza Carthy9:22
4."Death and the Maiden Retold"Tunng3:48
5."Cold, Hailey, Rainy Night"Eliza Carthy, Chris Wood, Transglobal Underground and The Young Copper Family6:10
6."Welcome Sailor"Sheila Chandra and Chris Wood5:44
7."Acres of Ground"Eliza Carthy4:47
8."Pilsdon Pen"The Village Band5:17
9."Hard Times of Old England Retold"Billy Bragg, Simon Emmerson, The Young Copper Family and Eliza Carthy5:38
10."Kit Whites 1 & 2"The Gloworms4:44
11."Sloe on the Uptake"Tiger Moth3:33

The Imagined Village E.P.[edit]

The Imagined Village E.P.
Studio album by
Various Artists
GenreNu folk, dub poetry, world fusion
LabelReal World Records
No.TitleMain ArtistsLength
1."England Half English meets John Barleycorn"Billy Bragg, Martin Carthy, Eliza Carthy 
2."Acres of Ground (beats mix)"Eliza Carthy 
3."Welcome Sailor"Sheila Chandra, Chris Wood 
4."Cold Hailey, Rainy Night (It's Turned Out Nice mix)"Transglobal Underground 

Empire & Love[edit]

Empire & Love
Studio album by
The Imagined Village
GenreFolk, nu folk, world fusion
Professional ratings
Review scores
Allmusic link
The Guardian link
1."My Son John"6:09
2."Sweet Jane"7:47
3."Space Girl"3:55
4."Byker Hill"6:02
5."Scarborough Fair"6:50
7."The Handweaver and the Factory Maid"5:08
8."Lark in the Morning"4:09
9."Rosebuds in June" / "Mrs Preston's Hornpipe"6:45
10."Cum on Feel the Noize"4:12
11."Scarborough Fair (string reprise)"6:50

Bending The Dark[edit]

Bending The Dark
Studio album by
The Imagined Village
LabelECC Records
1."The Captain's Apprentice"1:25
2."New York Trader"6:22
3."Winter Singing"4:44
4."The Guvna"6:09
5."Sick Old Man"6:29
8."Get Kalsi"5:41
9."Washing Song"3:29
10."Bending the Dark"12:21


The Imagined Village live band have toured since November 2007. The original lineup consisted of Billy Bragg, Martin Carthy, Eliza Carthy, Sheila Chandra, Chris Wood and The Young Coppers, backed by a band featuring Simon Emmerson, Johnny Kalsi, Francis Hylton, Andy Gangadeen, Sheema Mukherjee and Barney Morse Brown. They also appeared on Later with Jools Holland.

A revised lineup was announced for their 2010 tour, coinciding with the release of Empire & Love: Martin Carthy, Eliza Carthy, and Chris Wood, backed by a band featuring Simon Emmerson, Johnny Kalsi, Ali Friend, Andy Gangadeen, Simon Richmond, Sheema Mukherjee and Barney Morse Brown.[4]

In 2011 Jackie Oates replaced Chris Wood for their live performances including at the Shrewsbury Folk Festival. The musicians credited on Bending the Dark (2012) were Eliza Carthy, Martin Carthy, Simon Emmerson, Ali Friend, Andy Gangadeen, Johnny Kalsi, Sheema Mukherjee, Barney Morse Brown, Jackie Oates and Simon Richmond.[5]


  1. ^ Boyes, Georgina (2010). The Imagined Village: Culture, ideology and the English Folk Revival. London: No Masters Cooperative Limited. ISBN 978-0-9566227-0-9.
  2. ^ "The Imagined Village". Real World Records. Retrieved 21 October 2020.
  3. ^ "Radio 2 Folk Awards 2008: Winners & Nominees". BBC. Retrieved 20 October 2020.
  4. ^ a b "Empire & Love". ECC Records. Retrieved 20 October 2020.
  5. ^ a b "Bending the Dark". ECC Records. Retrieved 20 October 2020.

External links[edit]