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Scotland Folk Magazine and News

The Ballads of Child Migration

The Ballads of Child Migration

Hear the story of Britain´s Child Migrants told through song, story and video.

In November 2018, a collective of brilliant and respected musicians and singers will tell the moving story of Britain’s forced child migrants. They include an All-star cast with award-winning folk artists: John McCusker, Michael McGoldrick, Boo Hewerdine, O’Hooley & Tidow, Chris While, Julie Matthews, John Doyle, Jez Lowe, Andy Seward and Andy Cutting. Narrated by Barbara Dickson.

2015 saw the release of The Ballads of Child Migration: Songs for Britain’s Child Migrants, a specially commissioned collection of fourteen songs by leading British folk musicians which brought a focus and public awareness to a dark chapter of social history.

The concert, presented as a series of songs, narration, slides, audio and film clips, premiered at last year’s Celtic Connections festival in Glasgow, where it was described as “without doubt the most memorable concert of the festival.” Following this and another critically acclaimed performance at the Royal Albert Hall, The Ballads of Child Migration are being taken on the road again this winter. Presented by 7digital and supported by the Arts & Humanities Research Council.

The songs in this 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.

“Britain is the only country in the world with a sustained history of child migration. Only Britain has used child migration as a significant part of its child care strategy over a period of four centuries rather than as a policy of last resort during times of war or civil unrest”. Child Migrants Trust

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.

The Ballads of Child Migration November 2018 Tour:

Monday 12th – Folk In The Barn, Gulbenkian, Canterbury

Tuesday 13th – Saint James Church, Clerkenwell, London

Wednesday 14th – Corn Exchange, Cambridge

Thursday 15th – The Albert Hall, Nottingham

Friday 16th – Floral Hall, Southport


Gulbenkian Tickets


Ballads of Child Migration performed at the BBC Radio 2 Folk Awards 2017 - video

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