The Song Collectors Collective

The SCC celebrates those who conserve rare oral culture in Britain and beyond while empowering a new generation of song and story collectors

The Song Collectors Collective celebrates those keepers of rare oral culture within their families and communities in Britain, Ireland and beyond. It aims to empower a new generation of collectors while inspiring the ongoing exploration of and creativity within these communities. Our online digital archive seeks to conserve and preserve this intangible culture and keep its accessibility for both the families of our contributors and for those interested in this rare material and unique characters

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Despite wide assumption that all traditional source singers and keepers of ancient folk knolwledge have long passed away and no more songs or stories are being transmitted orally, it has become quite clear lately that there is a wealth of unrecorded material with singers who have never before encountered the wider traditional music community. Within the Gypsy and Traveller communities, and especially amongst older singers, there is a memory of the days of life on the road in tents, and the music, song and dance that went hand-in-hand with this way of life. Over the last five years, several individuals encountered by members of the SCC have since passed away, taking with them stores of songs and memories never to be heard again. It is a common plea for the songs and stories to be recorded and shared as the old ways are not being passed on and this huge store of knowledge of an ancient way of life is forgotten. In the current era of accessible recording technology there is no excuse for not documenting and sharing this rich but fragile lore.

One of the core aims of the SCC is to record more than just songs, but stories, family histories, yarns, knowledge, lore and experiences of social change. The recordings are edited, indexed and freely shared on the Song Collectors website and social media sites with unrestricted access for both the participants and others. Copies of the indexed recordings are also donated to the Irish Traditional Music Archive (ITMA), the Vaughan Williams Memorial Library (VWML) and the National Sound Archive (NSA) at the British Library for safe-keeping for future generations to enjoy and learn from.

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