The first Saturday of every month Dec. thru March, the Hall will present an exciting new theatrical release documentary, focusing on extraordinary women pushing boundaries. Post-screening discussion facilitated by WPH Managing Director, Vanessa Downing. Join us!
Tonight's presentation: The Ballad of Shirley Collins, recently released in the UK and making it's way across the pond to venues in the U.S. starting Nov. 2018. (UK, 94 min.)
Synopsis: Widely regarded as the 20th centurys most important singer of English traditional song, Shirley Collins is someone who was born to invoke the old songs. Alongside her sister Dolly, she stood at the epicenter of the folk music revival during the 1960s and 70s. But in 1980 she developed a disorder of the vocal chords known as dysphonia, which robbed her of her unique singing voice and forced her into early retirement.
Deliberately eschewing a straightforward biopic approach, Rob Curry and Tim Plester (Way of the Morris), 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 Shirleys first album (Lodestar) of new recordings in almost four decades, the film also features contributions from the comedian Stewart Lee and David Tibet of Current 93 What emerges is a meditative and carefully textured piece of portraiture. A timely delve into the arterial blood, loam and tears of our haunted island nation.
Counterpointing the films contemporary journey with a more literal one taken from the opposite end of Shirleys life, The Ballad Of Shirley Collins also proves itself to be something of a time-traveling Transatlantic road-movie of sorts utilizing a motherlode of genuine archive audio to recount the tale of her seminal 1959 song-collecting trip around Americas 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.