Shirley Collins Photograph Katie Vandyck

"Shirley Collins is without doubt one of
England's greatest cultural treasures"

Billy Bragg

Shirley's Links

Fledg'ling Records Topic Records EMI
David Tibet Free Reed Fellside
David Suff Shapiro Bernstein Brighton Morris
Lewes Bonfire Societies John Kirkpatrick Billy Bragg
The Copper Family fRoots Albion Morris
The Royal Oak at Lewes Harvey's Brewery Martin Wyndham Read
Shooting Star Productions Asian Dub Foundation Pete Cooper
Katie Vandyck Dave Arthur The Amati Collection
Elle Osborne The Brighton Consort Gary Holder
English Folk Dance and Song Society Stewart Lee
Vaughan Williams Memorial Library Online


Previous reviews/items of news/links:


Praise for Lodestar:

Collins’ reappearance is remarkable in itself; more remarkable still is that she seems to have re-emerged with her powers undimmed.” The Guardian Album of the Week

Lodestar – a record fit to be numbered beside her very best” Uncut 8/10

“The humanity Shirley brings to these songs is extremely moving” The Times 4*

“One of the best albums of her career” Q

Collins’ singing is rich with gravitas and experience” Evening Standard

“Shirley Collins can still inhabit a traditional song and sing it like no other” Mojo 4*

“A late-flowering triumph” The Observer 4*

“What makes Lodestar a genuine progression from what has gone before… is the sinking and deepening of her voice. It is still neutral enough to act as the conduit it has always done, but the milkmaid’s lilt has been transformed into a maven’s burdenWIRE #2 in Albums of Year

“Unconsciously brave, the music exceeds expectation” Record Collector 4* Album of the Month

Lodestar sees Shirley Collins creating a boundary-pushing, exhilarating work by doing nothing other than what she does best: reanimating the folk songs of Britain with all the respect and veneration she feels for them” The Quietus

“That’s album of the year sorted then” fRoots #1 Albums of the Year

“One of the emblematic English voices of the past century” i 4*

Read the Guardian's 5 star review of the first performance of Lodestar at Celtic Connections on 4th February

Read the Times's 5 star review too

Shirley has received a nomination for Folk on 2's Folk Singer of the Year, and Lodestar has received a nomination for Folk Album of the Year! If you'd like to read about it, here's the link:


“I’m a conduit… I understand this music better than anybody else”

“The Fairy Queen of Eden, quintessential English folk singer, beloved voice, highly respected artist”

“I was once a carefree singer, whereas now I have to think about what I’m doing. So there is more intensity”



For the first time in its 107 years' existence, the Hastings Music Festival introduced English folk music into the competition. On 12th March 2016 Shirley adjudicated five classes in the Sussex Hall at the White Rock Theatre.

It was the first time Shirley has been back there since she sang in the Hastings High School for Girls choir in 1950, singing Henry Purcell's 'Nymphs and Shepherds'!

On 31st January 2016 Shirley was Michael Berkely's guest on Radio 3's Private Passions. Have a look at - and a listen to - her choice of music.

Here is an album of pictures from Rook Lane in Frome, where America Over the Water was staged on 12th July 2015, preceded by a performance of Polly Marshall's Little Gypsy Girl. Pictures courtesy of Ciara Nolan.

The team behind Way of the Morris are currently raising funds to make a film about Shirley's life and work. You can contribute or find out more at:

Thanks to all the 718 people who pledged on Kickstarter for The Ballad of Shirley Collins, the film that Rob Curry and Tim Plester are now making.

Nick Abrahams who made the award-winning short film Ekki Mukk, featuring the music of Sigur Ros, in which Shirley voiced the part of a lonely snail, alongside Irish actor Aiden Gillan, has now issued an equally enchanting Vinyl EP ‘Lions and Tigers and Bears’. Once again voicing a snail, Shirley reads a prose poem written by Nick.  It’s probably the most beautiful sleeve you will see this year.

Meanwhile, Topic have re-issued ‘Heroes in Love’ on vinyl, an EP first released in 1963, and Shirley’s first recording for Topic Records. It has the original cover, but a new, charming inner sleeve. The songs are ‘The False Bride’, ‘Locks and Bolts’, ‘Rambleaway’ and ‘A Blacksmith Courted Me’.

While Fledg’ling Records have re-issued an even earlier EP ‘The Foggy Dew’ recorded in 1959. The songs are ‘The Berkshire Tragedy’, ‘The Foggy Dew’, ‘Geordie’ and ‘Brigg Fair’. This, too, has the original cover, and a new inner sleeve.

Shirley Jean Richie and Alan Lomax



Farewell to Jean Richie - singing with Shirley and Alan Lomax

Mike Norris of ‘The Wireless’ devoted the whole of a two-hour long broadcast to an interview with Shirley, playing many of her songs. It was on Monday 25th February 2013 from 7pm – 9pm on

On Thursday 17th January 2013 at the Royal Oak in Lewes Shirley was presented with the Froots Critics Poll award for Best Compilation Album of 2012 -"I'm a Romany Rai" - and here she is with the ceramic artist who made the award, Marion Brandis. Ben Mandelson made the presentation.

On Saturday 2nd February 2013 Shirley gave a lecture The Outskirts of Culture at the Purcell Room in the QEH on the South Bank, as part of The Rest Is Noise - the rise of nationalism weekend, and was afterwards in conversation with Malcolm Taylor of the Vaughan Williams Memorial Library. Morris dancing courtesy of the Belles of London City. You can listen to the lecture and conversation by clicking here.

Recently come to light - an extract from a BBC film of the Cottesloe 'Lark Rise' production with Shirley and Martin Carthy singing The Bonny Labouring Boy

Jude Rogers’s blog about Shirley’s work:

Shirley narrates the short Nick Abrahams film Sigur Ros - Ekki Mukk, featuring Aiden Gillen.