An English Country Summer

Today’s pro­gramme cel­e­brates Mid­sum­mer with an exten­sive col­lec­tion of tra­di­tion­al Eng­lish dance tunes, some of which go back many cen­turies.

Revived today in the form of Mor­ris danc­ing and relat­ed gen­res such as Eng­lish Coun­try Dance (ECD), many of the tunes are famil­iar and pop­u­lar today once again, as they were in the 16th cen­tu­ry when the dances that became ECD were devel­oped among the gen­try, influ­enced by the folk dances of the time.

We will be fea­tur­ing some of the work of mod­ern pop­u­laris­ers of these gen­res, notably Ash­ley Hutch­ings, includ­ing his Com­pleat Danc­ing Mas­ter and oth­er albums such as most of the Mor­ris On series, which often inter­leave (some­what mod­ernised) ren­di­tions of the pieces with read­ings from con­tem­po­rary writ­ings illus­trat­ing the atti­tudes of those in author­i­ty down the cen­turies to the pop­u­lar pas­time of danc­ing – many of which were down­right hos­tile.

In addi­tion we include our fine col­lec­tion of Eng­lish coun­try dance music per­formed by the renowned Amer­i­can ECD Instru­men­tal Quar­tet, Bare Neces­si­ties, and kind­ly donat­ed to Radio Riel by the Cale­don Library, along with some tra­di­tion­al dances from the Bal­ti­more Con­sort, Child­grove, Brass­works and the Musi­cians of Old Stur­bridge Vil­lage in Mass­a­chu­setts – and many more.

Today’s pro­gramme is pre­sent­ed by Elrik Mer­lin and pro­duced by Radio Riel in con­junc­tion with our friends at the Alexan­dri­an Free Library Con­sor­tium of Sec­ond Life. You can lis­ten to the pro­gramme in-world now at, or sim­ply click here to start your play­er, if your brows­er is con­fig­ured to do so. Lis­ten­ers in the Unit­ed States are encour­aged to tune in using this link:

For more infor­ma­tion on the Alexan­dri­an Free Library, cur­rent exhibits and the work of Con­sor­tium mem­bers in gen­er­al, please vis­it the Alexan­dri­an Free Library web­site, or one of their branch­es in-world.

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