From the Library – English Country Dance and More

in Daily Programme

by Elrik Merlin on Monday, 28 September, 2009

Today’s programme features a collection of traditional 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 excerpts from 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.

Click here to learn more about the recordings produced by Bare Necessities and here to learn more about their “English Country Dance” recordings produced for the CDS Boston Centre series.

You will also hear performances by such artists as Maggie Sansone, Paul O’Dette and others, including some beautiful folk/dance contributions from Jennifer Cutting and The New St. George, and a collection of English National Songs from the Broadside Band.

Today’s programme is presented by Elrik Merlin and produced by Radio Riel in association with the Alexandrian Free Library Consortium of Second Life. You can listen to the program now at

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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