Marion Harper (MA Folklore and Cultural Tradition)

Course: Folk Singing

Marion in her own words:

I started folk life by listening to LPs of The Ian Campbell Folk Group and Peter, Paul & Mary. I then joined the Grey Cock Folk Club, Birmingham. One of the founder members of the Grey Cock was Charles Parker, BBC radio producer, who with Ewan McColl (singer, songwriter, writer and actor - and WMA member) and Peggy Seeger (singer/songwriter), created the Radio Ballads, a series of award-winning musical documentaries broadcast by the BBC in the 1960s.

The work of Parker was a major influence on the members of the Grey Cock and it was as a direct result of this that my interest in folk song, particularly songs of social comment or political songs, came about.

In 2003/4, having been made redundant from my job, I took the opportunity to go to Sheffield University where I took an MA in Folklore and Cultural Tradition. My thesis for this was ‘Political Song: Its role, Impact and the Motivations of those who Perform It’, and I was fortunate enough to be able to use many of my connections in the folk world for my research, particularly those performers renowned for their “Political Songs” or “songs of social comment”.

Today I not only sing and play folk music, but have got involved in choral singing.