Tuesday, November 9, 2010

The Unthanks

It should be well known by now that I have always been partial to English folk music. It comes from many happy evenings spent with Paul at the Four Winds Folk Club while I was growing up. So I'm always excited to find new folk music (for me). I don't remember where I first heard Rachel Unthank and the Winterset, but I bought their album "cruel sister" a while back and have been listening to it off and on. I see that they have changed their names to "The Unthanks", I can highly recommend "The Bairns" - my personal favorite album of theirs.

Here they perform "The Testimony of Patience Kershaw".

The song was written by Frank Higgins and tells the story of Patience Kershaw who was a hurrier, or coal thruster. Someone who worked in the mines (usually children) pushing coal carts - basically one of the worst jobs in the world. In the 1840s the Ashley Mines commission heard testimony about just how terrible conditions were in the mines. Patience Kershaw was no. 26 you can read her horrifying testimony here.

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