MINNIE BIRCH

 
 

BIO

Huw Stephen’s Introducing Artist of the week and Buzzfeed’s “one to watch” is back with a new record – but it’s perhaps not like anything you were expecting.

The record, which sees her mix her passion for folk music with football, asks the question “where else do people all sing on mass together? Other than at worship or a folk club? ...The football ground that is where. It is both a folk record and a look at what it means to be a football supporter; and the social, historical and political messages behind the songs they sing on the terraces.

 Minnie started “collecting” and reworking songs that are inspired by football or can be heard sung on the terraces and presents them here in “You’re Not Singing Anymore” recorded by Nick Harris at Spare Room Recordings.  The result is a Traditional Folk record like no other, which will have you both singing along and pausing to think as she weaves in audio recordings of people’s memories of the terraces.

It is an ode to the power of the beautiful game and its intrinsic relationship with music.


Her previous albums gained rave critical reviews and plays on BBC Radio 1, BBC Radio 2 and BBC 6 music.
She has spent the last 5+ years touring her music all over the world and is excited to take this album across the UK in 2020.

Having dabbled in Sunday league football Minnie’s gigs comes with many a tale of what it means to play, support and fall in love with your local football team.

 

 

What Minnie says about the record

I love a good folk club with a sing-around, where else do people come together to sing on mass, besides perhaps to worship?    The football terraces, that is where.

 

Football Chants are one of the lasting oral traditions of our time, they are sung by hundreds of thousands of people who do not consider themselves ‘folkies’ ‘musicians’ ‘historians’ ‘social  commentators’ but this is exactly what I think these people are.  They’re a bit like traditional folk musicians. 

I have had some great conversations with people who insist that a chant belongs to their team, even though you can hear it sung with another team’s name at another ground. Good chants will often transfer along with the player – someone can be “Born to be Blue” one season and then “Born to be Red” another.  It is hard to establish the origins of terrace songs.  They’re a bit like traditional folk songs. 

 

Football chants and terrace songs are designed to encourage your team on to a win, or discredit and distract the opposing team. Some of them are mean, angry, offensive, some of them are encouraging, social commentary, heartfelt, proud – just like the people who sing them-they have their light and their dark.   They’re a bit like traditional folk songs.

When I started “collecting” football songs it quickly grew and I wasn’t sure what to do with this collection. So, I decided to start at the only place that was logical to me, I took the terrace songs that were derived from traditional folk and I present them here merged and rearranged. I wanted to capture that feeling of being on the terraces so I collected some memories to weave in along the way. I wanted some recordings from the terraces, and I am so pleased to have been given permission to use one here and to have had the chance to record my own at a local ground.  

 

I’ve included songs from two of my favourite modern folkies, Billy Bragg and Steve O’Donoghue, to show that a football themed song can be a springboard for a message that is poignant and powerful. Then I added my own original song because the singer-songwriter in me felt the record wasn’t complete without it.   

 

I have loved working on this project and I really hope you enjoy the concept and the songs. There is something about familiar lyrics and melodies that feels like home, and when a gathering of people all start singing something you instantly recognise then that feels really magical to me.   

 

JOSIE DEAR

Josie Dear is a grassroots organisation (hoping one day to become a charity)  

Josie Dear is small with big ideas.

We have the rather large remit of existing to “Spread joy in the dark” created in honour of our founders Granma (Josie) we run campaigns which will bring a little joy to people in difficult or challenging times.
Our purpose is to support, develop and deliver projects which will bring relief to those in need, by reason of youth, age, ill-health, disability, financial hardship or other disadvantage.

We fulfil our aims through small targeted campaigns which will raise funds to run events, training and provide practical items for those in need.  

In honour of Josie we will choose to help spread joy to those who are facing challenges.

We have an established structure with a term of reference to make sure we remain accountable for our work and the funds we receive. Our structure includes a Chair, two trustees and a treasurer.  We have a trustee’s account for funds and fundraising.

A short update on our first project and plans for our next are set out below. 

 

PROJECT UPDATES

Here you can download and view a brief update on our first project.

 
 

B.A.M

Bear and Me

BAM is our brand new project.

What is it?
Over the years of working in prisons we have received lots of lovely feedback from families.
But some children also tell us that they worry about their Mum or Dad and what prison must be like for them.

We want to help take away some of those worries by helping prisoners to create a diary of their life to send home.

Due to restrictions on images being shared it can be hard for children to really understand what life is like and that there can be positives. Our diaries are created via stock images of Harry Bear carrying out daily tasks that their  parent may do - going to the gym, playing chess with a friend, visiting the library. This diary is then sent home with the bear to the child. The diaries will help to explain prison life in a child appropriate way, relieving some of the children's anxieties and will also, through harry bear, mean they have a little bit of mum/dad at home with them. 

Please view and download the below file for an example. 

 

B.A.M BEAR AND ME EXAMPLE

We hope this example shows you what we are trying to achieve with our diaries.

 

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