Project participants

Project Participants

All the information presented below is believed to be accurate at the time of writing (2023).


Christopher Marsh is Professor of Cultural History at Queen’s University, Belfast. He has published extensively on various aspects of society and culture in sixteenth- and seventeenth-century England. His most relevant book in relation to the 100 Ballads project is Music and society in early modern England (Cambridge, 2010). This is an overview of music-making in the sixteenth and seventeenth centuries, and it includes chapters on musicians, dancing, bell-ringing, psalm-singing and, of course, ballads.

Angela McShane is an Honorary Reader in History at the University of Warwick. She is a social and cultural historian, researching the political world of the broadside ballad and the political and material histories of intoxicants and the everyday. She has published widely on political balladry, including numerous book chapters, and journal articles in Past and Present, Renaissance Studies, Journal of British Studies, Journal of Early Modern History, Popular Music Journal and Media History. She is also the author of a reference work, Political Broadside Ballads in Seventeenth Century England: A Critical Bibliography (2011). A monograph on the broadside ballad trade and its politics in seventeenth-century Britain is forthcoming with Boydell and Brewer. She is also a Co-Investigator for a related website and book project: ‘Our Subversive Voice: The history and politics of protest music 1600-2020’:

Vic Gammon is a leading scholar of English folksong, instrumental and religious music and also a singer and instrumentalist himself. He ranges widely over the early-modern and modern periods, investigating printed ballads as well as collected folk songs and manuscripts. His many published works include Desire, drink and death in English folk and vernacular song, 1600-1900 (Aldershot, 2008). Vic withdrew from the 100 Ballads project at an early stage, feeling that his interests diverged from those of others involved in the project over questions related to the performance of historical popular music. Several of the singers whom he recommended before his departure went on to record ballads for the project (see below).


Steve Banks began his career as a classical violinist but soon developed an interest in drumming. Primarily in this role, he has played with The Carnival Band for many years. Steve was also the drummer with the Celtic folk-rock group, Chanter, and he founded the Devon-based band, Blue Jewel. He is also half of the folk duo, Cosgrave and Banks. On our recordings, Steve plays drums and violin, and he also takes the lead in singing two ballads (one of which is A Monstrous shape OR A shapelesse Monster).

Emily Burn is a member of the innovative and award-winning female vocal trio, Voice, along with Victoria Couper and Clemmie Franks (see below in both cases). Voice performs a mixture of the members’ own arrangements, new commissions and little-known early music, and they have excited audiences across the world. Emily has also sung with specialist early music ensembles such as The Dufay Collective and Sinfonye. On our recordings, she performs songs in combination with the other members of Voice (see/hear, for example, The most Rare and Excellent History, Of the Dutchess of Suffolks Callamity), and they are joined on one occasion by Vivien Ellis.

Victoria Couper is a member of the innovative and award-winning female vocal trio, Voice, along with Emily Burn and Clemmie Franks (see above and below). Voice performs a mixture of the members’ own arrangements, new commissions and little-known early music, and they have excited audiences across the world. Victoria also performs as a soloist and as a member of other ensembles, including Sinfonye, The Dufay Collective and The City Musick. In addition,she has worked regularly in theatre, radio and television. On this website, Victoria can be heard singing numerous ballads, both in company and on her own (The Scotch Lasses Constancy, for example).

Ian Craigan is a Worcester-based man of many parts, one of which is a booming voice. He is well known in the local area for the infectious enthusiasm with which he performs as the caller for barn dances, usually working with the musicians of The Orchard Band. He is also a story-teller, puppeteer, community artist, and the artistic director of Puppet Tree Community Arts. On this website, he brings his talents to the performance of two ballads with manly and militaristic overtones (try, for example, Saint Georges commendation to all Souldiers).

Jub (Andrew) Davis is a long-established member of The Carnival Band. He is also a highly sought-after double bass player on the classical and contemporary music scenes. In addition, he co-founded the award-winning Kreisler String Orchestra in 1986, and has played with the London Mozart Players, English National Opera and the indie pop group The Band of Holy Joy (not to mention Brian Eno and Sting). On the recordings for this website, he plays double bass (though we have used the instrument sparingly because it is only a loose approximation of the early-modern bass violin) and an improvised bumbass. Jub also leads the singing of several ballads and provides backing vocals on others (he has made The Nightingales Song his own).

Vivien Ellis is a singer with a particular interest in early music and folk song. Over the years, she has performed and recorded regularly with ensembles such as Sinfonye, The Dufay Collective and The Carnival Band. She and Giles Lewin also perform together in the duo, Alva. In addition, Vivien is an enthusiastic advocate for the role of group singing in promoting well-being, and she works with community groups and doctors in order to investigate the connections between music and mind. Vivien also runs early music workshops and ‘ballad walks’, with live singing, through the streets of London and other cities. She is one of the lead vocalists on the 100 Ballads project, bringing her distinctive combination of passion and power to the many songs that she has recorded for us (The Norfolke Gentleman, for example).

Clemmie Franks is a member of the innovative and award-winning female vocal trio, Voice, along with Emily Burn and Victoria Couper (see above). Voice performs a mixture of the members’ own arrangements, new commissions and little-known early music, and they have excited audiences across the world. In addition, Clemmie performs regularly both as a soloist and as a member of ensembles such as The Dufay Collective, London Voices and Emma Kirkby’s Dowland Works. She has also provided backing vocals for Bellowhead and Coldplay. On this website, Clemmie sings with the other members of Voice, joined on one occasion by Vivien Ellis (Christ's Tears over JERUSALEM).

Ian Giles is a renowned folk singer from Oxfordshire. He was a founder member of Magpie Lane, and has recorded and performed extensively with this group and many others (Folly Bridge and Sod’s Opera, for example). He is also a member of The Oxford Waits, and a well-known performer in folk clubs and pub sessions. For the 100 Ballads project, he has sung five numbers, including the mega-hit, A Memorable Song on the unhappy hunting in Chevy-Chase.

Benny Graham learned his craft in the folksong clubs of north-east England during the late 1960s, and he has for decades been one of the finest singers in the country. He is renowned for his solo performances but he also founded the band, Pegleg Ferret, and he is member of The Pitmen Poets. In 2020, he was awarded the Gold Badge of the English Folk Dance and Song Society. On our recordings, Benny’s wonderful voice brings several songs to life (see/hear, for example, The Dead Mans Song).

Edward Ingham is a professional singer (tenor), based in York. He was a founder member of Les Canards Chantants and has performed with them in many locations. Perhaps most memorably, the singers turned up as a flashmob at Hardwick Hall in Derbyshire in 2013 and delighted the visiting tourists by performing some of the music that is inlaid, along with images of numerous musical instruments, on the surface of the sixteenth-century Eglantine Table. For the 100 Ballads project, Edd has recorded several songs, both solo and in combination with others (a good example is The Happy Husbandman).

Elizabeth Kenny is one of the finest lute players in Europe and she has performed with many of the world’s best-known period instrument groups. She played and recorded for many years with Les Arts Florissants and The Orchestra of the Age of Enlightenment, and she founded the exciting ensemble, Theatre of the Ayre. She has collaborated with many outstanding singers, including Ian Bostridge, and she is also a celebrated soloist. In addition, Elizabeth is Director of Performance at Oxford University and Professor of Lute at the Royal Academy of Music. She has published extensively on the subject of lutes and lute songs. On our recordings, she plays the theorbo to accompany four ballads sung by Nicholas Mulroy (see/hear, for example, The SUCCESS of Two English Travellers).

Nancy Kerr is a celebrated ‘fiddlesinger’ and songwriter, and she was named ‘Folk Singer of the Year’ at the BBC Radio Two Folk Awards in 2015. A Lecturer in Folk and Traditional Music at Newcastle University, she has a deep background in traditional English folk music but she nowadays combines this with innovative song-writing of her own. She founded the band, The Sweet Visitors, and she regularly performs and records with other leading folk musicians, including Eliza Carthy and James Fagan. Nancy has several CDs to her name, including the acclaimed Instar (2016). For the 100 Ballads project, she has recorded eight songs, both solo and in combination with others (try, for example, The Honour of a London Prentice).

John Kirkpatrick is a giant of the English folk scene, ever-present since he joined the Hammersmith Morris Men in 1959, at the age of twelve. He is a highly accomplished player of all manner of squeezeboxes and he possesses a voice that is simultaneously relaxed and powerful. Over the decades he has played and sung with many groups, including Steeleye Span, The Albion Band, The John Kirkpatrick Band and Home Service. His music can be heard on hundreds of recordings, and his important solo albums include One Man and his Box (1998), Make No Bones (2007) and Coat-Tails Flying (2017). He has always been, in his own words, an ‘unrelentingly enthusiastic’ morris dancer, and he founded the influential  group, The Shropshire Bedlams, in 1975. In 2003, he was awarded the Gold Badge of the English Folk Dance and Song Society, and in 2010 he was named ‘Musician of the Year’ in the BBC Radio Two Folk Awards. For the 100 Ballads project, he sings many songs, occasionally accompanying himself on the  anglo concertina, and he can be heard singing both in company and alone (see/hear, for example, THE Rare Vertue of an Orange).

Giles Lewin is an exceptionally versatile performer with particular interests in folk, medieval and Arabic music. He has played with The Carnival Band for many years, and he was also a founder member both of The Dufay Collective and the celebrated folk group, Bellowhead. He has performed with June Tabor and Maddy Prior (amongst many others), and he combines with Vivien Ellis to form the duo, Alva. Giles is a specialist string player, though he can also turn his hands, mouth and lungs to many other things. On the recordings for this website, he plays fiddle, ‘jew’s harp’ and recorder, and he also sings regularly (A proper new Ballad, intituled, The wandring Prince of Troy is a good example). Overall, he appears on fifty of the recordings, more than any other musician.

Raph Mizraki is a musician with an extraordinary array of talents. He is perhaps best known as a jazz bass player and is regarded as one of the finest in Britain. In this capacity, he has for many years been a member of the house band at the Oxford jazz club, The Spin, and he has worked with many celebrated musicians, including John Etheridge and Chris Garrick. Raph has also played with many early music ensembles, performing variously on double bass, violine, oud, rebec, viol, dulcimer and an array of percussion instruments. With one or more of these instruments in hand, he has performed and recorded with His Majesty’s Sagbutts and Cornetts, Concordia, The Gabrieli Consort, The Newberry Consort and The Dufay Collective. On the recordings for this website, Raph has provided the percussion on several tracks, playing tabor, drum and, perhaps most memorably, the bones (listen, for example, to The Honour of a London Prentice).

Nicholas Mulroy is highly succesful tenor with many recordings to his name. He has sung in many of the world’s great concert halls and worked with a superb array of ensembles, including The English Baroque Soloists, The Gabrieli Consort, The Australian Chamber Orchestra and The Orchestra of the Age of Enlightenment. He also performs regularly in opera and he works with a range of talented partners, including Elizabeth Kenny (see above). Nicholas is also Associate Director of the Dunedin Consort and a Visiting Professor at the Royal Academy of Music. For the current project, he has recorded five songs, most of which are characterised by political subject matter (see/hear, for example, The Loyal English Man's WISH).

Emily Portman is one of the brightest lights on the contemporary folk scene, renowned for her beguiling voice and the originality of her song-writing  (she also plays concertina and banjo). She performs regularly with her duo partner Rob Harbron and with The Furrow Collective (named ‘Best Band’ in the BBC Radio Two Folk Awards in 2017). Emily’s solo albums - The Glamoury (2010), Hatchling (2012) and Coracle (2015) – are all widely admired, and the Greek-influenced lullaby, ‘Hatchlings’, was named the ‘Best Original Song’ at the Radio Two Folk Awards in 2013. Emily is also a dedicated and highly successful educator. For the 100 Ballads project, she has recorded seven songs, both in company and on her own (try, for example, The Crafty Miss).

Maddy Prior holds legendary status on the English folk scene and she was already personally acquainted with many of the musicans listed here, long before the project began. She is probably most famous as the lead singer of Steeleye Span, but over the last fifty years she has also performed in celebrated duos with Mac Macleod, Tim Hart and June Tabor. In addition, she has participated in regular projects with The Carnival Band, and their annual Christmas tours have become something of a festive fixture. Maddy can be heard on hundreds of recordings and she has worked with Jethro Tull, John Kirkpatrick, Martin Carthy, Mike Oldfield and Frankie Armstrong, among many others. In 2001, Maddy was awarded an MBE for services to folk music. For the 100 Ballads project, she has contributed memorable recordings of two ballads (see/hear, for example, A most notable example of an ungracious Son).

Lucie Skeaping is a musician, broadcaster and writer of exceptional energy. She is a singer and violinist of rare talent, and she specialises in the performance of broadside ballads from the sixteenth and seventeenth centuries. Her group, The City Waites, supports her in this work and together they have made numerous recordings. Beyond this interest, Lucie’s work covers a remarkable range: she writes and presents The Early Music Show on Radio 3 and also has many other TV, radio and film appearances to her name; she has published extensively on aspects of early music (see, for example, the book she wrote with Roger Clegg entitled Singing Simpkin and other bawdy jigs: musical comedy on the Shakespearean stage);  she has worked with many influential organisations, including English National Opera, The Globe Theatre and The Royal Shakespeare Company; and she directs a traditional klezner band called The Burning Bush. On this website, Lucie can be heard singing five ballads (try, for example, The Countrey FARMER: OR, THE Buxome VIRGIN).

Giles Underwood possesses a remarkably rich bass voice that has impressed audiences across the world. He is equally at home on the opera stage and in the concert hall, and he has sung in venues such as The Royal Albert Hall, Wigmore Hall and Amsterdam’s Concertgebouw. He has worked with renowned ensembles, including The Academy of Ancient Music, The Orchestra of the Age of Enlightenment and the Taverner Consort.  He also sang for nine years with Il Fagiolini, and his performance on the CD, Buxtehude: Membra Jesu Nostri (2014) – with the Choir of Magdalen College Oxford - has been widely praised. Perhaps he is even more well-known, however, for his appearance in the television film, Blackadder Back and Forth (1999). Giles is also a dedicated teacher and currently holds posts as Director of Music at University College Oxford and Professor of Singing at the Royal Academy of Music. For the 100 Ballads project, Giles delivers compelling solo performances of two ballads (New Mad Tom of Bedlam and THE Lord RUSSELS Last Farewel to the World) and he joins forces with John Kirkpatrick and Giles Lewin on a third.

Steno Vitale is a renowned guitarist, who started out with the rock band Kashmir and the folk rock band Chanter. He is a long-established member of The Carnival Band, and the group has recorded several of his songs with Maddy Prior. Steno has also worked extensively in the theatre, and he appears regularly as a workshop leader at festivals. He has played a vital role in the recordings for this website, having learned to play the cittern from scratch in order to provide accompaniment for many of the songs. The singers have all noticed the exceptional sensitivity with which he plays (try, for example, An Excellent Ballad of George Barnwel). In addition, he occasionally make use of his guitar, and on Robin Hood newly reviv’d he shows what he can do with a mug and spoon. Steno also contributes to the vocals on several ballads. Overall, he can be heard on forty-seven of the recordings, a total exceeded only by Giles Lewin.

Andy Watts appears last on this list for alphabetical reasons only. His role in the 100 Ballads project has been fundamentally important. His many roles have included researching the tunes, recruiting the performers, organising the rehearsals and coordinating the numerous recording sessions. He has also made several contributions to the text and musical notation that appears on the website. On our recordings, he plays bagpipe, curtal, bassoon, recorder, dulcimer, pipe and shawm. He also leads the singing of several songs (The Whig Rampant, for example) and he shares the vocal duties on many others. Before all this, Andy founded the Carnival Band in the 1980s and has been performing with the group ever since. He has also performed with renowned ensembles such as The Academy of Ancient Music and The Orchestra of the Age of Enlightenment.

Research assistants

Catriona Edington is currently studying for an PhD in history at Queen’s University, Belfast. As an undergraduate, she wrote an outstanding dissertation on male infertility in early modern England, using the diarist Samuel Pepys as a case study (2022). Catriona helped with a variety of fiddly tasks as the website was nearing completion.

Daniel Patterson is currently a Research Fellow at Trinity College, Dublin. He is a highly original historian with interests in self-writing, religion, time, gender and fashion. His first book, The diary of George Lloyd (1642-1718), was published in the Camden Series of the Royal Historical Society in 2022. Daniel made an important contribution to the website, particularly in preparing the images for display and researching and initial inputting of data for many of the different editions of our featured ballads.

Tim Somers has just completed a British Academy post-doctoral fellowship at the University of Newcastle, working on ‘Humour in early-modern print’. This project grows out of his existing interest in the history of print and the ways in which it was collected during the period 1500-1800. His first book was published by Boydell in 2021: Ephemeral print culture in early modern England. Sociability, politics and collecting. Tim also has an interest in designing board games with historical themes. For the 100 Ballads project, he conducted important research on the authorship of some of the featured ballads and also wrote the essay on ‘Collectors and collections’.

Technical support

Jamie McLaughlin works at Sheffield University’s Digital Humanities Institute. He develops software for a variety of the Institute’s projects and has worked on over thirty to date (including The Old Bailey Proceedings). He also teaches on the MA in Cultural Data Management and Communication. And we are reassured to note that Jamie has published an article entitled ‘Strategies for maximising the maintainability of digital humanities websites’ (2019). He has offered patient, efficient and constructive design support to the investigators throughout the 100 Ballads project.

Michael Pidd is Director of the Digital Humanities Institute at The University of Sheffield. He has decades of experience in developing and delivering major collaborative research projects in the humanities. He has also been an investigator on numerous funded projects and he is currently leading one with the title, ‘C21 editions: scholarly editing and publishing in the digital age’. Mike is also an active teacher, and he directs the MA in Cultural Data Management and Communication. He worked closely (and patiently) with us to frame the initial design of 100 Ballads and has been an excellent friend to the project throughout its development. The Digital Humanities Institute hosts and mantains the website.

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