Simon Emmerson, the driving force behind the Afro Celt Sound System, was prompted to establish the Imagined Village project by the foreign musicians he encountered through the ACSS, many of whom enquired as to his own native music traditions.
He embarked on a crossover treatment of those English folk roots, rearranging traditional songs in various modern styles, some incorporating elements drawn from immigrant modes. Benjamin Zephaniah, for instance, transposes "Tam Lyn" to latter-day clubland, the faerie lover now a hunted refugee lost in a Transglobal Underground groove; while on "Cold Hailey Rainy Night", the traditional harmonies of Eliza Carthy and The Young Coppers are borne along on a sitar drone and rousing dhol drum barrage. Carthy crops up several times, notably with dad Martin and Paul Weller on "John Barleycorn". The most engaging piece is "'Ouses, 'Ouses, 'Ouses", on which Sheila Chandra's vocal cooing is blended with thrumming strings and pipes behind John Cooper's account of a rural ancestry now lost to suburban spread.
Download this: 'Ouses, 'Ouses, 'Ouses', 'Welcome Sailor', 'Cold Hailey Rainy Night', 'Tam Lyn'