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Nathaniel Mann Performs Broadside Ballads

Norwich Millennium Library
Event organized by Norwich Millennium Library

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FREE EVENT. Composer, sound artist and folk singer Nathaniel Mann performs broadside ballads from the Norwich and Norfolk Millennium Library’s archives.

Broadside ballads

Popular in the 16th and 17th centuries, before the introduction of newspapers, broadsides were single sheets of cheap paper, printed on one side with news or topical stories of the time, often in the form of verse or rhyme. Broadsides were mass-produced, displayed and sung in Britain’s streets and inns.

Nathaniel Mann

Nathaniel Mann has written for the Tate, BBC Scotland and London Contemporary Orchestra. His work has been performed by Ukraine's State Camera Orchestra (Kievskaya Kamerata) and he was composer-in-residence at Oxford University's Pitt Rivers Museum for just under two years, where he developed projects inspired by the museum’s collection, including “Pigeon Whistles” and “Rough Music”.

In 2014, “Pigeon Whistles” won the George Butterworth Prize for composition. Earlier this year, Mann’s work was recognised by the Arts Foundation, when he was awarded the foundation's 25th Anniversary Prize.

Mann’s interest in broadsides is not new. In 2017, he collaborated with award-winning folk artists Sam Lee and Lisa Knapp to research and perform broadsides from the Bodleian Library's collection. He is also one third of avant-folk ensemble Dead Rat Orchestra, who worked with director James Holcombe in 2015, to create “Tyburnia – A Radical History of 600 Years of Execution”, a film exploring the spectacular nature of punishment, set to rediscovered broadside ballads, written by and for those condemned to dance the Tyburn Jig.

“Subverting the stolid conservatism that has come to be associated with much of today's folk music and reconstructing it from the ground up.” – The Quietus

“Chopping tuned cleavers into wood blocks, fashioning a collection of dried fruits into buzzing instruments, and abseiling down pitch-black cliff faces to record the sounds of a guga-hunting community. Nathaniel Robin Mann is a spectacularly creative and diverse musician and artist.” – Reel 2 Real

“A beardy folkie.” – The Guardian