Faustus, one of Britain’s most prominent traditional music groups, have been involved in the Cotton Famine Poetry project almost from the very beginning. They were commissioned to produce settings of two of the poems collected for the first version of the database (‘Lancashire Factory Girl’ and ‘Cotton Lords’ [‘Food or Work’]), but eventually recorded five songs which they published on a well-reviewed and successful EP CD, entitled ‘Cotton Lords’. Faustus have performed these songs in countries around the world and been involved in interactive project events with schoolchildren in libraries and museums. In August 2019 a performance of theirs was featured in the project’s very own documentary video, filmed at the historic Quarry Bank Mill in Styal, Cheshire.
In 2019 Mag Worden contacted the project and alerted us to tracks she has recorded with her brothers which are from a similar period to the Cotton Famine texts, and which deal with many of the same subjects. These beautiful renditions are very inspiring and we are hoping that these musicians explore some the 300 more texts we have published in 2020, and give them similar treatment.
Mother of Order are an anarcho-folk band consisting of Cath Rogan and Martin Hall. They are based in Yorkshire and specialise in the interpretation and setting of working songs and radical texts. Their YouTube channel features several settings of poems found on the Cotton Famine Poetry database including ‘Sympathy with Lancashire’ and ‘The Mill Hand’s Petition’.
Professor Paul Lodge lectures in philosophy at the University of Cambridge but is also a guitarist and songwriter. He noticed the publicity for the original launch of 100 Cotton Famine poems in 2018 and undertook to set some of the poems to music. Featured tracks include ‘A Bachelor’s Fancy on the Distress’ and ‘Cheer Up Lads’.