Edited by Lyndon C.S. Way
[Journal of Language and Politics 18:4] 2019
► pp. 598–616
The multimodal construction of place in English folk field recordings
This article considers the sonic construction of place in English folk music recordings. Recent shifts in the political context have stimulated renewed interest in English identity within folk music culture. Symbolic struggles over folk’s political significance highlight both the contested nature of English identity and music’s semantic ambiguity, with texts being interpolated into discourses of both ethnic purity and multiculturalism. Following research in popular music, sound studies and multimodal communication this article explores the use of field recording to explore questions of place and Englishness in the work of contemporary folk artists. A multimodal analysis of Stick in the Wheel’s From Here: English Folk Field Recordings (2017) suggests that a multimodal approach to musical texts that attends to the semantic affordances of sound recording can provide insight into folk music’s role in debates over the nature of English identity.