‘Jess Smith, along with parents and seven sisters spent her early life travelling around Britain. Different campsites and changing schools meant her memories were full of the cultural ties that bound her to her roots as a Scottish Traveller.
One day when she witnessed no more roadside Pipers and the end of Travelling harvesters she wrote her first book ‘Jessie’s Journey.’
This became a minor classic and was number one in Scottish Biographies. From this seed came another five books.
In every Traveller family there has to be a Sha’enachie; a storyteller and singer of ballad. Jess takes great pride in carrying this banner.
Favourite time is gathering folks together and sharing old tales.
CD ‘Matted Cat’ is a mixture of both song and story.’
Sam Lee, Mercury Prize nominated Folk singer, song collector, promoter (of BBC award winning Nest Collective) radio host, TV personality, teacher and animateur, this June released his debut album “Ground Of Its Own’ comprised of songs learned 1st hand from the Gypsy Traveler community. The recording is a new musical manifesto, reflecting Sam’s unique artistic journey. Winner of the 2011 Arts Foundation Award, he is fast becoming accepted as a new pioneer, defining the sound, sight and texture of folksong today. Likewise his band ‘Sam Lee & Friends’ perform unconventional and contemporary interpretations challenging all preconceptions of what ‘traditional folk’ should sound like.
If you want to get a taste of Sam
Gwilym Davies is an experienced singer of traditional songs and, when not singing unaccompanied, accompanies himself on melodeon, concertina, banjo or guitar. For more than 30 years, Gwilym has been tracking down and recording traditional singers, and more that half his repertoire is based on songs from those singers. He sings a large number of songs from the English traveller (gypsy) community which he has learnt first hand. Most of his English songs come from the south and south-west of England, and he also sings a number of songs from his collecting trips to the USA..
Pete Ingram is half Romany and can stepdance and sing, as well as play the bones. He knows a lot about gypsy caravans and has made several. He also has a knowledge of the special language mix or Romany and English. He is a seasoned traveller who has been to the USA several times and even visited Hungary once!