Angeline Morrison began to wonder if she could discover more about the lives of these ordinary and extraordinary Black ancestors, and create an album of songs in the sonic style of UK folk and traditional music, in the hope that this silent space could then begin to be filled with stories. With the help of Arts Council National Lottery funding, Angeline began what became a year of research into this neglected area of Black British history. The Sorrow Songs: Folk Songs of Black British Experience is the result.
Releasing to commemorate Black History Month, this powerful record is intended to honour these Black ancestors who lived in these islands, and to act as a gift to the folk community. Angeline tells, “What I would really love is for people to want to sing these songs. I wrote each song with a chorus or refrain that I hope will be singable, so that people might want to sing them in folk clubs, and in doing so these stories will continue to be re-told in song.”
The album title is inspired by W.E.B du Bois’ 1903 classic of African American literature, ‘The Souls of Black Folk’, which Angeline re-read after the killing of George Floyd in 2020. Chapter xiv, ‘Of The Sorrow Songs,’ is all about the folk songs of enslaved Africans in America and their descendants. Angeline, a descendant of enslaved African people, explains that: “This chapter speaks to the fact that this body of folk song acts as a container for the history of the enslaved populations in America, as a way of communicating their unspeakable pain, and a way of giving voice to a people who had been rendered voiceless.”