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With political, spiritual and economic uncertainty well established on these British Isles, one can’t help but seek for resolution — or consolation — in the past. For the woefully many, it is in the shrouded vernacular of hate and exclusion. Yet for others, it is found in the utterance of the hated and excluded, singing a song of inclusivity, defiance and community.

That’s the voice of Jennifer Reid, lilting and rousing, grounded in her native Lancashire dialect as an ancient tree in Beacon Fell. Shepherded by producers Mary Stark and David Chatton Barker around mills, dells and moorlands across post-industrial spaces throughout the county of Lancashire, Reid’s wandering vocal is documented, both sonically and visually, against the backdrops of 21st century Britain — chirruping forests, growling dual carriageways — with defiant audacity, as if succeeding in the struggle to be heard over the world’s noise.

These songs are historically the cultural expression of Lancashire’s many weavers who, during the nineteenth century, were driven by poverty from their handlooms to the mechanised looms of newly-built factories in industrial Manchester. While British industrialism began tightening its vice grip around a fledgling working class, upon whose backs the Industrial Revolution was built, the shattering of communities by the labour alienation seemed tragically inevitable. The Langley Linnet is a reminder that community can thrive even under threat. These are far more than the songs of the ancestors; these are strategies for resistance.

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  1. 1 Snippets 5:18 Jennifer Reid

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