Sound UK and OCM

Hack-Poets Guild

Three of the UK’s most innovative and prestigious folk artists present Blackletter Garland, a brand new album and live tour.

Inspired by historic broadside ballads – daily song sheets sold for pence from the 16th to 20th centuries – Marry, Lisa and Nathaniel rejuvenate and reinvent these stories. Fascinating interpretations and original compositions tell intricate tales of birth, love, conflict and death, with all the imagination of the folklore from which they’re based.

Arguably the forerunners of our modern news media, broadsides (also known as a broadsheet) often contained ballads and rhymes, which were sung daily in Britain’s streets and inns. Although part of living traditions of folksong, popular art and literature, these illustrated printed sheets are now rare and preserved in only a few libraries. They offer a vivid insight into the past whilst striking a chord with universal themes still relevant today. Songs about love, loneliness and kindness are interwoven with intriguing, humanist and dark stories.

Delving into the inky archives at the Bodleian Libraries and beyond, Marry Waterson, Lisa Knapp and Nathaniel Mann lead a five-piece band bringing broadsides vividly to life for a new generation and offering a rare insight into Britain’s history.

Pre-concert film

Doors will open at 7.15pm. The pre-concert film starts at 7.30pm, lasting around twenty minutes. This fascinating conversation between musician Lisa Knapp and historian Steve Roud was filmed at the Bodleian Printing Workshop. It delivers an insight into Broadside Ballads and the history of printing. The bar will also be open for those who prefer to relax and grab a drink. Admission will end and the bar will close at 8pm, when the concert begins.

Printing press demo (interval and pre-concert)

From 7.15pm – 7.30pm and during the twenty-minute interval, letterpress printer Richard Lawrence ( will be hand printing limited-edition Hack-Poets Guild prints.


Marry Waterson – voice
Lisa Knapp – voice, fiddle, autoharp
Nathaniel Mann – voice, bowed banjo, electronics and meat cleaver
Barney Morse Brown – cello w/ pedals
Laurence Hunt – percussion

Co-promoted with The North Wall.
Produced by Sound UK. Commissioned by Sound UK and OCM.

Funded by Arts Council England. Supported by the Bodleian Libraries.

Watch at Home

Can’t make it to see the show in person? Folk Arts Oxford are also livestreaming this show as part of their programme of hybrid gigs with Live To Your Living Room. Book livestream tickets here.









"Knapp’s voice throughout is a revelation...both pure and wild, springing free. Folk delivered with lust and menace."

The Guardian

Hack-Poets Guild

24 March 2023 - 7:30 pm

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