Music of United Kingdom


Folk music

There are four primary components of the United Kingdom, each with their own diverse and distinctive folk music forms - England, Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland. In addition, there are numerous distinct and semi-distinct folk traditions from the Isle of Man, Cornwall and the Channel Islands, as well as immigrants from Jamaica, India and other parts of the world.

Regional folk music

England. English traditional music is an extremely broad concept, as there is much variety between the different regions of England. Folk music varies across Northumbria, Kent, Sussex and Yorkshire, and even within cities like London. England's Martin Carthy was perhaps the most influential traditional English performer of the 20th century, alongside the Copper Family and the Waterson Family, who helped inspire a roots revival later in the century.

Ireland Of all the regions of the United Kingdom, Northern Ireland (and its neighbor, the Republic of Ireland) has the most vibrant folk traditions. Traditional bands including instruments like fiddles have remained throughout the centuries even as analogues on Britain died out. Traditional music includes a wide array of traditional dances and songs, many of which have had a major impact on British popular music.

Scotland. Scottish folk music includes many kinds of songs, including ballads and laments, sung by a single singer with accompaniment by bagpipes, fiddles or harps. Traditional dances include waltzes, reel (dance) reels, strathspeys and jigs. Alongside the other areas of the United Kingdom, Scotland underwent a roots revival in the 1960s. Cathy-Ann McPhee and Jeannie Robertson were the heroes of this revival, which inspired some revolutions in band formats by groups like The Clutha, The Whistlebinkies, Boys of the Lough, Incredible String Band and The Chieftains.

Wales. Wales is a Celtic country that features folk music played at twmpathau (communal dances) and gwyl werin (music festivals). Having long been subordinate to English culture, Welsh musicians in the late 20th century had to reconstruct traditional music when a roots revival began. This revival began in the late 1970s and achieved some mainstream success in the UK in the 80s with performers like Robin Huw Bowen, Moniars and Gwerinos.




  • (cordofoni)

  • (aerofoni)

  • (ancia libera)

  • (membranofoni)

  • (idiofoni)

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