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Online archive documenting the story of folk music collector Peter Kennedy

A new website documents the work of folk music collector Peter Kennedy

A new website has just been launched to celebrate the field work of folk music collector Peter Kennedy

Between the 1950s and the 2000s, Peter Kennedy (1922–2006) collected, researched and published British and Irish folk music and customs. He worked for the English Folk Dance and Song Society (EFDSS), the BBC and as an independent operator, collaborating with other prominent figures like Alan Lomax, Hamish Henderson, Sean O’Boyle and Seamus Ennis.

The site can be navigated through a timeline of his recording itinerary between 1952–62. It also has a performer index that links up over 650 musicians to sound recordings, photos and notes.

“What makes this website unique is the way it contextualises recordings and photographs of performers with Peter’s own notes about them,” says Andrew Pace, who has been cataloguing the Kennedy collection since 2010. “Whilst the British Library’s catalogue is useful as a search tool, it doesn’t reveal how a collection was formed and developed – and it doesn’t tell us very much about who created it. This new website gives us a better idea of what’s in this collection by refocusing attention on Peter as a recordist and reconstituting his material into a form that better resembles how he created it.”

The Peter Kennedy Archive was designed by Andrew Pace after an AHRC Cultural Engagement project grant was awarded to City University London. It is also partially funded by the National Folk Music Fund.