The Ballad of Shirley Collins

Supersonic 2018

The Ballad of Shirley Collins | Director Rob Curry & Tim Plester

Shirley Collins is widely regarded as the 20th century’s most important singer of English traditional song, Alongside her sister Dolly, she stood at the epicentre of the folk music revival during the 1960s and ‘70s. However, in 1980 Shirley developed a disorder of the vocal chords known as dysphonia, which robbed her of her unique singing voice and forced her into early retirement. Deliberately eschewing a straightforward biopic approach, Rob Curry and Tim Plester’s documentary is a lyrical response to the life-and-times of this totemic musical figure. Granted intimate access to recording sessions for Shirley’s first album of new recordings in almost four decades, and featuring contributions from (amongst others) the comedian Stewart Lee and David Tibet of Current 93, what emerges is a meditative and carefully textured piece of portraiture.