In 17th century England, broadside ballads were a popular form of music - these descriptive verses or song, were based on a popular theme and were sung or recited in public places or printed on broadsides for sale in the streets. The broadside ballads were often funny and lively. They were usually composed by writing new lyrics for familiar folk tunes, and printed on loose sheets with block-print illustrations. These were sold cheaply all over the country and sung in taverns, fairs, and market squares.
Over two workshops, a music therapist, a historian, an artist, and care home residents will come together to explore historical and current ideas of what promotes health in old age - like music, memories, company, and hope. Residents will then get the chance to create their own early modern ballad around these themes, using a familiar melody chosen by the residents. The historian will share how early modern ballads were produced, all will have the fun of performing the song, and drawing illustrations that the artist will then convert to woodcuts for the final ballad sheet.
These are closed workshops open only to the residents of Cedar Court Extra Care Housing in Reading.
An online exhibition with performance videos, drawings, lyrics, and memories of the event will be hosted by the website of Centre for Health Humanities, University of Reading.