The first post about - MURRI Celebrates the Golden Thread Making and Music Day 28/6/18

Well that went very well indeed ! (NO not the failed ingerland foot-balls match of the same nite you silly billies. MURRI!) The Workshops were rammed and a lorra lovely stuff was made! THEN a healthy crowd REALLY enjoyed the Music, in all its beauty (Lisa Knapp), twangy twiddly bluesy goodness (Drew Webster), corvid whimsy (The Crow/Nick White) and crazed glory (Jam Bank)!

The evening finished off with Appalachian clog dancers Jake Jones and Dan Eccles violinist Goode who galvanised the crowd to dance as if they were St Vitus ! 

If we were a May-fly, we could now die happy, having spawned as we were designed to...... BUT WE will LIVE on! As with your wonderful help, dear friends we have achieved all we wished to and MORE, and have the means (the website, the book, offers of more fun opportunities coming up) to venture ever further upward and onward ! BOOP! XZ and Aidan and (the Maestro of Murri Fundom) Stephen.N.G.Fowler.

More posts on this to come! 

It was really cool to be greeted by our poster in the official notice board of Cecil Sharp House , the actual and real Heart of English Folk Music! This in itself is really satisfying to see.

It was really cool to be greeted by our poster in the official notice board of Cecil Sharp House , the actual and real Heart of English Folk Music! This in itself is really satisfying to see.

The Story of Redhead the Whale Man (Iceland).

Illustrator Victoria Willmott ( brings us a visual report on her contribution to Folklore Exhibition ‘Illustrated Stories of the World’ at Hamilton House, Bristol. 

This ancient legend tells us of men risking their lives to hunt for Greak Auks in southern Iceland. One unlucky young fisherman lost his way and found himself stranded on a rocky island in the company of elves. He made a life there with an elf woman who gave birth to his son but he longed to live back in his home village. The elf woman granted him his way home with one condition that he would baptize his elf child in the village church. When the time came the man betrayed the elf woman and disregarded his baby who was found in a cradle outside the church. The elf woman punished him for his betrayal and transformed him into a huge whale. For the rest of his days he haunted the sailors and fishermen at sea. He was easy to recognise, as at the time of the curse he was wearing a red cap, so as a whale he had a red head. 



The villagers were afraid of going near the sea. Many lives were lost as the Redhead Whale-Man raged against them in vain, killing hundreds of sailors and fishermen. A sorcerer and his daughter were the only ones left to save what they had left of the village.

VictoriaWillmott whale 2.jpeg


Using magic they led the whale from the sea towards the river where the waters were so narrow there was hardly any water.


VictoriaWillmott whale 3.jpeg

The whale was entranced by their spell and followed them, tiring as he swam. They reached a waterfall and the whale leaped and landed in the river above. The sorcerer didn’t stop walking until they reached the end of the river, the whale was so exhausted his heart broke under stress and he sank to the bottom of the lake. All but a red cap remains of what was left of the Redhead Whale-Man, the terror of the sea.

VictoriaWillmott whale 4.jpeg


Victorias version is based on Jon Arnason 1, 81-82  from the book:- J.M. Bedell, 'Hildur, Queen of the Elves and Other Icelandic Legends', 2006, Interlink Publishing Group.

Like all fairy tales and folk tales with vivid descriptions and metaphors, there is always a lot left for the imagination to conjure up. I found this story fascinating and the specifics of the red head from the red cap a funny detail that makes the story interesting in my eyes. I edited the ending as the original says ‘And in any case you doubt the truth of this story, you should know that mighty whale bones were found washed ashore on the beaches of Lake Hvalsnes.’  Whereas I wanted to include the red cap as the pivotal evidence that this story might in fact be true.  

My illustrations are made from lino carving stamps. I have made a whole lunchbox full of lino stamps from the story that means I can re-create the fairy tale in parts or as a whole wherever or whenever I please. I have focused in on one part of the story where the whale-man is terrorizing the fishermen in its new form as an enormous whale. Its red head a flicker of the life it had before.

The folklore exhibition ‘Illustrated Stories of the World’ at Hamilton House was an Open Call exhibition curated by Gordy Wright who invited illustrators from all over the social media world to apply. An invitation on Twitter gathered a collection of artists from the UK to USA, Canada to Argentina and beyond, with folktales from all over the world to be illustrated. Illustrators and artists responded to their favourite folklore, myth or legend in whichever way they wanted to represent their chosen narrative. Each culture has their own unique stories which have been passed down through their history; leading to an endless diverse choice of inspiration.  The show brought together a variety of illustrators and their different styles and influences with an underlining thread of folklore to tie it all together. A golden thread of folklore, I should say.

Artists included in the show:

Janie Anderson, Patrick Atkins, Abi Bailey, Ballawaves, Mhairi Braden, Josh Burgess, Shafer Brown, James Boswell, Camilla Cacciari, Robbie Cathro, Allissa Chan, Geov Chouteau, Elisa Cunningham, Lisa Marie Davies, Draw James Draw, Chloe Dominique, Owen Gent, Jack Goddard, Akhran Girmay, Freya Hartas, Rachel V Hillis, Lara Hawthorne, Ruby Hinton, Lean Hound, Matt Hayton, Jessica Heitzenrater, Jesse Hodgson, Hanna Lee Joshi, Grace Kim, Molley May, Harriet Lee Merrion, Of Ink and Earth, Haejin Park, Adam Pritchett, Ang Hui Qing, Bailie Rosenlund, Simon H Reid, Sophie Robin, Eli Spencer, Eoin O Sullivan, Heather Savage, Ed Stockham, Marcos Santos, Mish Scott, Jay Arthur Simpson, Kim Tillyer, Raven Warner, Victoria Willmott, Louis Wood, Gordy Wright.

The exhibition ran from 6th April to 18th April 2018 at Hamilton House, Bristol



The Golden Thread Project launches here!

So here it is folks! after two years of working on The Golden Thread Project we officially launched this exhibition celebrating the English/American folk songs collected by Cecil Sharp and Maude Karpeles one hundred years ago. It was a huge success! people travelled from far and wide to see the hard work of 28 artists and illustrators who paid homage to these fantastic songs of love and violence and enjoyed a night of art, wine and music.

With performances from King Toad aka Artist Peter Lloyd, Jonny Hannah and the Sharps folk club it was merry event which gave a small glimpse into the next event on June 28th where folk disco Murri would pay homage to The Golden Thread with a day of arty workshops and an evening of great music.