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Darren Hayman

DARREN HAYMAN is a prolific singer-songwriter, intrigued by our relationships with places and armed with the idiosyncratic eye of a Shell Guide. Recently he’s stepped outside for rural jaunt through Britain’s 54 Thankful Villages and this concert sees him share the fruits of these labours in a live setting, making full use of both a band and projections. A Thankful Village is a village in Britain where every soldier returned alive from World War I. The writer, journalist and educator Arthur Mee coined the term ‘Thankful Village’ in his series of guidebooks, ‘The King’s England’ in the 1930s. Darren Hayman has visited each of the villages and, focussing on local life, has made a piece of music and a short film for each one. Some take the form of instrumentals inspired by the location, some are interviews with village residents set to music, others are new songs with lyrics or found local traditional songs. ‘Thankful Villages Volume 1’ (released by Rivertones on June 3rd) is the first album of a three volume study from this project and contains the first 18 villages that Darren visited during 2014/15. The pieces do not necessarily refer to the Great War, rather they portray the village and it’s communities at many points in history. In ‘Stocklinch’ Ros tells a story of a painting of the old church changing hands through the village, whilst in ‘Strethall’ Darren sings a story of infidelity from the parish records from 1607 and in ‘St Michael, South Elmham’ Dolly tells the story of her melodeon playing father and his adventures in Salonika. ‘Thankful Villages’ is a collage of Britain’s hidden places. Rich in history and community, ‘Thankful Villages’ is a further enthralling chapter in Darren’s journey through the country’s underbelly.