The Ballad of Shirley Collins

Say what you will about folk music, you either love it or ignore it, but The Ballad of Shirley Collins is a film that everyone should see.

Stories lie in the core of folk. In the age of corporate narratives and brand storytelling there is really an oversupply of stories, but there is always room for truly good ones, like the story of the life of Shirley Collins.

Collins’s story as an English folk star was cut short when she suddenly lost her voice. Now she sips tea — at times something stronger — and ponders the role of folk today. She reminisces about last century’s folk scene and a music collection journey to America’s Deep South that Collins made together with her partner at the time, folklorist Alan Lomax.

On the soundtrack, field recordings bring to life forgotten singers and songs that tell us something crucial about our collective history. And after decades of reluctant silence, Collins too picks up the microphone once again. Folk, after all, is not meant to be perfect.

Minna Saarinen / Translation: Ulrika Sundelin

Language: English

  • Director: Rob Curry, Tim Plester
  • Country: UK
  • Year: 2017
  • Length: 94 min
  • Age limit: null
  • Cinematography: Richard Mitchell
  • Editing: Rob Curry, Tim Plester
  • Music: Shirley Collins, Ossian Brown, Michael J. York
  • Production: Paul Williams / Burning Bridges


  • Cinema Artis, hall 1: Thursday, 31.01 - 18:00
  • Tartu Elektriteater: Friday, 01.02 - 19:00