Made in England - Seth Lakeman

Seth Lakeman's advice

Seth between MD7's Cypher and Malik (l-r). Lucas North/BBCMade in England with Seth Lakeman

Seth Lakeman, nominated for the Mercury Music Prize in 2005, teamed up with Birmingham-based hip hop artists, Moorish Delta 7 to collaborate on a new piece of music.

Exclusive: watch Seth Lakeman and MD7 perform

From Devon to Birmingham

After their very first meeting the collective had just 48 hours to write and record the brand new work before stepping onto the stage at a Birmingham club to perform it live.

Seth travelled from his native Devon to his first meeting with MD7 in Birmingham. But it wasn't just geography that set the musicians apart – their influences, their music and their stage shows are very distinct. This programme charted the musicians' developing relationship during the writing and recording processes and revealed the reactions of the crowd during and after their live performance.

BBC Radio 2's Folk Musician of the Year 2007, Seth Lakeman has done more than any other folk musician to bring folk music into the 21st century and to a wider, mainstream audience. Born and raised on Dartmoor, his inspiration comes from the moorland communities which are rich in character and folklore.

MD7 (Cipher, Malik and Jawar) are one of the most respected and influential hip hop acts around today with a huge following in the UK and Europe.

"Our music is from two very different worlds," said Seth, "but there are some strong similarities and they have a lot more in common than you might think. Both originate from within tight communities and talk about the social and political issues that affect them everyday.

"Both communities are familiar with the sense of struggle, isolation and the desire to try and rise above their surroundings, physically and emotionally," Seth added.

But while folk and hip hop both have their roots in protest, the styles of music are worlds apart, so fusing them together was a tough challenge.

"I need to understand the community first," said Seth, "so I spent some time with the guys and their producers. I needed to see where they live, understand the pressures on them and get a feeling for what drives them and their music. My brand of folk has strong beats, so that's a good musical start – but our language and the way we use it is very different. The hip hop audience is quite inward looking and the live audiences are very unforgiving so trying to reach out to them isn't easy."

Seth with Moorish Delta 7's Cypher and Malik. Copyright Lucas North/BBCAfter meeting Cypher, Malik and Jawar from MD7, Seth was taken on a tour of the areas of Birmingham where the band grew up. "Those are the places that inspired us," said Malik. "Areas where nothing much happened and the temptation was to join a gang and get involved in trouble. As a teenager I went through a wild period, I carried a weapon and was stabbed myself but music saved me from all that and gave me a sense of direction."

Within hours the collaboration produced some powerful lyrics and rhythms and the resulting song, Find Your Way, is about bringing music and people together.

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