Unique music mix is Made In England
Two of the UK's most exciting and original musical acts come together for Made In England (Wednesday 23 April, 10.35pm), a new BBC One West Midlands and BBC One South West series.
Seth Lakeman, nominated for the Mercury Music Prize in 2005, teams up with Birmingham-based hip hop artists, Moorish Delta 7 (MD7) to collaborate on a new piece of music.
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 – this seemingly daunting ordeal forms the finale of the BBC One programme.
Made In England picks up the story of Seth travelling from his native Devon to his first meeting with MD7 in Birmingham. But it's not just geography that sets the musicians apart, their influences, their music and their stage shows are very distinct.
Made In England charts the musicians' developing relationship during the writing and recording processes and reveals 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," says 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."
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," says 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."
After 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," says 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."
Producer Jeremy Hibbard says: "Watching the guys coming together in the studio was extraordinary.
"We had no idea how the collaboration would work but within hours the basis of the music was there and the rappers and Seth all helped each other to create some powerful lyrics.
"The song, Find Your Way, is about how music can bring people together and in this case it certainly did."
Notes to Editors
Made In England: Seth Lakeman is a Televisionary production for the BBC with Jeremy Hibbard as the producer and Will Sergeant as director.
Made In England will be broadcast on St George's Day, Wednesday 23 April 2008 at 10.35pm on BBC One in the West Midlands and South West regions and on digital satellite channel 986. It will also be available for seven days after broadcast on the BBC iPlayer.
Made In England is the title of the programme but is also the overarching title of an ongoing partnership between the BBC and Arts Council England exploring the nation from a range of diverse artistic perspectives, across TV, radio and online.
To find out more information about the Made In England partnership go to bbc.co.uk/madeinengland from Wednesday 23 April.