The project began in 2004 but was very publicly launched at the WOMAD world music festival in 2007 by Simon Emmerson of the Afro Celt Sound System. The group, made up of notable luminaries of the British folk scene like Eliza Carthy (Fiddles, Viola, Voice) Martin Carthy (Guitar, Voice) and Billy Bragg, walked on stage having only met at rehearsals and gave a rough and ready performance which was deemed a resounding success. The concept of the project was to explore the roots of English roots music from a fresh multicultural perspective and involve artists not traditionally associated with this genre, like Paul Weller, Benjamin Zephaniah, Tuung and Transglobal Underground. A self titled album was released in 2007 followed by an E.P containing remixed versions of four songs from the earlier album.
On the new album 'Empire and Love' the old classics of 'Scarborough Fair' and 'Byker Hill' are covered, as well as less traditional songs, with Slade's 'Cum On Feel The Noize' standing out as a particularly novel track to include. Artists appearing on the current album include Andy Gangadeen (Drums), Simon Emmerson (Cittern, Guitars), Simon Richmond (Keyboards, Electronica), Ali Friend (Bass), Sheema Mukherjee (Sitar, Voice), Chris Wood (Fiddles, Viola, Voice), Barney Morse Brown (Cello) & Johnny Kalsi (Percussion, Dhol, Tabla).
The Imagined Village release their second album 'Empire and Love' on Monday 11th January 2010, it has been a whistle stop six months in the making, compared to the five years for the debut album. Of this hectic schedule, Simon Emmerson recounted that "including starting the label, playing the summer festivals, doing the garage conversion and keeping the village pub in business. By the end of it we no longer felt like a band but a local parish council.” Read more about the Parish Council here
For those of you who like to pick up promotional merchandising trinkets that the music industry routinely like to knock out to help shift their products, ECC Records have used a bit more imagination than coming up with the usual poster or key ring by producing a limited edition bath bomb. As the company is run by Simon Emmerson (Afro Celt Sound System) and Mark Constantine of Lush the handmade cosmetics chain, they decided to make a product inspired by the lead track off the album Space Girl . It's shaped like Saturn and it's rings, or a spaceship, and it is purple, sparkly and has extra added Space Dust, how the punters are going to store it in the collection is another matter, but a cute idea never the less and anything to encourage the more soap dodging elements of the village fanbase into the bath has got to be a good thing.