Most Truly Yours, Aunt Anne

Anne Gilchrist was a remarkable Lancashire woman who became a significant figure in the folk music world of the early twentieth century. She was a tune expert and song collector, mainly in the North West, and her scholarly articles became widely acknowledged during her 50 years with the Folk Song Society (later the EFDSS). But, perhaps because she did not publish any books, her importance has become overlooked.
The Gilchrist Collective was formed to change all that!
Peter & Barbara Snape started researching the project in 2020, long feeling that the traditional music of the North West deserved greater recognition. Their enthusiasm was quickly matched during 2021 by performers Brian Peters and Sue Burgess, bringing instrumental skills and distinctive voices to broaden the song repertoire and interpretation. The resulting collaboration is a band called The Gilchrist Collective, now appearing at Whitby Folk Week with a new folk music show. ‘Most Truly Yours, Aunt Anne’ tells Anne Gilchrist’s story for the first time, using narrative and slides with a rich and varied selection of the songs she discovered.
Professional musician Brian Peters had long felt that Anne Gilchrist would be an interesting subject for a project, and traditional singer Sue Burgess had long been an admirer of the Snapes’ work as a duo. “So I was delighted when invited to join the enterprise”, she says, “and working with these talented musicians has been a really exciting project to engage in – giving quite a focus to life during lockdown periods”.
The Collective has also recorded a concept album to celebrate Anne’s work and illustrate some of the treasures she found – including songs which became folk club ‘classics’ in the 1960s/70s. There are also a few less well-known pieces which are certainly worthy of the same company. Also featuring the violinist Poppy Weatherall, the CD ‘Most Truly Yours’ provides an energetic and entertaining mix of strong voices, with accompaniments including melodeon, concertina, guitar, mandolin and fiddle. To be published later this year, there will also be an illustrated book about Anne Gilchrist’s most full and interesting life, written by Peter Snape.
Meanwhile, you can find out why ‘Aunt Anne’ was awarded an OBE in 1948 for services to folk music – and an early EFDSS Gold Badge in 1938 – by coming along to our presentation. We look forward to seeing you!
Most truly yours, The Gilchrist Collective.