Green Ribbons is a project dedicated to the celebration of unaccompanied song. The current line-up features Debbie Armour(Burd Ellen), Frankie Armstrong, Alasdair Roberts and Benjamin “Jinnwoo” Webb (Jinnwoo, Bird in the Belly). Their debut release is an intimate collection of traditional and newly composed songs. Recorded live at Studio 95 in Brighton by engineer Tom Pryor, GREEN RIBBONS sees each artist featured solo, in duet and in full ensemble. Ben “Jinnwoo” Webb brought the project together in July of 2018:
“Very broadly speaking, unaccompanied singing seems to have gone out of fashion in more recent years – but it’s always something I have enjoyed performing and listening to when I’ve had the chance. I wanted to get a group together whose voices I feel really lend themselves to storytelling, and focus purely on the voice and the stories. We wanted to make something very rough around the edges and unpolished, a kind of documented swapping of songs…”
Of the track that gives its name to the project and album, he says:
“I found these words in the Bodleian Archive and set them to my own melody. Green Ribbons were used to label people as ‘insane’ in the 1800s. I enjoyed the historical reference to mental health, a subject which features in some of my own writing. I liked, too, the directness of the lyric.”
DEBBIE ARMOUR (BURD ELLEN)
Debbie Armour is a Glasgow based musician, working primarily with traditional song from Britain and beyond. Broadly, her work is motivated by ideas of persistence, resonance and deep cultural roots. In her current solo project, Burd Ellen, she uses traditional song to explore women's narratives, as well as the metaphor and symbolism used to ornament their stories. Burd Ellen released their debut album Silver Came in February 2019. She has worked with a variety of musicians from the folk world and beyond, appearing and recording with Alasdair Roberts, Alex Neilson, Howie Reeve and Sharron Kraus.
In addition to her performance work, Debbie develops and delivers a variety of community projects. As an associate artist with organisations like The Village Storytelling Centre and Cinemor77 she uses archive material to look at ideas around threads of community and shared cross-cultural heritage.
"the sonic equivalent of Ingmar Bergman's immaculate Winter Light" - Stewart Gardiner, Concrete Islands
Born in Germany and raised in central Scotland, Alasdair Roberts is a Glasgow-based musician – primarily a songwriter, singer, guitarist and interpreter of traditional songs. Acclaimed by Folk Radio UK as 'one of our most talented, important and relevant songwriters and song-adapters', he has released several critically acclaimed albums of his music via Drag City Records over the past two decades, featuring both self-written material and interpretations of the traditional song of Scotland and beyond. He enjoys a wide range of collaborations and has toured extensively both in the UK and worldwide both solo and with various musical companions. His most recent album, What News (a collection of eight traditional Scots ballads made in collaboration with pianist David McGuinness and electronic musician Amble Skuse) was released in March 2018 on Drag City Records.
I’ve been singing professionally since 1964 and more recently (1975) began teaching voice and singing through developing a variety of voice and singing workshops. My journey with the voice began with the skiffle boom in 1957, moving through the British folk song revival of the early 1960s, and having the good fortune to study, perform and record with leading figures of the folk revival such as Louis Killen, Ewan MacColl and Bert Lloyd. With Peggy Seeger and Sandra Kerr, I researched and developed The Female Frolic (1966) for live performance and a recording, which began my particular interest in women’s lives as illuminated through song. Since 1962, I’ve built up a repertoire of British songs and ballads, which, along with contemporary British songs, still form the basis of my musical vocabulary. I find the song form extraordinary, despite its brevity, as a way of expressing the widest and deepest range of human emotions.
I have made 9 solo albums as well as featuring on numerous shared and themed recordings, contributed chapters to 11 books, written an autobiography and co-edited Well Tuned Women (on women and voice) with Jenny Pearson.
“Her voice conveys utter conviction and great humanity.She is an incredible story teller and has me on the edge of my chair listening to Tam Lin even though I”ve heard it dozens of times.” - Maggie Holland - fRoots
Jinnwoo is the moniker for Leicester-born, Brighton-based folk musician and artist, Ben Webb. Listed as one of the Independent's 'Artists to Watch', they gave his debut album 4/5, stating "Jinnwoo is the most singular new folk talent i've heard in some time".
His unique vocal delivery has been praised by critics - "Jinnwoo’s ardent vocals convey a modern-day high-lonesomeness" (Folk Radio UK) - "Jinnwoo is a true original" (Clash) - and have featured on other artist's work, such as Kyla La Grange's second studio album "Cut Your Teeth" (Sony).
Aside from his solo work, Jinnwoo sings with folk group Bird in the Belly, using forgotten lyrics set to contemporary folk compositions. Their debut album 'The Crowing' became the Express's album of the week, and received critical acclaim from fRoots, R2R and Songlines.
As a visual artist, Jinnwoo has photographed the likes of June Tabor, Stick in the Wheel, Nic Jones, Lisa Knapp, Lankum, Ben Walker and Furrow Collective