“My Albion” – Zakia Sewell explores the songs, stories and symbols of British identity

Zakia Sewell

As a teenager, Zakia Sewell became entranced by English folk music, initially through Pentangle’s haunting rendition of the traditional song, The Cuckoo.

But with this enchantment came a tension – a question – of whether such a song could really belong to her. Being of Caribbean and British descent, Zakia is sensitive to the darker histories that connect these two places and yet is drawn to a vision of Albion – an ancient, mythical land evoked in so many folk songs, symbols and stories.

Spiralling out from the personal to the national, from the present into the past – both real and imagined – Zakia grapples with the complexities of British national identity with the intent of resolving her own inner conflict and finding hopeful visions for the future.

With artist Ben Edge, musician Cohen Braithwaite-Kilcoyne and his mum Mignon, warden of Kilpeck Church, Hesketh Millais, members of Boss Morris – a feminist Morris Side – and Zakia’s dad, Caspar.

Listen to the full program on BBC here

Produced by Zakia Sewell and Alan Hall
A Falling Tree production for BBC Radio 4

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