The Imagined Village is a folk musical project founded by Simon Emmerson of the Afro Celt Sound System.
It is intended to produce modern folk music that represents modern
multiculturalism in the United Kingdom and as such, features musicians
from a wide variety of ethnic and cultural backgrounds. The name of the
project comes from the 1993 book The Imagined Village by Georgina Boyes.
The project started in 2004, and led to the release of an eponymous
album in 2007 by a collective of artists on Real World Records. Some of
the tracks on it are modern re-interpretations of traditional folk
The Imagined Village E.P. was released earlier in 2007, and is a remix
of the album tracks. The 2008 BBC Radio 2 Folk Awards voted "Cold,
Hailey, Rainy Night" as best traditional track.
In 2009, the project moved to a new record label, ECC Records, and a
second album, Empire & Love was released in January 2010.
The Imagined Village live band have toured since November 2007. The
original lineup consisted of Billy Bragg, Martin Carthy, Eliza Carthy,
Sheila Chandra, Chris Wood and The Young Coppers, backed by a band
featuring Simon Emmerson, Johnny Kalsi, Francis Hylton, Andy Gangadeen,
Sheema Mukherjee and Barney Morse Brown. They also appeared on Later
with Jools Holland.
A revised lineup was announced for their 2010 tour, coinciding with the
release of Empire & Love: Martin Carthy, Eliza Carthy, and Chris
Wood, backed by a band featuring Simon Emmerson, Johnny Kalsi, Ali
Friend, Andy Gangadeen, Simon Richmond, Sheema Mukherjee and Barney
In 2011 Jackie Oates joined the band for their live performances including at the Shrewsbury Folk Festival.