Despite wide assumption within the folk community that all the traditional singers have long passed away and no more songs or material exists within the oral tradition, it has become quite clear of late that there is still a wealth of music unrecorded from singers who have never before encountered the wider traditional music community. With particular emphasis on the Gypsy Traveller community and especially amongst the elders of this community, though not exclusively, there is a memory of the days of life on the road, in tents and a music that went hand in hand with this traditional way of life. Over the last 5 years several informants encountered but unrecorded have since passed away taking with them a store of songs never to be heard again. It is becoming acknowledged the pertinence with which the elders still carrying this music and lore need to be recorded and their material documented. It is a common plea amongst both the elders and their adult children that the old ways are not being passed down and this huge store of knowledge of an ancient way of life is not being passed on. In this age of digital facility there is no excuse for the lack of documentation and making accessible on a more national scale the rich but fragile lore of these people. The disappearance of the context within which the passing on of song and lore happened means the songs are not surviving against the appeals and accessibility of contemporary culture amongst the younger generations. However experiences within the camps and homes of this community reveal a great reverence of the elders and interest in their music and the old ways.
There simply is not a functioning forum in existence within the G&T community for the passing down of this knowledge. The future community is faced with cultural and heritage erasure if the thread and fabric which has bound together and been the identity for previous generations goes to the current elder’s graves. It is an equal loss to the ongoing exploration within the folk community if these flames are allowed to die out without an attempt at keeping its vital purpose and practise conserved and available to future generations to discover and have access to this repository.
The aim of the SCC is to record more than just songs but stories, family histories, yarns, folk knowledge, lore and experiences of social change. The material gleaned will then be edited, indexed and hosted on a dedicated website and associated Face Book pages with unrestricted access for both the families represented and enthusiasts of wider British Folk and G&T culture and traditional song and story enthusiasts. Copies of the indexes and recordings will also be gifted to Irish Traditional Music Archive (ITMA), the Vaughan Williams Memorial Library (VWML) and the National Sound Archive (NSA)