Editor’s letter: autumn 2023

Editor Matthew Whitehouse on cover star Taylor Russell, and the musicians keeping England’s folk tradition alive.

Taken from the new print issue of THE FACE. Get your copy here.

I thought a lot about home while making this issue. I moved house, which was probably some of it (who knew I had so many plates). But I also felt a pull back to home in a more abstract sense – to England, which provided the setting for the magazine you’re reading.

It certainly set the scene for our cover star, Canadian actor Taylor Russell, who’s spent the last few months here preparing for her stage debut in The Effect at London’s National Theatre. Taylor’s father is English, her grandparents arriving in the UK from Jamaica as part of the Windrush Generation. As she tells the play’s writer Lucy Prebble, Every time I’ve touched down here, it felt like I was at home… I feel at peace here in a lot of ways.”

It’s home, too, for the six acts who make up our nationwide music cover: Space Afrika, Rainy Miller, George Riley, LCY, Wesley Joseph and John Glacier. Individually, they represent Manchester, Preston, West London, Bristol, Walsall and East London. Collectively, they’re threads in the woven fabric of English music: artists who, as FACE Music Director Davy Reed puts it, are keeping a very modern iteration of England’s folk tradition alive”.

But what do we mean by folk”? Certainly not the genre, which the artists listed above couldn’t be further away from. Rather, we mean the way in which these very regional artists have absorbed the traditions of their communities: selecting them, evolving them, passing them on. It reminds me of the last time we had such a laser-sharp focus on the here”: Winter 2020, my first as editor, in which we spoke about the boosting of signals from across the country. We hope you see the onward transmission of these stories as a continuation of that. No matter where you call home.

Matthew Whitehouse, Editor

London, August 2023

Taylor wears coat GUCCI

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