Folk duo Pedler // Russell team up with researchers for new song inspired by lives of migrant workers

The experiences of seasonal fruit pickers in the UK have inspired a new folk song.

Feed The Nation, a collaboration between folk duo Pedler // Russell and researchers from the University of Leeds, hopes to raise awareness of the efforts of foreign workers in British faming. 

The track hopes to give a voice to the ‘unseen and unheard’ community of migrant workers who come to the UK to work on farms in remote areas, living in caravans on site. 

Throughout the summer, shoppers enjoy punnets of fruit picked on British farms, but while the name of the farm is proudly displayed on the box, the hands that plucked each individual fruit are not named. 

The song centres on the experiences of these migrants and seeks to integrate them in popular culture, local histories and most crucially and significantly shelter these human experiences being consigned to oblivion.

Pedler // Russell’s unique sound, defined by incorporating machine rhythms and vocal samples into their music, is used to bring the sensitive topic home for the listener.

Feed the Nation will be launched at the Sidmouth Festival Folk Festival in East Devon on 30 July, 2022, and released online the same day via YouTube. Listen to the song on YouTube here or on Pedler // Russell’s website. Please note, the song will not be available until 30 July.

Feed the Nation by Pedler // Russell cover art


Researchers Dr Roxana Barbulescu, Professor Carlos Vargas Silva and Dr Bethany Robertson from the University’s School of Sociology and Social Policy and COMPAS University of Oxford worked with Pedler // Russell on the song as part of their Feeding the Nation research project

‘Feeding the Nation: seasonal migrant workers and food security during the COVID-19 pandemic’ is a major UKRI/ESRC funded project that seeks to understand the lived experiences of seasonal workers and the post-Brexit immigration system in the UK. 

To learn more, visit the Feeding the Nation website

Sidmouth Folk Festival runs from 29 July to 5 August. For the line up, tickets and ore information visit the festival website.

Artwork courtesy of Pedler // Russell. 
Image of Pedler // Russell by Elly Lucas.