Step 1: The Song Introduction
Jerusalem with Blake re-imagined. Preview the song as you read (optional)
By Sir Hubert Parry with Blake Re-imagined by Liz Dilnot Johnson. Featuring guest vocals from Debipriya Sircar
Introducing Jerusalem, with a twist. We’ve combined this enduringly popular piece with Liz Dilnot Johnson’s Blake Reimagined. Feat. Indian vocalist & sitar player Debipriya Sircar.
Originally written for the ‘Fight for Right’ movement to rally British spirits during WW1, ‘Jerusalem’ retained Blake’s deep sense of mourning for a world tainted by industrialisation . With this, the eminently singable and aspirational hymn quickly became synonymous with a much wider celebration of universal human values – and a call to action to build a better world. In 1918, Millicent Garret Fawcett, leader of the National Union of Women’s Suffrage Societies, wrote to Parry suggesting ‘Jerusalem’ ought to become the Women Voter’s official hymn. As friends of both Fawcett and the Pankhursts , the passionate suffragist Parry and his wife, Maude , were delighted: “I wish indeed it might become the Women Voters’ hymn as you suggest. People seem to enjoy singing it. And having the vote ought to diffuse a good deal of joy too. So they would combine happily.” In 1924 ‘Jerusalem’ was adopted as the national anthem for the Women’s Institute.
And so, there is no more fitting a place to start your experience, than in the West Sussex Downs: home to Blake’s cottage in nearby Felpham, and where he originally penned ‘Jerusalem’ . The words of the timeless passion-rousing hymn celebrate both all that we hold dear, and that which we yearn for: our roots, our common values, and the better world we want to build together. Nothing is more solid and representative of that, than these beautiful and ancient natural surroundings: “England’s green and pleasant land”.
Click here for trigger warnings
About vocalist and sitar player Debipriya Sircar
Sitarist and vocalist Debipriya Sircar was born and brought up in London. She began learning music at the age of 4 from her mother and her early gurus were the late Pandit Manesh Chandra Kansara (sitar) and the late Sri Golak Mohan Choudhury (vocal).
Since 2003, Debipriya has been a disciple of Pandit Ajoy Chakrabarty, one of the finest exponents of North Indian Classical Vocal music and has received vocal training at workshops conducted in the UK.
Based in Stratford, East London, Debipriya combines her music with a full time career as a Flow Cytometrist, at the Francis Crick Institute.
Arial footage flying over fields
Flying above the clouds
Fields of poppies