Human Cargo with Matthew Crampton & Jeff Warner



Human Cargo is an epic night of story and song, featuring two masters of the craft. Storyteller and singer Matthew Crampton’s recent show The Transports won Five Stars from The Guardian. Now he returns with a new adaptation of his acclaimed book Human Cargo: Stories & Songs of Emigration, Slavery and Transportation. An inspired collaboration unites Matthew with American traditional music legend Jeff Warner. Together, they cast fresh light on human migration, giving voice to those actually aboard the slave ships and emigrant boats and, crucially, framing today’s heated issue with history and humanity. Each performance also features stories researched locally, as part of the Parallel Lives project. Expect a rich and entertaining evening.

In 2017 Matthew Crampton stirred the folk scene with his adaptation of Peter Bellamy’s The Transports. Securing full houses and standing ovations in venues across Britain, and touring again nationwide in January 2018, critics agreed Matthew’s re-imagining helped lift Bellamy’s brilliant concept to new levels. His previous production of Human Cargo gathered crowds to stages such as the Manor Pavilion at Sidmouth, the Canopy Stage at Greenbelt and London’s Cutty Sark. Formerly a leading speechwriter, and teacher of rhetoric at places like London’s Globe Theatre, Matthew is now known as a storyteller, author and folk singer (with a growing sideline in music hall).

Jeff Warner is one of America’s foremost interpreters of traditional music. He has long made Britain his second musical home, arriving each year to tour folk clubs and festivals, where he is well loved for connecting 21st century audiences with the everyday lives of people from past centuries. Born to one of America’s most eminent families of folksong collectors, Jeff grew up listening to the songs and stories of his father Frank Warner and the traditional singers his parents met during their collecting trips through rural America. A founding officer of Folk Alliance International, and past president of the Country Dance and Song Society, Jeff’s pedigree is matched by his remarkable ability to entertain people from both within and outside the world of folk music.

Matthew and Jeff are also skilled educators and presenters. They can additionally offer workshops and school visits.


Matthew Crampton

“A compelling storyteller” 5 stars, The Guardian

“Crampton has a great voice that entices and explains. He pulls the audience in like a magical toyshop owner. He has some joy and sorrow that he cannot keep to himself.” Folk Phenomena

“Matthew Crampton strikes just the right balance between informing and entertaining as, despite some grim statistics and all too apt comparisons with today’s mass migration, the show manages to be both tragedy and romp.” The Herald on The Transports


Human Cargo

“An elegant, vital insight into human suffering and survival” Cerys Matthews

“Matthew Crampton is an accomplished folk singer and live performer; if you get a chance to see his story-and-song ‘Human Cargo’ show, do not miss it.” Songlines

“Incredibly inspiring, deeply moving and ultimately inspirational.” Sean Cooney, The Young’uns


Jeff Warner

“The best folk singer in America.” Bob Bossin, founder of Canada’s String Band

“Jeff will leave you with a deeper appreciation of the land you live in.” Caffe Lena, Saratoga, NY

“My favourite Americana musician.” Archie Fisher

“One of the most charismatic, enthusiastic and genuinely versatile performers on the scene.” David Kidman, Netrhythms


Tour Dates