National folk arts library to undergo a major
England’s national library of folk music and dance
is to undergo a major refurbishment this summer to ensure it is fit for
future generations to explore and discover the folk arts.
The Vaughan Williams Memorial Library (VWML), the library of the
English Folk Dance and Song Society based at Cecil Sharp House in London, will be closed from July 19 to September 5 while
work is carried out.
The VWML is the country’s biggest dedicated library and archive of folk
music, dance, and other traditions, and received Designated status from the
Museums, Libraries and Archives Council (MLA) in 2011.
It opened as part of Cecil Sharp House in Regent’s Park Road in 1930 to make Cecil Sharp’s personal book
collection accessible to the public.
The library was one of the few rooms in the Grade II listed property that
escaped serious damage from a WWII bomb, and so it still features the
original bookcases made by Heal’s on Tottenham Court Road and its Art
The seven-week programme
will include the renovation of the historic bookcases by accredited
conservators Bainbridge Conservation, painting the ceiling, new flooring,
curtains, and readers' lamps.
A new display case to exhibit items from the archive will also be installed,
along with facilities for browsing the VWML’s extensive catalogue and
online resources. The National Folk Music Fund, set up by Ursula and Ralph
Vaughan Williams to support the VWML, is funding the £50,000 cost of the refurbishment.
Laura Smyth, Director of the VWML, said: “The Vaughan Williams Memorial
Library is the nation’s most prized resource for folk traditions and
has been very well used by musicians, researchers, writers, historians, and
other visitors over the years.
“The reading room has not undergone any major refurbishment since 1940,
and the historic furniture has become chipped, tired, and cracked over the
decades. This carefully planned refurbishment will ensure that the library
can continue to serve our users and be a place of discovery for the folk arts
for many years to come.”
Library staff will continue to operate an email, telephone, and letter
enquiry service during the closure period. For more information, go to www.vwml.org.
Item added June 2017
Duo to create a series
of songs of Doncaster
Poet Ian Parks and musician Mick Jenkinson are
creating a series of songs about Doncaster as part
of new commission from Arts Council funded Right Up Our Street.
The duo are working on the project, called, Songs of Our Town, with a
view to releasing an album later in the year of the songs and poems that
they’ve written with the help of the local community.
Ian, from Mexborough, said: “Mick and I are
so excited to be working on this project. We met a few years ago when we were
both working on the Ted Hughes festival and knew that our creative styles
would work well together. “I’d been looking for
someone to collaborate with for almost ten years and then along came Mick
from just down the road in Balby! Together we developed this idea to create
an album of songs of our town and to work with the local community to hear
their stories and memories of Doncaster to weave
into the songs.”
The project aims to deliver an album about
different elements of the town, people and places, unsung heroes and
unexplored landscapes. “We’ve been taking the idea
out and working with groups to help them to take their stories and write
their own songs. “There is a strong sense of legacy about
the project. We are developing people’s writing skills in special
sessions, sharing stories and creating songs,” said Mick.
Rachel Ryan, from Right Up Our Street said:
“This is one of our commissioned projects and we are extremely pleased
with Ian and Mick’s proposal which will culminate in an event during
DNweekeND in September where the songs are all performed. “The
sessions they are holding around Doncaster are all
free and there are no restrictions. They are for people off all ages who have
a story to share.”
Other opportunities to work with Ian and Mick on
Songs of Our Town will be: The James Paine memorial event on June 17 at
the Mansion House.
For further information about Right Up Our Street
New project brings major folk song collection to the
A new project to incorporate a pivotal collection into the world’s
largest online searchable database of folk songs and music has been
The digitised collection of
James Madison Carpenter, which has previously only been accessible by
visiting the Library of Congress in Washington, DC, will be added to the Vaughan Williams Memorial
Library Digital Archive, thanks to a grant of more than £63,000 from the Arts
and Humanities Research Council (AHRC) Follow-on Funding Scheme.
Carpenter’s work includes a wealth of traditional songs, ballads and
folk plays, collected from performers in Scotland, England and Wales by the Harvard-trained scholar, mostly in the
As well as more than 2,000 items of traditional song and 300 folk plays, it
contains some items of traditional instrumental music, dance, custom,
narrative and children's folklore.
project is being delivered by the Elphinstone Institute, the centre for the
study of Ethnology, Folklore, and Ethnomusicology at the University of Aberdeen, in partnership with the English Folk Dance and Song Society, which
runs the Vaughan Williams Memorial Library and Archive (VWML) at Cecil Sharp
House in London.
A new learning resource for
teachers will be created for the online EFDSS Resource Bank using a selection
of material from the collection. EFDSS will also deliver a series of creative
learning projects with young people, adults, and in schools to introduce the
collection to a new audience.
The project will culminate in a celebration
concert at Cecil Sharp House in March 2018 featuring material from the
Laura Smyth, Director of the VWML, said:
“The Carpenter Collection will be a fantastic addition to our digital
archive with collected materials from the early 1930s – a period with
little activity from English based collectors.
“It also features a large number of
audio recordings, allowing us to get even closer to the original
Dr Julia Bishop, leader of the James Madison
Carpenter Collection Project, said: “‘The Carpenter Collection
has been hidden for so long. This is a wonderful opportunity to return it to
the communities and places where so much of it originated.”
Item Added 20/04/17
Nationwide search for next cohort
of the National Youth Folk Ensemble
The English Folk Dance and Song Society (EFDSS) has
launched a nationwide search for talented young musicians to become the next
members of the National Youth Folk Ensemble.
A series of Sampler Days will be held throughout England during May and June
to audition musicians aged 14 to 18 for up to 25 places in the 2017 –
2018 Ensemble, which is supported by Arts Council England.
Led by the Ensemble’s Artistic Director, former BBC Radio 2 Folk
Musician of the Year Sam Sweeney, each Sampler Day includes creative
workshops with a team of professional folk artists, individual auditions, and
a question and answer session with Ensemble staff.
Selected musicians will be invited
to a final audition in London on July 8 or 9. To register for a
Sampler Day, musicians have to be aged between 14 and 18 on 1
September 2017, live in England, be able to play confidently on
any instrument and have an interest in folk music.
Places on the Sampler Days
are free but limited and booking is essential at www.efdss.org/nationalyouthfolkensemble.
EFDSS launched the National Youth Folk Ensemble in 2016 to increase
opportunities for young people and audiences to discover folk music and raise
the profile of folk music in England.
During the year, members will take part in four weeks of intensive
residential courses around the country, receiving high quality tuition and
guidance from leading professional folk artists.
They will also develop skills in performance, arrangement and leadership and
give public performances
Katy Spicer, EFDSS Chief Executive and Artistic Director, said:
“The first year of the Ensemble has been a huge success.
“It has been a chance for the young musicians to develop and challenge
their own abilities and learn from some of the best musicians in contemporary
“We are now looking for more excellent instrumentalists who are
dedicated to developing as folk musicians and excited about collaborating
with others who share their passion. Whether they go on to make the final
ensemble or not, taking part in a Sampler Day will be a valuable
developmental opportunity for any young musicians interested in traditional
Sixteen-year-old Cori Smith is a classically trained viola player who said
she had been “transformed” since joining the National Youth Folk
“I’ve met so many talented people and it has been great to learn
from them. I was a bit intimidated at the start, joining in the sessions with
tunes that some other people just seemed to know, but by the end of the
residential sessions, I had improved so much and was able to join in and play
along by ear. It’s really developing my listening skills.
“It is such a warm and supportive environment, you can’t fail to
be inspired,” she added.
National Youth Folk Ensemble Sampler Days 2017:
Saturday 27 May – Colston Hall, Bristol
Sunday 28 May – Royal Northern College of Music (RNCM), Manchester
Monday 29 May – Sage Gateshead
Tuesday 30 May – University of Sheffield
Wednesday 31 May – Stamford Arts Centre
Friday 2 June – The Anvil, Basingstoke
Saturday 3 June – Cecil Sharp House, London
Sunday 4 June – mac Birmingham
Keep up to date with news about the ensemble at www.efdss.org/nationalyouthfolkensemble and
tweet @theEFDSS #youthfolk
Item added 13/04/2017
Lincolnshire Folk Forum
Masson created a new forum for all things folk music in Lincolnshire.
You can find it at: lincolnshirefolk.boards.net
Changes at Swineshead
The Pig and Whistle,
under new management, and they have changed the name to The Green Dragon
– address of course, remains the same. Session organisers Anne and Tom
have also moved this year, so the contact phone number is now 01775 822569
FiddleOn magazine merges
with The Living Tradition
FiddleOn magazine, a specialist magazine devoted to the fiddle, is joining
forces with The Living Tradition, the premier magazine for folk and
traditional music with a primary focus on the UK and Ireland. This
development, which brings further editorial expertise, additional subscribers
and a wider reach is good news all round.
The fiddle is one of the dominant instruments in traditional folk music and
is already well represented within the pages of The Living Tradition, a
presence that is set to continue as contributors to FiddleOn join forces with
existing Living Tradition writers and reviewers.
Jed Mugford, who has created and edited FiddleOn over the last 15 years, is
delighted with the move. “The Living Tradition offers scope for
enhanced fiddle related articles within its full colour A4 format and all
subscriptions to FiddleOn will be honoured by The Living Tradition.”
Both The Living Tradition and FiddleOn have been fully committed to a
physical printed magazine for a number of reasons, and that commitment is
strengthened by this latest move. Over the last couple of years The Living
Tradition magazine has been handed on to another generation, with Fiona
Heywood and Jim Byrne taking over the reins from Pete Heywood. Both Pete
Heywood and FiddleOn’s Jed Mugford will continue to have an interest in
the future of the magazine, but both are now in a position to devote more
time to other projects.
Since celebrating reaching its 100th issue back in February 2014, The Living
Tradition magazine is going from strength to strength and, with this latest
development, it is well placed to continue to deliver the best news, reviews
and information from the traditional folk scene. If you are interested in
this kind of music – The Living Tradition is the magazine for you!
If you would like to see a copy of this glossy, full colour, 68 page, A4
magazine, send the Living Tradition team your address and they will be happy
to send you a sample copy. Email: firstname.lastname@example.org.
Subscription information and publication details are available from The
Living Tradition website – www.livingtradition.co.uk
The FiddleOn website will remain live and various back issues are available -