always pleased to receive news items relating to folk arts in the region, but
we cannot always guarantee to include them here. Concise, relevant copy with full
contact details is particularly welcome, especially if you can also supply a
photograph or other illustration.
exploring the tangible and intangible
heritage of England
Griffith and Andy Seward have each been
awarded bursaries to be Musicians in Residence at the National Coal Mining Museum for England in Wakefield.
partnering with the National Coal Mining Museum for England to offer folk music artists an
exciting creative and learning opportunity. in an ambitious new scheme run by
the English Folk Dance and Song Society, with funding from Help
musician will explore creative links between the tangible culture and history
of the museum’s collections and artefacts and the intangible culture
and history of folk songs and tunes. The residencies will draw on the
artists’ extensive range of experience and talents as educators and
creative musicians. Each artist will work over an extended period of twelve
months at their museum, and in their museum’s local
community. Each artist will receive a bursary of £5000 to develop a new
music work to be performed at the end of the residency and deliver outreach
activities to engage people with the museums and with folk music.
the latest project in EFDSS’ Artists’ Development programme for
the English folk.
added Feb 2018
The Graeme Miles Bursary
Award from EFDSS
EFDSS are happy to
announce that the 2017 award of £1,200, has been presented to Alasdair Paul, who was chosen by a
selection panel including Adrian McNally and Rachel Unthank from The
Unthanks. For more information please see the EFDSS news page.
The bursary will allow Alasdair to purchase new recording equipment to
support his work as a composer and to record a new album of original folk
music. Alasdair Paul aims to record and release one track a month to
represent the changing seasons of the year.
The call is out to young musicians under the
age of 25 who sing or play traditionally based music to enter for New
Roots 2016. Whether your style is traditional or contemporary folk,
roots or world music, whether you perform traditional material or
write your own, the organisers would like to hear from you. There are two
categories, under 18 and 18-24. New Roots has
been running since 2000 and the standard rises every year.
The list of judges for 2018 has now been finalised. Between them, Emily
Askew, Jamie Roberts. Andy Stafford and Valmai Goodyst represent a
wide spectrum of insights into the folk scene. Selected candidates
will take part in the final on Sunday
April 8 2018 at Trestle Arts Base in St Albans. Everyone who makes it
to the final will win one or more performance opportunities.
Closing date: 31 January 2018
www.new-roots.org.uk email: email@example.com or
ring 01727 852111.
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
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
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
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
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 visit http://www.rightupourstreet.org.uk
Item Added 1/6/2017
New project brings major folk song
collection to the UK
A new project to
incorporate a pivotal collection into the world’s largest online
searchable database of folk songs and music has been announced.
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
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 period 1929-35.
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.
The 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 Carpenter Collection.
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
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
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
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
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 English folk.
“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 music.”
Smith is a classically trained viola player who said she had been
“transformed” since joining the National Youth Folk Ensemble.
“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
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 –
Tuesday 30 May – University of Sheffield
Wednesday 31 May – Stamford Arts Centre
Friday 2 June – The
Saturday 3 June –
Cecil Sharp House, London
Sunday 4 June – mac
Keep up to date with news
about the ensemble at www.efdss.org/nationalyouthfolkensemble and tweet
item added 13/04/2017
Malcolm Douglas 1955 - 2009
are deeply saddened at the loss of one of our number, Malcolm Douglas, an
invaluable member of the Yorkshire Folk Arts' management team from its
inception. In addition to designing, setting up and maintaining the YFA
website Malcolm could always be relied upon to contribute thoughtful,
knowledgeable and very sensible observations to all of our discussions and
planning sessions. His fondness for good beer and debate were among the
many other attributes that made for an enjoyable colleague and all-round
excellent bloke. He will be sorely missed.
Three of Malcolm's good friends have written
the following words which we are glad to reproduce below.
Martin Bull, Chairman, for all of
Our friend Malcolm Douglas, who has died
from cancer aged 54, had many talents, but two in particular brought him to
national prominence. He had a compendious knowledge and understanding of
traditional folk song (mainly, but not exclusively, English folk song), and
he was a renowned illustrator and comic artist. He fell into these
contrasting fields by accident, but he treated them with meticulous
attention to detail and a professionalism that belied his lack of formal
He became an illustrator after
volunteering to illustrate a student union newspaper at Sheffield
University, and found that people were prepared to pay him to do what had
hitherto been a hobby. His illustrations featured in a wide range of
comics, of which the best known was Oink; he was also the illustrator of
the footballing devilkin Fred the Red, for five years delighting both young
and old readers of Manchester United match programmes.
For the English Folk Dance and Song
Society (EFDSS) he revised the evergreen song collection, The Penguin Book
of English Folk Songs, originally edited by Ralph Vaughan Williams and A.L.
Lloyd in 1959. In his new edition, published as Classic English Folk Songs,
he corrected previous errors and brought to the book a wealth of additional
He did the same well-researched and
comprehensive review of another of the EFDSS's most successful
publications, Marrow Bones, a collection of folk songs from Dorset and
Hampshire, originally edited by Frank Purslow. He was working on a third,
The Wanton Seed, when he succumbed to illness. He was also well-known
amongst folk music enthusiasts for his contributions to the on-line forum
The Mudcat Café, where he hadposted almost 9000 detailed answers to
questions about the most obscure aspects of folk song and music. He was
happy to point people to the sources of his knowledge and help them to find
answers for themselves.
Malcolm was born and brought up in South
London, and after attending Trinity School of John Whitgift in Croydon, he
came to Sheffield University to study French and English and stayed in the
city, which he regarded as his home town.
Malcolm was committed to the principle
of the people's ownership of their cultural heritage and was involved in
many grassroots initiatives, even expressing concern about what he saw as
the over-professionalisation of the folk arts. He was co-host at
Sheffield's Red Deer folk club for a decade and was active in regional
organisations such as the South Riding Folk Network (SRFN) and Yorkshire
Folk Arts, bringing his literary and technological skills to bear in
maintaining websites for both organisations, editing the SRFN magazine and
designing the south Yorkshire folk magazine Stirrings.
Malcolm was also a performer, playing
fiddle, mandolin and cittern with various concert and dance bands and was a
familiar figure at music sessions in and around Sheffield. He never
married, but is survived byhis mother and brother Ian.
Ron Day, Dave Eyre and Raymond