promoting folk arts through partnership
News: 2016 - 2017
We are 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.
See Also Clubs & Sessions News
National folk arts library to undergo a major refurbishment
The Vaughan Williams Memorial Library (VWML), the library of the
English Folk Dance and Song Society based at Cecil Sharp House in
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.
Item added June 2017
Poet Ian Parks and
musician Mick Jenkinson are creating a series of songs about
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
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
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.
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
includes a wealth of traditional songs, ballads and folk plays, collected
from performers in
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 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 original performances.”
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.”
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
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.
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
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 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.”
Sixteen-year-old Cori 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 added.
National Youth Folk Ensemble Sampler Days 2017:
Saturday 27 May –
Sunday 28 May –
Monday 29 May –
Tuesday 30 May –
Wednesday 31 May –
Friday 2 June – The
Saturday 3 June –
Cecil Sharp House,
Sunday 4 June – mac
Keep up to date with news about the ensemble at www.efdss.org/nationalyouthfolkensemble and tweet @theEFDSS #youthfolk
Gold Badges are given for unique or outstanding contributions to folk music, dance or song, distinguished service to EFDSS and/or exceptional contributions to EFDSS’ work.
This year, Pete Coe has celebrated more than 50 years of music making on the English folk scene. His contributions include traditional song research, song writing in traditional style, the founding of several seminal bands, plus solo and duo performances, dance calling, recording, field research, local folk activism in Ryburn Three Step and teaching at various levels.
He was the founder member and visionary force behind three particularly ground breaking groups – The New Victory Band, Bandoggs and Red Shift – all of which brought something new to the folk scene.
As well as developing a
wide range of traditional songs for performance, Pete has had an illustrious
songwriting career with many songs covered by other artists. His collecting
of a single verse of Marching Down through
Pete has contributed a number of field recordings including Caleb Walker (musician for Manley Morris), travellers Charlotte & Betsy Renals and Sophie Legge, and Willy Taylor. He has carried out extensive research into the work of Frank Kidson, which resulted in a touring show and a CD under the title of Five Finger Frank.
Pete has also worked extensively in schools throughout the country as a visiting musician both on his own account and for the EFDSS on the Take 6 Project. He was also a founder member of Ryburn Three Step, along with wife Sue.
Sue Coe came to English folk music later in her husband Pete’s career and added her enthusiastic contributions with huge administration efforts within Ryburn Three Step. Sue provided all the administration including early funding applications as well as teaching Appalachian dance and the longsword side for Ryburn Three Step.
Ryburn Three Step organises a range of regular activities for local people including clog and Appalachian step dance classes, a singing group, a longsword dance side plus an offshoot rapper side, a mummer’s side, monthly folk club and dance, occasional workshop days plus weekly music sessions in the local pub.
She developed Ryburn Longsword over several years, recruiting youngsters from local schools and ultimately including their mothers in the dancing, resulting in a junior and a senior team. Along with team members she developed new dances with a local flavour and has presented the Ryburn team regularly at dance festivals.
Sue continues to run weekly workshops for disabled and wheelchair bound youngsters, developing dances suitable for their abilities and providing for them a very necessary inclusion and off course we must not forget her extensive work for Yorkshire Folk Arts over the years.
Item added July 2016
EFDSS to receive international lifetime achievement award
Chief Executive Katy
Spicer will receive The Elaine Weissman Lifetime Achievement award on behalf
of EFDSS during the opening evening of the 28th annual Folk Alliance
International conference in
The award is named for one of the founders of Folk Alliance International, which is the world’s largest gathering of the folk music industry. Each year, the awards are presented to a living recipient, a memorial recipient and an active organisation and are determined by a select international panel.
Past recipients of the Lifetime Achievement Awards include Pete Seeger, The Weavers, Harry Belafonte, Joan Baez, Bob Dylan, Mavis Staples, The Carter Family, Bill Monroe, Woody Guthrie, Phil Ochs, Robert Johnson, Bessie Jones, Alan Lomax, The Newport Folk Festival, Old Town School of Folk Music, National Council for Traditional Arts, and Smithsonian Folkways Recordings, among others.
EFDSS Chief Executive Katy Spicer said: “As an organisation, we are thrilled to be recognised for our work in preserving, promoting and disseminating traditional English folk arts.
“To join such
esteemed organisations such as the