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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.
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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 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 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
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.”
Item Added 20/04/17
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
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 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 – 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
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 Rochester with its Waltzing Matilda tune, and its subsequent expansion to a full song has made him the focus of attention by various researchers in search of the roots of the famous Australian song. Most recently Mark Radcliffe featured his rather personal Rolling Down The Ryburn on his BBC Radio 2 programme, sung by Greg Russell and Ciaran Algar.
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
A nationwide search
for talented young musicians to become the first members of the new
National Youth Folk Ensemble will come to Leeds later this year.
Led by the Ensemble’s Artistic Director, BBC Radio 2’s Folk Musician of the Year 2015 Sam Sweeney, each Sampler Day will include 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 in July. To register for the Leeds Sampler Day, musicians have to be aged between 14 and 18 on 1 September 2016, live in England, be able to play confidently on any instrument and have an interest in folk music.
Places on the Sampler Day are free but limited and booking is essential at www.efdss.org/nationalyouthfolkensemble.
EFDSS created the National Youth Folk Ensemble to increase opportunities for young people and audiences to discover folk music and raise the profile of folk music in England. The programme is supported by Arts Council England.
Katy Spicer, EFDSS Chief Executive and Artistic Director, said: “We are looking for excellent instrumentalists who are dedicated to developing as folk musicians and excited about collaborating with others who share their passion.
“This is a unique opportunity for young musicians and the first time a group of this kind has been established on a national basis. It offers a chance to develop in a nurturing environment with experienced and skilled musicians.
“We are hoping the
Ensemble will discover, encourage and inspire the folk performers, educators
and leaders of the future, and we would encourage as many young musicians
as possible to sign up to the Sampler Day in Leeds.”
Keep up to date with news about the ensemble at http://www.efdss.org/nationalyouthfolkensemble and tweet @theEFDSS #youthfolk
When popular Teesside trio The Young ‘uns embark on their biggest tour of the UK in April they aim to involve communities up and down the country in a series of free pre-gig grass roots events.
In their only UK tour of 2016, Sean Cooney, Michael Hughes and David Eagle, will set out to play 18 celebrated venues across England, Scotland and Wales. Their “Three For All” tour (April 13 - May 1) will take in venues including Cardiff’s St David’s Hall, Edinburgh’s Pleasance Theatre, Salisbury City Hall and Liverpool Philharmonic Hall.
But on this tour they will be offering added value. Inviting members of the public to “call the tune” they will take time away from the concert hall stages to join forces with people and projects in the environs of their gig towns, with free events mirroring their all-inclusive tour title.
Says singer songwriter Sean Cooney: “We've decided to try to live up to the tour name. On as many afternoons as possible we'll be aiming to do something for free in or around the tour towns. We hope to celebrate the stories behind some of our songs in the places - and with the people - who inspired them, support the work of community groups and causes and sing in places of special local interest.”
Announcing the plan on Facebook the trio said they were open to ideas. “If you know of a good place to sing, a local cause to support, a community group who could use us for an hour or anything else we can do in or near Grantham, Kendal, York, Edinburgh, Sheffield, Shrewsbury, Cardiff, London, Bridgwater, New Milton, Bristol, Salisbury, Canterbury, East Suffolk, Warwick, Liverpool, Durham or Cockermouth give us a shout - we'd love to hear from you.”
Stockton Folk Club’s star graduates have proved themselves a unique proposition - writing and performing a capella or subtly accompanied songs that tell it how it is alongside traditional songs from their native North-East and further afield - songs of conscience, songs of warmth and wit, songs to provoke, songs to inspire.
In 2015 - a year crowned with their Best Group win at the BBC Radio 2 Folk Awards - they performed an incredible 116 gigs in nine countries as well as hosting 20 school projects, three singing weekends and working with Aldeburgh Young Musicians. Renowned for their pitch perfect harmonies and rapid fire humour, their live show undeniably has the human touch.
Patrons of Suffolk’s fast growing FolkEast festival, the trio will be reaching audiences old and new on the April tour, kicking off at Grantham’s Guildhall Arts Centre in Lincolnshire on April 13 and ending at The Kirkgate in Cockermouth, Cumbria on May Day. As well as the shows in Scotland and Wales the tour will take in 11 English counties.
Item Added 3/2/16
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 Kansas, USA, on Wednesday, February 17, 2016.
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 American Folklife Center and folk luminiaries as song collector Alan Lomax is a great honour.”
Item added 14/01/2016
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