English Folk Dance and Song Society awards funding for new music

Creative Bursary

Seven projects will create new music rooted in the English folk tradition following the latest round of funding awards by England’s national development agency for the folk arts.

The English Folk Dance and Song Society (EFDSS) has made four awards under its 2017 Creative Bursary scheme and three through its Creative Seed Funding programme.

Both initiatives are funded through the PRS for Music Foundation Talent Development Partner scheme. They come under the umbrella of EFDSS’ Artists’ Development Programme, which provides professional development support, both creative and business, to artists at all levels of their career.

Katy Spicer, EFDSS Chief Executive and Artistic Director, said: “All the successful applications are rooted in the folk arts but will bring a fresh take on their subject matter.

“By its very nature, folk music has always evolved and reflected the issues of its generation and these awards will help to develop some very innovative and relevant proposals. We look forward to supporting and working with the artists as their ideas take shape.

“Our bursary and funding schemes are designed to kickstart projects, giving the recipients time to bring their ideas to life. A great example is Sam Sweeney’s Made in the Great War music and storytelling project which began thanks to an EFDSS Creative Bursary.”

The Creative Bursary scheme invited applications from more established artists for an award of up to £2,000 to support creative research and development, together with use of rehearsal space at Cecil Sharp House and access to the Vaughan Williams Memorial Library. They have been made to:

·       Alex Vann (Spiro) to create an instrumental concert trio using traditional English tunes as the basis for improvisation where each performance is one piece of improvised music using traditional tunes as the cornerstones

·       Tom Moore and Archie Churchill-Moss (Moore Moss Rutter) to develop and produce an album of new art-music based compositions and devised improvisations with their roots in local English folk tune traditions

·       Alma (John Dipper, Emily Askew & Adrian Lever) and Nick Hennessey to devise a new multi media experience including lighting, data projectors and other technology to enhance the performance and build bridges between inherited traditions and modern media experiences

·       Fiddler Rowan Piggott to explore traditional and contemporary folk songs highlighting the decline and environmental threats to our native honeybee and bumblebees.

The Creative Seed Funding Programme was open to emerging artists and involves a £750 bursary to research and develop new work linked to the English folk arts. The awards have been made to:

·       Emily Mae Winters to research, record and tour new songs dealing with modern socio-political issues including the movement of people, feminism, fake news, global warming, war and social media

·       Heg Brignall (Heg & The Wolf Chorus) to research new material based on modern day myths or myths and legends that have found their way back into our culture, leading to a single/EP release and finished studio album in 2018

·       India Electric Company to research, write, record and release the second in a series of releases for 2017 with the theme of country and the city on a six track EP/album.

More information: https://www.efdss.org

EFDSS announce marathon autumn program at Cecil Sharp House

EFDSS

Mike McGoldrick, John McCusker and John Doyle
Thursday 21 September, 7.30pm
£18 | £10 under 26s

John Doyle, John McCusker and Mike McGoldrick first crossed paths as teenagers. A quarter of a century later, the fired-up folk live-wires are set to celebrate their musical kinship, with their first studio album, The Wishing Tree. A thrilling trip through traditional, contemporary and original jigs, reels, ballads and more, it sees them branch out musically, while tracing the roots of their tunes, and of their friendship.

Trad Night – Jim Causley
Wednesday 27 September, £10

Traditional song – entertaining, rewarding, and often overlooked as an essential part of our history and culture. EFDSS is delighted to announce a new programme of concerts featuring the songs that have been loved, sung and shared for generations. Tales of love and lust, incest and murder, humour and tragedy, sung by talented contemporary performers of the tradition.

Trad Nights will take place in our most compact performance venue, Storrow, creating a truly intimate environment for the audience of no more than fifty fans of traditional, unamplified folk music.

Jim Causley celebrates over a decade as an acclaimed solo artist and performer with his latest studio album Forgotten Kingdom, his first album of entirely self-penned material. A broad collection of songs inspired by his native West Country, Jim mixes ancient history with his own personal history and experience of the world.

Since the release of his debut album in 2005, Causley’s unique voice and persona have helped him become one of the most well-loved and respected figures of today’s contemporary roots and folk music scene.

Martin and Eliza Carthy with support from The Drystones

Saturday 30 September, 7.30pm
£20 | £10 under 26s

The good Doctor Martin Carthy and his twice Mercury nominated daughter Eliza Carthy, join forces to perform songs from their first duo album ever, a CD of traditional material entitled The Elephant, which was released in May 2014 on Topic Records.

The Drystones are two twenty-one year olds from Somerset playing a lively mix of their own interpretations of traditional folk tunes and original compositions. Very accomplished on violin, guitar and whistle, they were Steve Lamacq’s “recommendation of the day” at Glastonbury Festival 2013. For just two people they make a lot of sound!

Kings of the South Seas
Wednesday 4 October, 7.30pm
£14 | £10 under 26s

In 1845, Captain Sir John Franklin departed on his ill-fated voyage in search of the North-West Passage. Within just the last few years, his HMS Erebus and Terror have been discovered at the bottom of the icy seas off Northern Canada. With the ‘Franklin’ album, Kings of The South Seas will bring to life the traditional and written music left by these events and their cultural fallout; from Canadian Voyageur paddling songs, English folk ballads and songs composed on-board ice-bound wintering ships to Victorian parlour pieces.

Tunes of the Munster Pipers

Thursday 5 October, 7.30pm

This performance tells the story of Canon James Goodman and the journey of this collection to the 21st century. Combining spoken word, curated imagery, and live musical performance, come and learn of the life and times of Canon Goodman, and the musical landscape of 19th century southwest Ireland.

Germa Adan
Wednesday 11 October, 7.30pm
£12 | £10 under 26s

Germa Adan writes and performs music that draws inspiration from Haitian, American & British folk music. She was recently awarded EFDSS Creative Seed Funding to write and arrange songs that explore narratives of the diasporic life.

Young Waters
Wednesday 18 October, 7.30pm
£12 | £10 under 26s

Young Waters’ twisted neo-folk is a tapestry of emotionally powerful vocals, stirring harmonies, lyrical violin solos and finely mastered acoustic guitar. Their combination of startling original material and traditional folk songs makes for a captivating stage presence.

Happy Traum: Coming of Age in the Greenwich Village Folk Revival and the Woodstock Scene (1954 – 1971)

Thursday 19 October, 7.30pm
£16 | £10 under 26s

With colourful anecdotes and incisive memories, and the aid of vintage photos and music clips, Happy Traum relates some of his adventures as an active member of the New York folk revival, and his friendships with some of the leading folk artists of the day, including Bob Dylan and Brownie McGhee. Happy punctuates his remembrances with powerful renditions of songs and guitar solos from the “folk era” and beyond.

Trad Night – Laura Smyth & Ted Kemp
Wednesday 25 October, 7.30pm, £10

Laura and Ted take a no-nonsense approach to traditional English folk song, taking their cues from revival singers such as Frankie Armstrong, Peter Bellamy and the Watersons. With repertoire drawn from their homes in the North West and East Anglia, expect strong vocals, tight harmonies and unfussy arrangements of songs sung with passion.

Pagoda Project
Wednesday 1 November, 7.30pm
£14 | £10 under 26s

Paul Hutchinson, also known for Belshazzar’s Feast, and Karen Wimhurst, previously a member of the Cauld Blast Orchestra, have a wealth of musical experience in a diverse range of genres from classical to folk.

Tales & Tunes: Kathryn Tickell & David Almond with Amy Thatcher

Thursday 2 November, 7.30pm
£18 | £10 under 26s

These artists’ work grows from the landscape, language, history and strange beauty of the north. With the drive of David’s storytelling and Kathryn’s love of the traditions of her native Northumbria, the poetic power of language and music combine.

On stage Kathryn and David are joined by accordionist and clog dancer Amy Thatcher to bring you a memorable evening of stories, songs and, of course, irrepressible music. If you enjoyed Kathryn’s “Northumbrian Voices” this is an unmissable show for you!

Tilston and Lowe
Wednesday 8 November, 7.30pm
£14 | £10 under 26s

Steve Tilston and Jez Lowe, two of the UK acoustic/folk scene’s finest songwriters join forces for a concert filled with songs and music, chat and banter and intimate insights into their approach to their craft. Listen in as they rekindle the spontaneity of their late-night living-room song swaps.

 

An Evening with the Seeger MacColl Family
Thursday 16 November, 7.30pm
£18 | £10 under 26s

The Seeger MacColl family are one of folk music’s most loved dynasties. Singer, songwriter and feminist icon Peggy Seeger performs with Neill and Calum, her sons with Ewan MacColl.

Peggy long-awaited memoir, ‘First Time Ever’ will be published in October. To celebrate, Peggy, Neill and Calum will be touring a special related show in which she’ll mix extracts from the book with the songs that have meant the most to her over the years. Expect anecdotes from her long and remarkable career together with performances songs new and old.

The Stray Birds
Saturday 18 November, 7.30pm
£15 | £10 under 26s

The Stray Birds started as a duo of acoustic buskers when Maya de Vitry and Oliver Craven met with their instruments, their voices, and their songs. It didn’t take much convincing to get bassist Charlie Muench on board, and with the addition of a third unique and powerful voice, the group began to define its captivating sound. Since taking America by storm in 2013 they have gone on to win a huge fan base following appearances at big festivals around the world.

Trad Night – Thomas McCarthy
Wednesday 22 November, 7.30pm, £10

Thomas McCarthy is a man steeped in the tradition of Irish song, intoxicated by the music and passionate in his sensitivity towards them. He comes from a considerable dynasty of traditional singers, song-makers and musicians, and grew up surrounded by the singing of his late mother, her father and aunts and uncles. Having spent his life learning the songs of his family, in 2008 Thomas sang publicly for the first time at the folk club at Cecil Sharp House. By the following year, he had sung at the most prominent folk festivals and clubs in Ireland and England and had appeared on BBC radio.

Sam Kelly and the Lost Boys
Wednesday 29 November, 7.30pm
£14 | £10 under 26s

Sam is one of the most exciting young prospects in the folk scene, having gained a reputation for an incredibly high class and dynamic live show.

Coming from a family largely made up of Norfolk dairy farmers has left Sam with an unmatched experience of singing in front of hurtfully disinterested Friesians, and his meandering musical journey has ranged from reaching the final of ITV’s Britain’s Got Talent as a teenager, to being selected for the first ever EFDSS Artist Development Scheme. Whether playing to 13 million people on prime-time television, or to 10 people in a tiny pub, Sam’s child-like fascination with music shines through.

Jess Morgan & Kitty Macfarlane
Wednesday 6 December, 7.30pm
£12 | £10 under 26s

Jess Morgan is a songwriter’s songwriter. Her performance is a tumbler of unfancied folk-roots music, with heart, passion and gusto.

Kitty Macfarlane’s songs are charged with a sense of place – more often than not her home county of Somerset – and her lyrics combine honest snapshots of everyday humanity with much bigger questions.

India Electric Co
Wednesday 13 December, 7.30pm
£12 | £10 under 26s

Sometimes folk, sometimes not. India Electric Company use traditional instruments in contemporary styles to explore diverse themes from Eastern Europe, Irish traditions and urban alienation to end up with something “quirky and glittery – a veritable musical magpie’s nest” (Mary Ann Kennedy, BBC Radio 3).

Belshazzar’s Feast

Thursday 14 December, 7.30pm
£15 | £10 youth

On tour with a Christmas-themed show that mixes traditional folk music, seasonal material, added to their usual touch of classical and jazz, with a bit of pop and music hall, all topped off with lashings of wry humour.  Paul Sartin (of Bellowhead and Faustus) and Paul Hutchinson (of Hoover The Dog) together wow audiences across the UK with their eclectic and eccentric mix of tunes and between songs chat that always sends audiences home with smiles on their faces.

Festive Gathering
Sunday 17 December, 7.30pm
£15 | £10 under 26s

Join for us our ever-popular, annual celebration of yuletide, with a chance to join in on the songs and merriment.

Cecil Sharp House Choir, led by Sally Davies, will perform joyful a cappella arrangements of traditional, seasonal songs, carols and wassails from the British Isles and beyond, sung in glorious harmony.  Folk dancers, singers and musicians will fill Kennedy Hall – the main space at Cecil Sharp House – with seasonal cheer.

For bookings go to: cecilsharphouse.org/csh-whats-on

The English Folk Dance and Song Society announces its autumn education programme

Education

The English Folk Dance and Song Society (EFDSS) has unveiled its programme of activities for the autumn season (September to December) at Cecil Sharp House in London.

Activities on offer include classes, courses and workshops based on traditional English folk arts for children, young people, adults and families.

Highlights of the season are:

·      The chance to try a sampler session for the London Youth Folk Ensemble on September 17

·      An Introduction to Folk Song in England workshop on November 19

·      October half term folk music making and dance courses for children and young people

·      A youth ceilidh for 12 to 19-year-olds on November 12

·      A chance to dance the night away and see in the New Year with a ceilidh on December 31

·      Regular music and dance classes, catering for all ages and skill levels

Cecil Sharp House, England’s national folk arts centre and home of EFDSS, is located between Camden and Primrose Hill within easy reach of public transport. It has step free access to all levels.

A full list of classes and courses at Cecil Sharp House can be found at: http://www.cecilsharphouse.org/csh-whats-on

Children & Young People

For more information about all the summer holiday courses and booking: https://www.cecilsharphouse.org/csh-learning/holiday-courses-cecil-sharp-house

Fun With Folk

A lively day of folk dance, music and song for 6 – 8 year olds
Monday 23 Oct, 10.30am – 4pm
Course fee: £30 | £20 concessions (advance booking required)

Enjoy a lively day exploring folk dance, music and song.  The course ends with a chance to perform your new skills to family and friends.  No previous experience of folk dance or music required.

Get Your Folk On! Juniors

An exciting introduction to all things folk for 9 – 12 year olds
24 October, 10.30am – 4.30pm
Course fee: £30 | £20 concessions (advance booking required)

Musicians of all instruments and levels are welcome to come and enjoy playing, singing, dancing and creating fantastic folk music. The course ends with a chance to perform your new skills to family and friends. No previous experience of folk music or dance needed.

Get Your Folk On!

A creative folk course for 12 – 19 year olds
25 – 27 October, 10.30am – 4.30pm
Course fee: £90 | £60 concessions (advance booking required)

Explore traditional folk music and dance from the British Isles with inspiring professional folk musicians.  Choose your sessions, with options to try new skills and instruments, learn and arrange tunes, songs or dances and much more. The course ends with an informal concert for family and friends. No previous experience of folk dance or music required.

Get Your Folk On! Plus

A creative folk workshop for disabled 12 – 24 year olds, their siblings and friends
26 October 2pm – 4pm
Course fee: £12 | £8 concessions (advance booking required)

Explore and create folk music and song together in an inclusive, sensory environment. All abilities and levels of experience welcome. No prior experience of playing music required.

London Youth Folk Ensemble Sampler Session

Sunday September 17, 2 – 5pm
Free but pre-booking necessary, as places are limited

If you are interested in joining the London Youth Folk Ensemble come to the sampler session, the first of the year. Meet the tutors, learn some tunes, and find out more about the coming year’s plans and events.

London Youth Folk Ensemble 2017 – 18

Various Sundays 2 – 5pm (17 weeks including Sampler Session)
For 12 – 19 year olds
For more details visit: cecilsharphouse.org/lyfe

Welcoming young musicians who want to create and perform amazing folk music together! The Ensemble meets regularly from September to July, led by professional folk musicians, and performs at exciting events across London and beyond. Open for improver to advanced level musicians of any instrument. London Youth Folk Ensemble is an annual commitment, for which there is a fee.

Youth Forum

For 14-21 year olds (disabled young people up to 24 years old)
Various Wednesdays 5 – 7pm

Are you passionate about the folk arts? Join us and get your voice heard at EFDSS and Cecil Sharp House!  Gain experience in producing and marketing youth events, meet folk artists, attend gigs and tell us what you think.  The Youth Forum meets monthly at Cecil Sharp House.

Membership of the Youth Forum is free but places are limited. Apply to join at: efdss.org/youthforum

Youth Ceilidh

Sunday 12 Nov, 6–8pm
For 12–19 year olds
Tickets: £6

Dance your socks off to some energetic English ceilidh music with musicians Nick Hart and Dave Delarre and caller Gwennie Chatfield. Come with your friends or on your own. Suitable for all levels of experience as a caller will show you the moves and the dances will be walked through. Refreshments available.

Family

Family Barn Dance

Sundays 8 Oct | 12 Nov | 10 Dec, 3-5pm
Tickets: £7 adult | £5 children | £2 for under 2s

Bring the entire family and take part in lively dances from the British Isles in a supportive and fun environment! Live music inspires the dancing and expert callers guide the moves with simple instructions.

Groups should include a minimum of one adult for every four children. Children under 5 should be partnered by an adult and may need guiding or carrying through the dances. No unaccompanied children or adults!

Advance booking recommended.

Dance

New Year’s Eve Ceilidh

Sunday 31 December, 8pm – 1am
£30 | £20 under 26s (tickets available in advance only)

Dance away the old year and welcome in 2018 to the irresistible sounds and lively dances of an English ceilidh! With driving music from the Will Pound Band, caller Sheena Masson will show you the moves as the dances are walked through and called. Come with your friends or on your own—suitable for all levels of experience. Recommended for everyone over 10 years (not suitable for young children). Bar open and refreshments available.

Classes, Courses & Workshops

Monday Folk Choir Workshops

Mondays 18 Sept | 2, 16 Oct | 6, 20 Nov | 4 Dec, 7 – 9pm
Term fee: £60 | £48 concessions
(advance booking required)

Explore choral folk song arrangements in a relaxed and friendly environment. These 6 sessions are suitable for singers of all abilities, without the pressure and commitment of public performance. All material is taught by ear.

Morris Dancing

Tuesdays 19 Sept – 12 Dec
Beginners: 6.30 – 8pm
Improvers and advanced: 7 – 9pm
Term fee: £91 | £71.50 concessions (advance booking required)
Carnet of 8 tickets: £60 | £48 concessions (advance booking required)
Drop-in: £8 | £6.50 concessions (payable on the night)

This mixed level class is based on the popular and lively Cotswold morris tradition, in which dancers perform with handkerchiefs and sticks. Led by tutor Andy Richards.

Please note: these classes are designed to overlap. This allows beginners to be taught on their own first, and then learn from more experienced dancers in a mixed session from 7 – 8pm

Cecil Sharp House Choir

Wednesdays 20 Sept – 13 Dec (no session 25 Oct), 7- 9pm
Term fee: £82 | £66 concessions (advance booking required)
Sing traditional songs from the British Isles and beyond, in a cappella harmony arrangements, by choir leader Sally Davies. For confident singers, who can hold a tune and are keen to perform.

English Country Dancing

Thursdays 14 Sept – 14 Dec, 7.30-10pm
Term fee: £98 | £77 concessions (advance booking required)
Carnet of 8 tickets: £60 | £48 concessions (advance booking required)
Drop-in: £8 | £6.50 concessions (payable on the night)

Learn the steps for English social folk dancing with tutor and caller Mike Ruff – country, ceilidh and barn dancing – and related styles from further afield such as American Contra. Musicians welcome to join the live band led by Ian Cutts. No need to bring a partner and open to dancers of all levels of experience including absolute beginners!

Saturday Folk Music Workshops

9, 23, 30 Sept | 14, 21 Oct | 4, 18 Nov | 2, 16 Dec, (the course continues Jan – April 2018); times vary depending on workshop
Term fee per workshop: £131 | £90 concessions (9 week term, advance booking required)

Discover your inner folk! Fun, welcoming and expertly taught workshops at different levels in accordion, banjo, fiddle, guitar, melodeon, penny whistle and mixed instrument classes, led by our team of expert folk artist tutors including Hazel Askew, David Delarre, Beth Gifford, Ed Hicks, Paul Hutchinson, Jacquelyn Hines and Laurel Swift.

An Introduction to Folk Song in England

Sun 19 Nov, 10.30am – 4.30pm
£45 / £36 concessions

Internationally published folklorist Steve Roud presents with Laura Smyth, EFDSS’ Library and Archive Director, this popular introductory level day exploring the history of English folk song. Topics will include: the many possible definitions of ‘folk’, the songs themselves, the singers, the places and times for singing, the music, cheap printed broadsides and other sources from which people learned songs, the folksong collectors, the scholars and the beginnings of the post-War revival. The course is aimed at beginners and will not presume any previous experience or knowledge.

Conferences

Traditional Tunes and Popular Airs: History and Transmission

Friday 6 – Saturday 7 October, 9am–5pm, £45 full weekend | £30 one day

Researchers have long been fascinated by the recurrence of tunes in all manner of musical styles and genres, performance contexts, levels of society, historical periods, and geographical locations. But how are we to understand this phenomenon?

The 21st century has seen a renewal of interest in the history and comparative study of melody, and the study of musical perception and memory. This conference brings together those working on ‘traditional’ and ‘popular’ tunes across multiple contexts. Topics include: tunebooks ; composers, arrangers and collectors ; song tunes in performance ; melodic traditions ; dance tunes, and much more.

Art

Kissing the Shuttle by Caitlin Hinshelwood

27 September 2017 – 28 January 2018

An exhibition of new large-scale textile banners created in response to research from the Vaughan Williams Memorial Library, the Working Class Movement Library and the People’s History Museum.

The work explores the qualities of protest and resistance present in working and industrial song and union and protest banners, as well as drawing on the folk practices, sense of community and forms of communication that come from work and the work place.

Imagery touches upon the use of gestures, signs, symbolism, speech ways, and customs performed primarily in the textile trades and industries of the North West and Northern Ireland, alongside folk traditions that came directly from the mills or were closely connected to those communities.

The banners are screen-printed on silk using embellishments of rosettes, ribbons, ruffles and fringing, adopting the visual language and craftsmanship of historic banners and associated folk costumes.

Caitlin Hinshelwood is a London based artist and textile designer interested in the narrative possibilities of textiles; how textiles can be used to communicate and how they act as repositories of personal or social history.

Entry: Free during opening times of the building

Booking information:

Advance booking is generally required for courses and workshops. Please visit www.cecilsharphouse.org to pay and enrol. (There are no transaction fees for classes and courses).

To pay for drop-in classes, pay the tutor cash on the night.

Tickets for events can be purchased from the reception desk at Cecil Sharp House (in person only), Monday – Friday, 9.30 – 5.30pm, with no transaction fee.

Adult Learning

Unless stated otherwise, classes are open to everyone over the age of 16 years. Advance booking is required for some courses and drop-in is possible for others – please check the details against each relevant course.

Youth

All youth courses must be booked in advance. Concessions are available to young people in receipt of free school meals.

Refund policy

All EFDSS courses are non-refundable unless the course is cancelled by EFDSS.

Concessionary Policy

You may apply for the concessionary fee for any EFDSS classes and courses if you are:

In full-time education
In receipt of Job Seekers Allowance
In receipt of Income-Based Benefit (including Income Support, Housing or Council Tax Benefit, Working Tax Credit, Pension Credit)

EFDSS launches Musicians In Museums scheme

MuseumsApplications are open for first artist residency

A new project to explore and celebrate the collections at three national museums and bring them to life through traditional music has been unveiled by the English Folk Dance and Song Society (EFDSS).

EFDSS, the national development agency for the folk arts, has opened applications for the first in the series of its Connections project that will place musicians in the National Coal Mining Museum for England near Wakefield in West Yorkshire, the National Maritime Museum in Greenwich, London, and the Museum of English Rural Life in Reading, Berkshire, for 12-month residencies.

Artists will receive a £5,000 bursary to develop new music inspired by the museum’s collections and deliver outreach activities to engage people with the museums and folk music. The scheme will run for two years and is being funded by Help Musicians UK.

The first residency with the National Coal Mining Museum will start in autumn 2017 and applications are open at www.efdss.org/efdss-artists-development/musicians-in-museums.

Residencies with the National Maritime Museum and the Museum of English Rural Life will be advertised in September for a January 2018 start.

Katy Spicer, EFDSS Chief Executive and Artistic Director, said: “This is an exciting creative and learning opportunity for six musicians over the next two years. We are inviting applications from musicians who are currently working in the traditional folk sector and have a strong knowledge of traditional English songs and tunes.

“They will explore the creative links between the tangible culture and history of their museum’s collections and artefacts and the intangible culture and history of folk songs and tunes.

“We are looking for imaginative musicians with excellent creative and teaching skills who can demonstrate a passion for the project and innovative ways to engage new audiences.”

More information and how to apply:

One artist will be appointed per museum per year and offered a bursary of £5,000 to provide funding for:

·       research and creative time over a year including an agreed number of contact days with the host museum

·       devising and delivering 10 days of learning programme

·       devising and writing learning resources to accompany the learning programme to be used be used by EFDSS and the host museum

·       creating 15 to 20 minutes of new music (song and/or instrumental)

·       one public performance at the end of the residency at the host museum.  A further performance at EFDSS’ performance and music venue, Cecil Sharp House in London, may also be arranged.

There is also a travel and accommodation allowance of £500. The museum may arrange with the artist, and pay for directly, additional teaching days within reason.

Applications are now open for the residency with the National Coal Mining Museum in Wakefield. The closing date is July 31. Interviews will be held at the museum on September 12 and 13.

For more information on the Connections – Musicians in Museums programme and to apply go to: www.efdss.org/efdss-artists-development/musicians-in-museums.

 

Recipients of the Malcolm Taylor grant for Folk Collections announced

Malcolm Taylor

The English Folk Dance and Song Society (EFDSS) has announced two recipients of the inaugural Malcolm Taylor Grant for Folk Collections.

The awards have been made to celebrate the work of Malcolm Taylor, who was Librarian and later Director of the Vaughan Williams Memorial Library (VWML) from 1979 to 2014.

The fund was established to support the development of small folk arts collections and archives, and to promote good practice in the creation and development of collections.

The 2016 awards have been made to filmmaker Stewart Morgan and collector John Earl.

Stewart is creating a production archive for the documentary film he created around George Butterworth. The archive consists of more than 12 hours of audio and video footage, featuring experts speaking about Butterworth’s life, work and the early 20th century folk song and dance revival and he will use his grant to purchase hardware to store and maintain the footage.

John has been awarded a grant to buy low acid boxes to store and preserve a collection of late 18th to early 19th century sheet music, comprised primarily of popular and music hall songs. Sharp and his contemporaries tended to pass these forms of music by when they were collecting, so this collection will allow a deeper exploration into the music enjoyed by communities of that period.

Laura Smyth, EFDSS Library and Archive Director, said: “Establishing a fund to support the development of small folk arts collections and archives seemed an appropriate way to mark Malcolm’s 35 years as director of the Vaughan Williams Memorial Library as he was passionate about helping such collectors and collections.

“The purpose of these grants is to promote good practice in creation and development of collections. Both of these awards are supporting projects that will preserve folk history for future generations to enjoy and learn from and Malcolm was involved in the decision making process of who should be selected for the inaugural grants.”

EFDSS will offer up to three grants annually of up to £300 for the development, creation and preservation of folk related materials held by individuals or small organisations. Grants can be used for anything from the purchase of archival quality packaging and remedial conservation work to courses and advice on organising, cataloguing, indexing, and preservation to best practice standards.

The 2017 round of grant awards will open for applications in March next year. Visit www.vwml.org/vwml-about-us/vwml-grants for more information.

Wren Music founders to receive national award for their contribution to folk music

Wilson Tucker - Wren Music

The founders of a charity that has encouraged literally hundreds of thousands of people to sing and play music are to receive English Folk Music’s highest accolade at a star-studded event in July.

Marilyn Tucker and Paul Wilson set up Wren Music in Okehampton, West Devon, 33 years ago, since when it has reached out to pretty much every city, town and village in the county. In fact, Wren has spread its wings further afield to touch communities in the wider South West – but Devon is and always has been its heartland and it’s where, on a participant session basis, it reaches 30,000 people each year.

Paul and Marilyn’s initial vision in 1983 was to form a small team of professional musicians to take music into communities. Since then it has grown to a team of 12 – seven in the permanent team and five who help out in a ‘pool’.

The work that Paul and Marilyn have done for English folk music at grass roots level has now received national recognition with a prestigious Gold Badge award from the English Folk Dance and Song Society (EFDSS), and they’ll be presented with the badge at a special event at the Cygnet Theatre in Exeter on 22 July.

The award also recognises their achievements as performers in their own right and their work in collecting old West Country folk songs, including the long-hidden Baring-Gould collection. Making these songs available has helped to keep traditional music very much alive and kicking in the far South West: visit a pub in rural Devon and the chances are you’ll hear some of the songs being sung.

When Paul and Marilyn collect their EFDSS Gold Badge from Eliza Carthy, they’ll be in good company. The list of Gold Badge recipients since the first two were presented in 1922 reads like a who’s who of folk. Three of them will be at the award ceremony: Eliza Carthy is presenting the award, Doc Rowe is reading the citation, and US folk legend Peggy Seeger, a patron of Wren, will be performing. Previous recipients include Maddy Prior, Ewan MacColl and Cecil Sharp.

Marilyn said she was “astounded” when she heard they were to receive the award: “Because of where we are, we can fall under the radar sometimes when it comes to coverage and also, with the sort of work we do, Paul and I aren’t exactly household names, we aren’t folk superstars. We’ve taken a radically different view of the work, engaging people in communities. To be recognised for that work by the national body for folk music and to be given their highest award is a huge honour.”

Paul agrees that it’s the recognition of the value of their work that means the most to him: “The award validates the work we do and that’s the most important thing to me. We were talking to Peggy [Seeger] after her brother Pete died, and she said to us: ‘You two are what Pete was all about. You’ve reached the community, which is what Pete did’. And that sums it up, I guess.

“What we’ve tried to do is to move the experience of music away from passive to active, so people aren’t just listening to music, they’re singing or playing music. We don’t have auditions for our choirs and orchestras; music is for everyone,” he added.

Peggy Seeger has known Paul and Marilyn for approaching 40 years and says the work they’ve done is unmatched anywhere in the UK: “As far as I know, there’s no-one else like them, doing what they’re doing in the community, to the extent that they’re doing it.

“Community is so important and folk music was formed as a community tradition. It has disappeared under the weight of movement away from rural communities and also under the weight of popular music. Paul and Marilyn have re-established it from grassroots up. They’ve used music to create community and they’ve used community to create music.”

Wren currently has 16 community choirs, orchestras and youth groups dotted all around Devon. When you speak to members about their stories, a theme emerges: everyone is welcome.

Penny Avant has been in Wren’s Exeter Voices in Common Choir for over 20 years and gets to their choir sessions as often as she can. This year, she took part in Wren’s ‘Her Story,’ a performance about the suffragette movement to mark International Women’s Day. Yet, says Penny: “I was one of those who was always told I couldn’t sing. So finding Wren was a revelation.

“Being treated as though I could sing and being praised for my singing was a whole new experience. As Paul and Marilyn say, we all can sing. There’s something about the inclusiveness in the way that they work. Anybody can go to the choir. I’ve never heard either of them say ‘no, we can’t have you’.”

Penny added: “Singing has liberated me. It’s fulfilling and fun, I love it. I’ve gone on about it so much that my younger daughter has just joined a choir where she lives in Cornwall!”

For John Harle, joining the Folk Orchestra of Torbay in 2009 was a big step to take: “I got involved because I was recovering from depression and anxiety and I wanted to take up a hobby. This was completely new for me, my first connection with playing music since I left school. But my wife Tanya and her mum were singing in Wren’s Torbay choir at the time so I thought I’d give it a go.

“They said there were no auditions so there was no fear of not making the cut, so to speak. The first thing they did was give me a mandolin to play and I’ve been involved ever since.”

John and Tanya’s six-year-old son Christopher is the latest member of the family to take up music: “He’s been singing Wren songs since he was very little and he’s got his first guitar and mandolin. When you think about it, this is what traditional music has always been about, passing it on through generations.”

With a team of young professional singers and musicians taking on board much of the responsibility for Wren’s community groups as well as the work in schools and the annual Baring-Gould Folk Weekend and Song School, Paul and Marilyn are looking to do more of their own gigs again. Before setting up Wren they were in-demand performers and can claim to have played on every stage at the Southbank.

So does this mean it’s ‘mission accomplished’ when it comes to their Wren work? “I couldn’t say we’ll ever reach that point,” said Paul. “There are still so many things we want to do, it’s just finding the time to do it all! People in other parts of the country have said to us ‘can we have a Wren in our county please?’ which is great and we’re more than happy to offer advice on good practice,” he added.

On the day of this interview with Marilyn and Paul at Wren’s Devon HQ, they were, as ever, discussing several different projects and ideas – including further stage performances for their community groups and an exciting new link-up with Trinity College, London, to run a Certificate of Music Education course starting later this year.

On 22 July, they’ll actually be able to relax and enjoy a show being put on for them: “It’s going to be a lovely evening and we’re looking forward to seeing everyone,” said Marilyn. “It’ll be more than just a concert, it’ll be a celebration.”

The EFDSS Gold Badge award evening is a ticketed event – contact Wren Music for information.

Websites: www.wrenmusic.co.uk   www.marilynandpaul.com