The weekend runs from approx 4pm Friday to 6pm Sunday (plus a survivors session on Sunday night for those who are able).

Activities include lectures and big group sings alongside more intimate workshops of around 10 people. There is also opportunity for smaller group song surgeries and 1-1 sessions. A great mix of watching, listening, singing, thinking and talking ensures there’s something for everyone and hopefully each and every person will develop their thinking and practice during their time here.

Below are descriptions of the events which you need to chose between for the booking form. Depending on how everything pans out these are subject to change and other events may be added. We always have your best interests at heart though so you can rest assured there will be some amazing stuff going on.

Making an Impact : Jon Boden

Singing in a noisy pub environment can be a challenge. Jon looks at a variety of techniques and tricks-of-the-trade to help give your performance impact when the audience are less captive than you would like. The workshop will also consider how the traditional voice can be effectively altered to match different contexts – from the stage to the pub, from the campfire to the webcam.

The style is the song : John Kirkpatrick

Why is it important to refer to the recordings of traditional singers? How does style relate to content? John will illustrate why aural sources are central to the art of traditional singing and discuss the contribution style makes to song performance as a whole.

The Same only Different: Variation in Folksong Tunes : Julia Bishop

Similarities and differences between folksong tunes are often commented on but have not been very systematically identified since the pioneering work of American scholars such as Bronson and Bayard 60 years ago. Drawing on examples, this session will consider ways we perceive and talk about tune variation, sources and tools for studying it, and what we can learn about the history of tunes and the way in which they have been sung over the years and in different places. Although there will be reference to music notation, the ability to read music is not essential to participation in the session.

Making Traditional Songs : Paul and Liz Davenport

Folk and traditional songs have inbuilt qualities that help to ensure they survive through the ages. What are they? Paul and Liz share their insights on what goes into the making of a traditional song to help singers and listeners to appreciate, perform and even add to an evolving repertoire of great material.

The Songs of Robbie Burns : Hamish Mathison

The great Scottish poet Robert Burns collected, revised and wrote songs throughout his life (1759-1796). But he was no ingenue: well versed in the cutting edge thought of his time, his popular and even his bawdy and erotic verses engaged with pressing contemporary concerns. The Scottish philosopher Adam Smith once wrote that ‘the great pleasure of conversation and society … arises … from a certain harmony of minds, which like so many musical instuments coincide and keep time with one another.’ We will take that thought as a starting point as we examine some of the most popular (and some of the most rude) songs written in Scotland at the time, songs that are sung to this day.Traditional Style, the

Deconstructing the ‘folk voice’ : Jon Boden

The folk voice. What is it? Is it a good thing? Where does it come from? How is it evolving in the 21st century? These and many other issues will be considered through discussion and practical examples.

Student Singer & the Folk industry : Sandra Kerr

Notions of authenticity are of particular relevance to student singers on the degree course in Folk and Traditional Music at NewcastleUniversity. They are encouraged to listen to, analyse and to emulate source singers (the Stewarts of Blairgowrie, Jeannie Robertson , Margaret Barry et al) even when what they hear may be at odds with what is deemed desirable in a singer within the context of the ‘folk industry’. Sandra will look at the work of the student singer in examining and emulating the great song carriers of the past, examine what they meant by ‘authenticity’ ( e.g. ‘the coniach’), and ask whether those notions are still relevant, and how they may inform contemporary practice. There will be time for participants to explore some of the techniques used by traditional singers and for discussion.

Song Accompaniment : James Fagan

Whatever your instrument, singer and bouzouki/guitarist James shares his expertise on creating an imaginative accompaniment that lets the song shine through. Bring a song and you’ll get a chance to create, polish and perform an arrangement of it in the session.

Can’t sing, won’t sing : Jess Arrowsmith

Warming up, getting in tune, projection, confidence, enjoyment – all of these and more aimed at absolute beginners. Splendid Sheffield-based singer Jess has lots of techniques and exercises to build your skill and supportively show you that you really can get singing.

Singing for dancing : Rosie Davis and Janet Russell

As it says on the packet…and more. From social set dance to percussive step, the Gay Gordons, mountain squares, polskas and bourrees – superb dancer Rosie and expert Scots singer Janet will have you singing or dancing or both!

Joining in : Jess Arrowsmith

Would you like to be able to join in choruses but feel you lack the confidence and expertise? Jess will share some skills, from getting in tune with your neighbours to inventing your own simple harmonies, helping you to experience the joy of informal social singing.

Poor Murdered Women in the Ballad Tradition : Peta Webb

Peta Webb explores women’s roles in the ballads – often the victims of course, but not always! Peta plays tracks of traditional singers fromEngland,Scotland,Irelandand theUSAand discusses aspects of their style and content.

Modes : John Kirkpatrick

The modes are a collection of 7-note scale-forms which lend many of our traditional songs their emotional colour. Become acquainted with some of the familiar and exotic sounds they offer, and hear John Kirkpatrick’s expert take on recognising, singing and composing with them.

Solo singers’ stagecraft : James Fagan

Whether on the concert stage or at an informal gathering, good performance technique will help your song get the reception it deserves. Bring a song to share – James will give practical advice and supportive feedback to singers of all levels of experience.

Page to performance : Paul and Liz Davenport

What happens to a song from first meeting it upon the page to finally having it ready to “sing out”? Paul and Liz discuss the process, the problems and the ways a singer can negotiate the continuum that links the printed and oral traditions.

Telling the story : Martin Carthy

Martin will invite people to share a song with the group and discuss the narrative of the song and ways to use expression to get the story across. Have you ever fancied having a go at the “big ballads” but worried that you couldn’t pull it off? Do you worry that the audience’s attention is waning after the 15th verse? Dr Carthy MBE can prescribe a cure.

Making a song your own : Fay Hield

Spend some time picking a song apart through both its words and tone to really get inside it and give it your own interpretation. We will work on a piece together but you might also want to bring an idea of a song you are having trouble getting to grips with.

Songs of our Industrial Heritage : Tegwen Roberts

In collaboration with the East Peak Innovation Partnership’s Industrial Heritage Support Programme, we present a singaround and discussion led by a local expert in the field, focusing on the region’s industrial heritage and its songs and folk traditions. Bring along a song from where you come from to share, or come along and learn about the Sheffield and East Peak area.

Rhythm – right and wrong? : John Kirkpatrick

The “Bing Crosby Effect.” A great singer, but he set in motion a way of playing with the rhythm of singing that can be inappropriate for the performance of traditional songs – discuss! John will help to deconstruct traditional and contemporary singers’ approaches to rhythm, and look at techniques to improve your own delivery.

How singing works : Peter Taylor

Whilst primarily classically trained, Baritone Peter Taylor is pleased to teach a variety of styles, believing that all successful singers require the same basics of technique. His teaching is strongly based on an understanding of Vocal Physiology and technique combined with good musicianship. Whether wishing to improve your voice for your involvement in professional or amateur performance, or just wanting to sing for your own pleasure, Peter’s explanations of the solid technical aspects of voice production offer a path to success tailored to your individual needs.

Complex Rhythms : Nancy Kerr

Nancy looks at the common incidence of irregular or complex time signatures and ‘Parlando Rubato” (free pulse) in the folk traditions of a number of cultures, and uses examples from her music therapy practice to discuss their application in health and community music settings as well as for the listener and performer.

The Death of Queen Jane: Ballad, History, and Propaganda : Alastair Vannan

Two main ballad traditions survive relating to the death of Jane Seymour, the third wife of Henry VIII. One strand of this tradition comprises formally composed verse and the second consists of vernacular ballads that developed through oral tradition. One of the most common themes within these ballads is the suggestion that a caesarean section was employed after a difficult labour, and that this contributed to Jane’s death. There has been a great deal of historical debate and confusion surrounding the circumstances of Jane’s death, which has long been infused with political bias, and the ballads were also influenced by contemporary opinion and ideology. This lecture examines how investigating the historical context of the songs can allow us to gain a fuller understanding of their meaning and the origins of the views that were expressed. It also explores how these songs can provide insights into attitudes and opinions in the past, and how they may have been used as vehicles to influence the views of others.

Any Questions: Sandra Kerr & John Kirkpatrick

Two highly respected and not-very-shy folk practitioners debate the hot topics of the day, chaired (or held back with a lion tamer’s chair) by Fay Hield. Bring a subject/query/observation/opinion for dissection and discussion – no holds barred, the more contentious the better!

Song Surgeries : Various

A chance for a consultation with your practitioner of choice: sing in a small group and receive some detailed constructive advice.

Troubleshooting Masterclass : Peter Taylor

With over nine years’ teaching experience Peter has developed a speciality in musical theatre training and still regularly works training classical vocalists. Peter specialises in promoting an understanding of how the voice works and this is your chance for an intimate masterclass aimed at helping solve specific vocal technique problems.

Songsmithery : Martin Carthy

Using examples from his expansive repertoire, Martin will discuss how he goes about adapting songs for performance. Martin has been one of the most prolific ‘editors’ of traditional song and his impact on the revival repertoire is immense. This lecture is a chance to learn about the process behind it all.

Share a song : Paul and Liz Davenport

An informal singaround and chat to get things going – ballads and gentle songs are welcome in an atmosphere designed both for joining in and listening.

Blow the Cobwebs Away : Fay Hield and Jon Boden

Big voices and big choruses at the pub to get the energy flowing.

Rolling groups : Sandra, John, Nancy

Three tutors lead three rolling workshops to warm up the voice and teach a variety of songs.

Politics and song : Sisters Unlimited

The sisters lead you in raising your voices – songs of struggle and songs to stir the spirit.

Right Royal singaround : Jess and Richard Arrowsmith

Jess and Rich will informally oversee this sharing so don’t be shy – lead off or join in on the choruses.

Ballad session : Various

Big ballads, broadsides, story songs, stories or whatever you think fits the bill.

Question Time : Various

Over to you: burning issues on the tradition, teaching, pop culture, politics, collectors, technique, repertoire, national identity or anything you fancy. Fay Hield will facilitate and encourage some ripe debate amongst our panellists.

Shanties session : Tegwen Roberts

Tegwen has a particular affection for and affinity with the songs of the sea. Jump in and join her.

Goodbye sing : Nancy Kerr

A final group song or two for those who want to sing farewell.

Free sessions : you!

Room 2 at The Plough

is available each day from 1-2.30 for any kind of session you might want to run yourself or be involved with that you can’t find in the timetable. There will be a message board at the village hall, so post any ideas there and check for developments…

Survivor’s session