NEWS October 6 2015

We've had a fantastic summer - singing through Borrowdale, in the Little Langdale and Rydal caves, with the Singing Cyclists from Whitehaven to Whitby Street Choirs festival, on a tour through Slovenia - and a week of singing on the Scottish island of Jura. Our own local choirs have all started again and you are very welcome to join us - come for the first session to see if you like us, with no obligation to join  - Lakeland Voices in Kendal on Tuesdays, Kendal CancerCare choir on Wednesdays, and the Penrith Community Choir on Thursdays.  

We're also getting ready for all our events throughout the rest of the year, and there are still places on all of them - Sedbergh singing week of singing and walking from October 18 staying in the luxury Oakdene country house in this corner of the Yorkshire Dales national park; the Dent folk carols weekend (Dec.4-6), on the trains with the Settle Carlisle Carolling (Dec.12) from Langwathby to Settle, and at a Scottish New Year Singing Retreat in a Scottish mansion near Dunblane, (Dec.29-Jan 3 2016.)  Details below.  

Don't forget to see our Facebook photos of recent events here , and visit our free Youtube video learning site which has most of the songs we sing with the harmonies sung individually here 


Staying in the luxurious Oakdene house near Sedbergh with singing round the open fires, and on walks suitable for all though the autumn woods, by waterfalls, on the open fell, by lakes, in vast Lakeland caverns, and in country pubs. Also joining our local choirs for evening singing sessions, fabulous meals and plenty of space for all your needs: single, double (icludes a four poster bed) and twin rooms - many with magnificent views out over the Howgill fells. Optional hill walk if requested to see Andy Goldsworthy art installation above Cautley Spout.  £295


Workshops in the Dent Meditation Centre, singing on the cobbles and other venues, carols ceilidh in the village hall with singing and dancing, pub singing, Lucia's fabulous festive feast, and accommodation in twin and double rooms in cosy Dent village cottages.  Accommodation in cottages with all meals £145 (2 nights) or £165 (3 nights.) or without accommodation £95.

Dec. 29 2015 - January 3 2016
Join us in this luxury mansion - Cauldhame house - near Dunblane surrounded by the Highland mountains for a fabulous New Year retreat with singing round the fire, concert, ceilidh, visiting local choirs, and optional outings into the mountains and other venues. Lift shares can be arranged. £395 including all meals and accommodation in twin and double rooms.


Singing in the Whitley Bay St Mary's Lighthouse and conference rooms with songs about the sea....and lighthouses. Workshop, informal singing and concert in the lighthouse alongside a local choir.

BLACK SAIL SINGING RETREAT - March 25-28 - Easter 2016

Join us for 4 days and 3 nights in teh most remote youth hostel in England - staying high in the mountains under Great Gable, Pillar and Haystacks in this fabulously remote but comfortable hostel. Starting with a workshop in Buttermere village hall and then walking round the lake and over the Scarth Gap pass to Black Sail. Other walks depending on teh weather but hopefully Pillar, Haystacks and Great Gable - or a visit to Wasdale over the pass. Some hill walking experience is essential - as are walking boots and waterproofs.

Starting again on September 8 at 7.30pm, Lakeland Voices are in the Castle Street Centre in Kendal on Tuesdays,  and from September 10 Penrith Community Choir in the Penrith Parish Centre on Thursday evenings  There is a termly subscription of £49 (10-14 week term) and this allows you to sing in both or either choir as you wish. There are also some big discounts on weekend singing events for those who join for the term, and some extra free singing events too. You can come to our first session for free to see if you want to join us. We will be learning songs for concerts in December and also at the Acorn Bank Apple Day near Penrith - but these are optional you are welcome to come just to enjoy the singing.

I also lead a choir at Cancer Care in Kendal on Wednesday afternoons 5.30-7pm open for all of those with cancer and their helpers - you can come anytime. Their address is CancerCare, Blackhall Rd, Kendal, Cumbria LA9 4BT Phone:01539 735800  And the Sedbergh Songsters choir for those with Alzheimers, their carers and others who might enjoy singing these old songs - Mondays 10.30-12noon at Gladstone House on Maryfell in Sedbergh. . 

All the choirs will be singing together at the Dent Folk Carols festival on Saturday December 5, in a Lake District candlelit cave on Tuesday December 8, on the Settle Carlisle railway on Saturday December 12, and in the Strickland Arms on Tuesday December 15.

We also have a number of free pub singing events - including the George and Dragon (in Dent near Sedbergh) 9.30pm on Friday December 4 2015,  the Badger Bar 9.30pm on Tuesday evening December 8, the Strickland Arms (At Sizergh near Kendal) at 8pm on Tuesday evening December 15, and  various pubs and stations on our Carolling the Settle Carlisle day on Saturday December 12 (starting with a morning workshop in Langwathby village hall and then lunchtime singing in the Station inn at Ribblehead and a late afternoon in Settle.)

There are links below to photos on Facebook, and learning videos where I sing the individual harmonies for the songs we sing on Youtube.  

For videos of me teaching the parts for many of the songs we sing click here
For more photos of singers click here
For photos of Dent click here
And for videos of previous singing events on our video channel click here


Welcome - we hope your visit to the Lakeland Voice website is useful and inspiring.

Here you can find out about natural voice and harmony singing workshops based in South Lakeland in the North of England for groups and individuals.
The work is led by David Burbidge (pictured here leading an outdoor workshop in the Little Langdale valley) with guest teachers from around the world.

What is the Natural Voice?
We use the term 'natural voice' here to show that we express certain core beliefs in our way of working. These include that:

a) Singing is our birthright and should be accessible to everyone, whatever their musical training or experience.

b) The voice has its roots in the body and through releasing the breath and unnecessary tensions a more pleasurable experience of singing can be had as well as a richer and more authentic sound.

c) Harmony singing is a celebration of community and difference where the empowerment of the different parts creates a richer whole than when everyone is the same

d) And that musical terminology should be expressed in user friendly terms or explained sufficiently so as not to confuse or alienate those who sing naturally.

Lakeland Songlines
Many of these workshops use the beautiful landscape in our area especially during our short, singing walks when we take our songs out into the landscape, singing by waterfalls and rivers, in  caves, woods and fellside chapels and round the open fires of country inns.

Video of Lakeland Voice singers and Old Foster in a Dentdale wood

Some involve longer tours and will require more fitness such as 'Lakeland Songline' long Whitsun weekend with camping in the mountains of the central Lake District and 'The Singing Cyclists' tours.

Workshop Venues

Our workshops are mostly based in Sedbergh and Dent, small communities in an area overlapped by South Lakeland District and the Yorkshire Dales National Park. The area includes the beautiful, rounded hills of the Howgill Fells with the spectacular Cautley Spout waterfall, and the serenity of the wooded valleys with their ancient churches and cobbled villages.

We use comfortable village halls for our workshops, as well as my old stone cottage where the river Clough flows outside the window providing its unique accompaniment to our singing. Where possible we sing round open fires with informal singing sessions in remote country inns, and singing fireside suppers under the old oak beams of Dent's Stone Close cafe.

For our residential weekends and week-long retreats we hire old country cottages, and self catering hostels and country mansions in spectacular settings. We are often able to provide single, double and twin rooms. These venues range from Dentdale, Sedbergh and the Lake District to as far away as the Scottish island of Jura and our twin town Zrece in the Slovenian mountains.

Some of our workshops - on weekends or summer evenings - include singing walks using local caves, waterfalls and magnificent mountain scenery for a different acoustic and as a setting for our singing. These have included Cathedral Cavern in Little Langdale, Rydal Caves near Ambleside, Yordas cave near Ingleton, Tarn Hows, Martindale, Raisgill stone circle and 'Long Meg and her Daughters', through the Elysian Shades beech woods and the rapids of the Dee near Sedbergh, and singing cruises across the lakes at Coniston and Ulswater.
Our workshops in other parts of the country include mansions overlooking the sea on a Scottish island and a smugglers' cove in Cornwall.

What Do We Sing?
Songs are mostly drawn from cultures where people sing as naturally as they talk - folk songs from the UK,  Africa, Georgia and the Balkans. Songs in English are drawn from the American Shape note and British folk traditions as well as some jazz and sacred music.
As we teach mostly by ear our songs tend to come from cultures where music is passed on from one generation to the next by ear, as opposed to the complexities of written music found in Western classical music. We include rounds and simple harmony arrangements as well as two, three and four part harmonies.