NEWS April 11 2017

We still have some places on Sedbergh Singing Walks May 14-19, Slovenia week May 26-June 2Robin Hoods Bay June 9-11, and the Jura island singing week September 17-24 - details below.

The Kendal Street Choirs festival next June 23-25 is now fully booked with over 40 choirs coming, but singers who wish to book at this late stage are welcome to get in touch in case we have cancellations.  There may also be some places available for the Coope Boyes and Simpson concert on Friday evening in the Kendal Leisure Centre, and on our 20 different singing workshops on Sunday morning. There are full details here.

Rydal Water - Street Choirs Festival - Thursday June 8 2017
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
The Bentham  Community Choir  is on alternate Wednesdays: last one this term March 29 - 8pm in the King Street Studios
Lakeland Voices is in the Castle Street Centre in Kendal on Tuesdays 7.30-9.30pm. 
Penrith Community Choir is in the Penrith Parish Centre on Thursdays 7.30-9.30pm
The CancerCare Choir is on Wednesdays 5.30-7pm in the Kendal CancerCare centre. 
And the Sedbergh Songsters in Gladstone House, Sedbergh on Mondays 10.30-12noon.

Slainte Mhath!

St Mary's Lighthouse singing - March 23-25 2018
Cave singing - Singing Walks May 14

Dent Folk Carols first weekend in December every year
Keighley Road Jolly Wassailers joined our singers at Ribblehead station

Spring Sing Thing - March 17 2018
March 24-26  - Lighthouse Singing Weekend - in St Mary's Lighthouse, Whitley Bay  in the North East of England. We will be learning songs from the sea and featuring lighthouses....and other relevant songs....and singing them inside the fabulous acoustic of this lighthouse. Meals and workshops in the warm and comfortable conference centre next door. Also meeting local singers. £95 includes meals but not accommodation (plentiful B&Bs in Whitley Bay.)

Singing in St Mary's Lighthouse March 24-26 2017
May 14-19 - Sedbergh Singing Walks Staying in Oakdene, a luxurious Victorian mansion with single, double and twin rooms (most of them en suite,) we will spend the week singing among the wild flowers around Sedbergh and Dentdale and up into the Howgill Hills. There will also be opportunities to sing with our local choirs. £295 sharing double or twin (or £350 for a single room) 

Sedbergh Singing Walks - May 14-19
May 26-June 2 - Slovenia - come on a tour of Slovenia with our singers from the Lake District - joining the Bohinj Wild Flower festival, meeting local choirs and singers, learning Slovenian songs (and singing some from the UK too,) short walks and outings, fabulous accommodation, singing in the capitol Ljubljana, visiting our twin town Zrece and the wonderful singers who live there.....and much more. Half board accommodation provided. Flights will need to be booked separately - but nearly all of us will be on the same budget airline flight. Cost £395 (plus flights) Starting at 16:30 from Ljubljana airport - flights available with Easyjet from Stansted and Gatwick, and Wizzair flights from Luton. 

Slovenia tour - May 26-June 2
June 9-11 2017  Robin Hoods Bay harmony singing weekend - staying in cottages we have rented in the old village of Robin Hoods Bay on the east coast of Yorkshire (twin and double rooms), famous for it's folk singing. We will be singing Salty Songs of the Sea (...and a few fishy tales!) arranged in 2, 3 and 4 parts. All meals are provided by Lucia. Plus a singing walk along the sandy bay singing by rock pools and the waves breaking on the beach. £155 includes meals and accommodation - Sunday night accommodation also available.
Robin Hoods Bay - village at dawn
Robin Hoods Bay sunrise

June 23-25 2017 Kendal Street Choirs festival - with up to 40 choirs and 900 singers in Kendal for a massed singing workshop and town centre sing, individual busking spots for the choirs around town, workshops, picnic, concerts - and Thursday and Sunday evening extra events with local choirs in the central Lake District. Friday night concert with folk harmony trio Coope, Boyes and Simpson. Please email me for a list of group accommodation in and near Kendal so that you can have the venue of your choice. We are currently full for the festival - but are getting cancellations occasionally.
Street Choirs festival Hebden Bridge - 2017 in Kendal  
September 17-24  Jura - join us on this Scottish Island in the inner Hebrides for a week of singing - with some walks by the sea seeing otters, seals and eagles. Also optional trip to a nearby island. Songs from Scotland and around the world. Accommodation in house very near Craighouse (or camping.) Singing in the house round the fire, in the nearby Jura Whisky distillery, in the pub - and also joining the Jura folk festival over the final weekend. £395 includes accommodation and all meals. 

December 1-4  Dent Folk Carols weekend - with workshops, concert, ceilidh, festive meals, pub singing, singing walk, 3 nights accommodation in cosy village cottages, and some cracking company throughout the weekend. £165

December 9  Singing Settle Carlisle - folk carols on the train, in the stations and in pubs from Langwathby to Settle via Appleby, Ribblehead, and Settle. Workshop at 9am in Langwathby village hall. 

December 27-January 3 2017  New Year singing week in Oakdene, Sedbergh - fabulous Victorian mansion at the foot of the Howgills fells - with singing walks, singing round the fire, meeting local singers in pubs, new year's eve party - a week of celebration and singing.

Oakdene, Sedbergh
  Continuing through the summer term at 7.30pm-9.30pm, Lakeland Voices are in the Castle Street Centre in Kendal on Tuesdays, Bentham community choir in the Looking Well Studios in Bentham (8pm alternate weeks) and the Penrith Community Choir is in the Penrith Parish Centre on Thursday evenings  There is a termly subscription of £49 (10-14 week term - £25 in Bentham) 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 late March - but these are optional you are welcome to come just to enjoy the singing.

And starting again next term is the Acafellas, male voice harmony singing group meeting in the Strickland Arms at Sizergh near Kendal on Monday evenings 7.30-9.30pm.

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 singing group for those with Alzheimers, their carers and others who might enjoy singing a number of old familiar songs together - Mondays 10.30-12noon at Gladstone House on Maryfell in Sedbergh.
Carols in a Candlelit Cave - at Rydal Caves near Ambleside
Our choirs often meet up to sing together as they did on our Settle Carlisle carolling day, and will do on Saturday at Acorn Bank, near Penrith.

Penrith Community Choir

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.)

Sheffield pub carollers
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

Singers en route for the top of Haystacks in the Lake District


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

Teaching a song in Little Langdale
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.

Gladly Solemn Sound in Cathedral Cavern
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.