NEWS July 15 2017

We still have some places on the wonderful  Jura island singing week September 17-24 as well as other events later into the year such as the Dent Folk Carols weekend and New Year Singing week - details below.

The Kendal Street Choirs festival - June 23-25 - was a great success with 40 visiting choirs singing in Rydal, Kendal and Cathedral Cavern in Little Langdale - many thanks to everyone who came or who helped with running the festival. You can see many of the pictures and videos on the Kendal Street Choirs Festival facebook page - click here

We enjoyed Slovenia so much in May that we're arranging another tour over the last week in October this year to sing in the Zrece international concert Pesmi Prijateljevanja, as well as visiting Piran, Ljubljana and Cerknica. Arrangements the same as in May.

We're also taking bookings for the Dent Folk Carols weekend December 1-4, Singing on the Settle Carlisle railway Dec.9, and the New Year singing week in Sedbergh based in the beautiful Oakdene Country House. 

Rydal Water - Badger Bar and singing in Rydal caves Dec.5 2017
Kendal Street Choirs Festival at the Brewery Arts Centre

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 now finished for the summer - starts again second Wednesday in September
Lakeland Voices is in the Castle Street Centre in Kendal on Tuesdays 7.30-9.30pm. Concert on July 18 in the Old School, Unitarian Chapel in Kendal at 7pm - or join us next term, second week in September. 
Penrith Community Choir is in the Penrith Parish Centre on Thursdays 7.30-9.30pm. Term finishes July 12 - or join us on the second Thursday in September. 
The CancerCare Choir is on Wednesdays 5.30-7pm in the Kendal CancerCare centre. Last session this term is July 12 - then starting again first Wednesday in September.
And the Sedbergh Songsters in Gladstone House, Sedbergh on Mondays 10.30-12noon. Last session before the summer holidays on July 12 - then starting again first Monday in September. 

Slainte Mhath!

St Mary's Lighthouse singing - March 23-25 2018
Cave singing - Singing Walks May 13-18 2018

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 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 for £10. (Some single rooms available: £10 supplement per night.) 
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. If you are in Kendal on Saturday afternoon June 24 look for the choirs who will be singing in 20 different venues around town.

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 29 2017-January 5 2018  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
May 13-18 2018 - 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. £360 (discount if sharing a room - £295 each)
Sedbergh Singing Walks - May 14-19

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 £54 (10-14 week term - £25 in Bentham fro the 5 weeks) and this allows you to sing in any of the other choirs 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. At the beginning of term, you can come to our first session for free to see if you want to join us. Sometimes we do concerts 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 the old smugglers' village Robin Hoods Bay.

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.