NEWS   December 17 2018 

Our choirs are now on holiday over the Christmas New year break - but start again from Tuesday January 15 2019 in Kendal, and on Wednesday Jan. 16 in Bentham.

And you are also invited to join us at our regular Scottish and Slovenian song weekend in Kendal over the weekend of January 26/27 2019. ) Details are below. 

We also have a few workshops in Rottweil on the edge of the Black Forest in Germany - with seasonal songs in English from Scotland and the North of England - on Monday December 17 and Saturday December 29. There will be a chance for singers at these workshops to meet our Singing Cyclist singers when they visit Rottweil and the banks of the Danube in April 2019. 

And you are also invited to join other events next year 2019 - which include a weekend of singing and hill walking at the legendary Black Sail youth hostel high in the Lake District mountains, and a week of singing and cycling in the Schwarbische Alps in Southern Germany (April 5-12) staying in beautiful hotels on the banks of the Danube and in the charming medieval town of Rottweil. 

Plus all our annual events - Slovenia/Scotland singing (Kendal, January 26/27 2019,) Lighthouse singing (March 1-3 2019) Lakeland Spring Sing Thing (March 23 2019,)  Slovenia (May 22-29 2019,) and Jura (September 22-29, 2019)

If you want to join us on the German singing cyclists trip April 5-12 please get your Ryanair tickets now (Manchester to Stuttgart) - they are currently about £90 (bring your bike, or hire them in Germany for about 14 euros a day.) And also if you are joining our Slovenia tour - please note the change of date to make use of the cheaper flights (currently about £85 return with Easyjet London Stansted - Ljubljana) Wednesday May 22-Wednesday May 29. 

Lakeland Voice harmony singing workshop

Slovenia - May 24-31 (photo by David Podgrajsek)

Rydal Water - Badger Bar - folk carols - Dec.4 2018

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

Singers being greeted with a song as they arrive by train
December 16 2018 - Sedbergh folk carols - with singing in the Black Bull pub at 16:30 - with refreshments - and star lit walk through the winter landscape carolling at the doors of cottages cradled in the dale...and more often than not, round the fires of the kindly Dalesfolk who live there. (We let them know we are coming, and only sing where we are welcome.) 

December 17 and 29 - Folk Carols workshops in Rottweil 

January 18-20 2019 - Black Sail singing weekend - staying high in the Lake District mountains near Great Gable, the hostel can only be reached by walking over the fells. We will start with a singing workshop in the Buttermere village hall, and then walk round the lake and over the Scarth Gap pass to Black Sail. We have a number of songs suitable for singing in the mountains - and a great time is guaranteed by all. Some hill walking experience in similar mountains (eg Wales and Scotland, not East Anglia!) is necessary, as is some fitness. £145 (includes meals, accommodation, workshops, music in advance etc.) 

Black Sail hostel singing weekend - Ennerdale, the Lake District

January 26/27 2019 - Scottish and Slovenian song weekend - Kendal. Celebrating the national poets from both countries with songs, and food from both countries. Workshops, concerts, etc. Unitarian Church Hall, Market Place, Kendal £30 Saturday, £25 Sunday. 

March 1-3 2019  Lighthouse Singing Weekend - in St Mary's Lighthouse, Whitley Bay  in the North East of England. We will be learning salty songs of the sea (often 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. £105 includes meals (apart from Saturday night) but not accommodation (plentiful B&Bs in Whitley Bay.)

Lighthouse singing weekend - Whitley Bay - March 1-3 2019

March 23 2019  Spring Sing Thing - annual celebration of the return of Spring. Singing workshop in the morning in the Skelwith Bridge community centre, then taking out voices out into the beautiful Lake District for an afternoon of singing together. Bring a packed lunch and your beautiful voices. Songs can be sent in advance. £25. You are also welcome to join us on Sunday March 24 for a day singing Slovenian songs - very useful if joining us on our tour in May, but you are welcome to come even if you aren't joining us in Slovenia. £20 

Singing Cyclists - under the Greenwood tree

April 5-12 2019 Singing Cyclists - along the German cycle ways on the banks of the river Danube, through the forests of the Schwarbishe Alps, and in the beautiful medieval town of Rottweil. Lovely romantic town and country hotels. Singing songs from Germany, the UK and other European countries, and meeting local choirs. Cycling mostly on well surfaced off-road cycleways, c. 25 miles, circular routes or using trains for some linear rides. Hire bikes locally (includes electric bikes) or bring them by train (only 89 euros and 8 hours from London if booked six months in advance) - lunchtime flights with Ryanair from Manchester to Stuttgart can be as little of 19 euros - then train to Rottweil. Price to be confirmed (somewhere in the region of £450 for the week excluding transport.)

May 22-29 2019 - Slovenia - a return of this fabulous week staying near Bled and in the centre of our warm hearted twin town - Zrece. Concerts, meeting other choirs and singers, walks, sight seeing, fabulous Slovenian food - £450

Jura singing week - September 22-29 2019

September 22-29 2019 - Jura - a return to this wonderful Scottish island in the inner Hebrides - with singing on walks in the mountains, by the sea, on a trip to a nearby island, in singer friendly pubs, and at the Jura music festival at the end of the week. Lovely accommodation near the island's only village, Craighouse, where the festival is based. Music can be sent in advance and lift shares arranged - or public transport via Glasgow, and the CityLink bus to Kennacraig, Calmac to Port Askaig and the Jura ferry to Jura. £395

Dent Folk Carols weekend December 6-8 - cosy cottages, fabulous workshops in these lively old carols, delicious festive feasts, singing walk up the valley, and some cracking company. Join us for this celebration of camaraderie and harmony singing in this beautiful old Yorkshire Dales village. 


Everyone is welcome - there are no auditions. All the songs are taught by ear - but written music as well as recordings of the parts are available for home study. Lift shares can be arranged. We sing songs in 2, 3 and 4 part harmony from the UK and other countries, many of which reflect the seasons we are singing in. 

We also enjoy a number of outings each term, including singing in the pub, occasional optional concerts and a tour of Slovenia (my home town Sedbergh is twinned with a town in Slovenia, and we often join their choirs and learn their songs.) 

Continuing through the summer term, 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 (7.30pm every Wednesday from September 26) and the Penrith Community Choir is in the Penrith Parish Centre on Thursday evenings. 

We will have singing walks through the Lake District on Tuesday evenings with Lakeland Voices in June and July - our autumn term starts from September 4 - the spring term from January 8.  

There is a termly subscription of £54 (10-14 week term) 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 the Sedbergh Songsters singing group for those with Alzheimers, their carers, and others who enjoy singing familiar old songs together - Monday 10:30-12 noon at Gladstone House on Maryfell in Sedbergh. Donations requested to Dignity in Dementia.

Carols in a Candlelit Cave - at Rydal Caves near Ambleside
Our choirs often meet up to sing together as they do at the Badger Bar in Rydal in the middle of July and December, on our Settle Carlisle railway carolling day in December, at the October Apple Day at Acorn Bank, near Penrith, and in the Strickland Arms near Kendal in mid December. We welcome all visiting community choirs and can arrange accommodation and singing workshops and short walks for you should you wish to visit this beautiful area.

Penrith Community Choir

We also have a number of free pub singing events - including the George and Dragon (in Dent near Sedbergh) ,  the Badger Bar in Rydal midsummer and mid December, the Strickland Arms (at Sizergh near Kendal) in December, and  various pubs and stations on our Carolling the Settle Carlisle day in December (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

Lakeland Voice singers en route for Haystacks and Black Sail 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 UK include country houses 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.

Bohinj - Slovenia - May 22-29

Slovenia - May 22-29 (by David Podrajsek)