NEWS November 25 2015

Due to last minute cancellations we now have residential places available on our Dent folk carols weekend (Dec.4-6) in the Yorkshire Dales, and  the Scottish New Year Singing Retreat in a luxury estate mansion near Dunblane.  There are also places for individual sessions at the Dent folk carols and day places on the Settle Carlisle Carolling  on Saturday Dec.12 in trains, stations and pubs from Langwathby to Settle via Ribblehead; the Calbeck carols workshop and pub singing on December 13; and our many pub carolling sessions and concerts.  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



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 - you can come for the whole weekend or for individual sessions.Here's our programme

Friday 4pm - arrive at cottages for afternoon tea. 
6pm - evening meal in the village hall - The Dent Memorial Hall
7.30pm - concert in Dent Memorial Hall
9pm - singing in pub The George and Dragon. 

Saturday - 10am - 12.30pm Folk Carols workshop - Dent Meditation Centre
12.30pm - Christmas market in church/ nativity play on the cobbles/ short pub sing at the Sun (there may be some changes to this part this year.) 
1pm - lunch in Dent Memorial Hall
2pm - Folk Carols workshop - Dent Meditation Centre
7pm - festive feast in Dent Memorial Hall - followed by carols ceilidh - singing and dancing and....the "The Horse." 

Sunday - 10am - 12.30pm - Carols from afar workshop - Dent Meditation Centre 
12.30pm lunch in Dent Memorial Hall followed by Singing Walk down Dentdale.
4.30pm - afternoon tea and ending in one of the cottages. 

You can stay Friday and Saturday nights - or Sunday as well. £145 for 2 nights - £165 for three night includes everything on the programme. We can also come without accommodation for £95 - let me know if you just want to come for individual sessions: Concert, £7.50. Workshop (am or pm), walk, ceilidh: £12.50 each (tickets available from David Burbidge 015396.21166, Sedbergh TIC or Dent Village Stores. Once you have booked - written music, words and recordings of the carols can be sent to you, and we can help with arranging lift shares. 

The time for deposits has passed - to book please send the full amount (cheques payable to "David Burbidge" please and sent to my home address.) 

Let me know if you'd like to join us - or if you have any questions or need help with any aspect of the weekend. We can send recordings of the songs and the harmony parts in advance along with word booklets, and written music. And we can help with arranging lift shares from anyone who might be coming from near your area. 


Join us on the Settle Carlisle railway singing folk carols. 9am workshop in the Langwathby village hall. 12:18 Langwathby station to catch the train south to Ribblehead. 1:45pm singing at Ribblehead Station and the Station Inn. 4pm Singing in Settle. 6:57 pm returning from Settle to Langwathby - with more singing and a Jacobs Join supper in the village hall (last year we had dancing too!) £25 for the day includes day return rail from Langwathby to Settle. Contact me if you want to join us and I'll send recordings, words, etc. of the songs.  


10:00 folk carols workshop in the village hall. 
13:00 Jacobs join lunch  in hall.
14:00 singing in church plus more refreshment in hall
16:00 afternoon harmony singing workshop - more carols
18:00 Jacobs Join supper in hall
19:30  Singing in Oddfellows Arms, Caldbeck
Cost: £15 for the day - cheques made payable to David Burbidge and sent to my home address.  

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. Workshops, informal singing and concert in the lighthouse alongside a local choir. Friday evening 8pm, Saturday and Sunday 10am-4.30pm£79 for the weekend - includes lunch - but not accommodation or evening meals which we can have together in the town.


Singing and cycling along the Pennine Cycleway (20 per cent off road - c.200 miles - 30 miles a day) from Penrith via Sedbergh, Hebden Bridge and Derby to the Street Choirs festival in Leicester with workshops, concerts, meeting community choirs and singing groups along the way. Car carries heavy bags and tents. Camping, meals and workshops in village halls and some hostels. Starts Penrith railway station, ends Leicester railway station. £50 deposit secures a place.

JULY 23 - AUGUST 31 - SINGING CYCLISTS - part 2 north along the Pennine Cycleway to Scotland from Penrith to Berwick. (c.150 miles -.20 miles a day). Like part 1 - but in school holidays - children are welcome if accompanied by a parent or other adult. £50 deposit secures a place.

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

Join us for 4 days and 3 nights in the most remote youth hostel in England - staying high in the mountains under Great Gable, Pillar and Haystacks in this fabulously remote but comfortable hostel (can only be approached by foot over the mountains or by cycle up a 7 mile track.) Starting with a workshop in Buttermere village hall at 10am on Friday and then at 12.30pm walking round the lake and over the Scarth Gap pass to Black Sail. Other walks depending on the weather but hopefully Pillar, Haystacks and Great Gable - in previous years we have also visited the Wasdale Head Inn over the pass and down Mosedale. Some hill walking experience is essential - as are walking boots and waterproofs. £195 includes 3 nights accommodation, all meals, guided singing walks, workshops, public workshop in Buttermere village hall. Finishes on Monday March 28 at 4.30pm with short concert and singing in the pub in Buttermere.


Our new choir - in Bentham Looking Well centre on King Street in High Bentham - starts next week October 21 at 7.30pm and will run fortnightly through to Christmas. £25 for the half term.  
Continuing through the autumn at 7.30pm, Lakeland Voices are in the Castle Street Centre in Kendal on Tuesdays,  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) 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 (including Lowther Castle on Thursday December 10) and have recently sung 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 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. . 

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.