NEWS  13 November 2017

We are well into our winter singing which is always a great deal of fun with crowds of warm-hearted singers raising their voices in harmony at our festive singing events, as well as singing on (and on the top of) our local mountains during our New Year singing week, this year joined by a hardy Slovenian choir who are joining us for the week. 

We now have one or two places on the Dent Folk Carols weekend December 1-4 (with over 70 singers already coming we've booked some extra accommodation), Singing on the Settle Carlisle railway Dec.9, and the New Year singing week in Sedbergh from December 29 based in the beautiful Oakdene Country House with luxury single, double and twin rooms. 
We also have a one day workshop in Keswick on Sunday Nov.26, and a date for your diaries - Saturday January 27 - A day of harmony celebrating the songs of Scotland and Slovenia - including songs by Rabbie Burns and Franc Preseren.

The years spin by so quickly - we're already also thinking about next year when we've got our annual Spring Sing Thing, Lighthouse Singing, Sedbergh Singing Walks week, and another tour of Slovenia to look forward to. 

Rydal Water - Badger Bar and Carols in a Candlelit cave - Dec.5 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


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.) 

Cowgill Folk Choral is 7.30pm every Monday from September in the Old School House, Cowgill upper Dentdale (new group, starts September 25)

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. 

There is a termly subscription of £54 - each term is between 10 and 14 weeks long during term time. If you sign up for one choir, you can come to any of the other choirs for no extra fee - either as well as, or instead of if you can't make a particular evening one week. 

Bentham community choir is alternate Wednesdays in the King Street Studios, Bentham 8.00-9.30pm - £28 for the 5 week term.

The CancerCare Choir is on Wednesdays 5.30-7pm in the Kendal CancerCare centre. Donations requested for CancerCare.

The Sedbergh Songsters in Gladstone House, Sedbergh on Mondays 10.30-12noon. Donations requested for Dignity in Dementia.

Slainte Mhath!

November 26 - Folk Carols workshop, UnderSkiddaw Village hall, near Keswick. Join us for the day to learn folk carols and harmonies in this lovely setting underneath Skiddaw in the Lake District. We will be learning the old carols sung in folk clubs - and in many pubs in South Yorkshire. £25 - please bring food to share for lunch. Music scores and recordings of the songs can be sent in advance - and we can help with arranging lift shares.

Oakdene Country House, New Year Singing Week Dec.29-Jan.5
Dent Folk Carols weekend - Dec.1-4

December 1-4  Dent Folk Carols weekend - with workshops, concert, ceilidh, festive meals, pub singing, singing walk, refreshments, 3 nights accommodation (Fri.,Sat. and Sun.) in cosy village cottages, and some cracking company throughout the weekend. Beautiful venue for the workshops in the Dent Meditation Centre; concert, meals and ceilidh in the Dent Memorial Hall - everything included: £165 (or without accommodation: £105). For more details click here

Keighley Road Jolly Wassailers at Ribblehead station - Saturday December 9 2018

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, singing at Langwathby station cafe - then all aboard to sing on the train south to Ribblehead where we will be meeting other choirs before all of us singing down to Settle for an evening of festive song in the Golden Lion.  

December 16 Lakeland Voices, Christmas in Kendal - with Street singing, workshop to learn carols singing alongside the choir, and our fabulous Christmas concert in the Brewery Arts Centre - To Drive the Cold Winter Away. Plus mulled wine, mince pies and a star lit singing walk through the winter landscape. 

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 (with optional hills,) in the Lake District and Yorkshire Dales, singing round the open fires of this lovely house, meeting local singers in pubs, new year's eve party, fabulous home cooked meals - a week of celebration, camaraderie and singing. This year we also being joined by a choir from Slovenia. £450

Spring Sing Thing - March 24 2018
March 16-18 2018   - 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 (apart from Saturday night) but not accommodation (plentiful B&Bs in Whitley Bay.)

Singing in St Mary's Lighthouse March 24-26 2017
March 24 2018  Spring Sing Thing - annual celebration of the return of Spring. Singing workshop in the morning, 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
Oakdene Country House, Sedbergh Singing walks May 13-18 and New Year

Langdale Valley - Spring Sing Thing March 24 2018

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)

May 25-June 1 - 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 25-June 1 2018

Sedbergh Singing Walks - May 13-18

Continuing through the autumn term, 7.30pm-9.30pm, The Cowgill Folk Chorale is in Upper Dentdale, 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 - £28 in Bentham for 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.

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 do on our December Settle Carlisle carolling day, at the Ocdtober Apple Day 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) ,  the Badger Bar 9.30pm on Tuesday evening December 5, the Strickland Arms (At Sizergh near Kendal) at 8pm on Tuesday evening December 12, and  various pubs and stations on our Carolling the Settle Carlisle day on Saturday December 9 (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 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.