NEWS   29 March 2018

We've sung in the spring with a fantastic weekend in the Lake District with our singers, and are now ready for the summer with the warmer weather on it's way. There are still places on our Lake District Spring Sing Thing in March, Singing Walks at Oakdene near Sedbergh in May, and our tour of Slovenia at the end of May. 
Sedbergh Singing walks - May 13-18

Our local choirs will take a break over Easter - and then start again from April 16 - I do hope you can join us. Details are below. 

Slovenia - May 25-June 1

Later in March you are welcome to join our annual Spring Sing Thing, and  Sedbergh Singing Walks week, and another tour of Slovenia - and towards the end of the year our Dent Folk Carols weekend is again on the first weekend of December (Nov.30-December 3). 

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

Oakdene Country House, Singing Walks May 14-18 2018
Dent Folk Carols weekend - November 30 - December 2 2018
Singing Settle Carlisle - at Ribblehead Station - December 8 2018

Oakdene Country House, Sedbergh Singing walks May 14-18 2018

May 14-18 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) Starts 10am Monday May 14 - or come the night before after 8pm. 

Slovenia tour - May 25-June 1 2018

May 25-June 1 - Slovenia - join us 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. Cost £425 (plus flights) Starting at 16:30 on Friday May 25 from Ljubljana airport - flights available with Easyjet from Stansted and Gatwick, and Wizzair flights from Luton, or Lufthansa from Manchester airport - all arriving very near the same time. 

Sedbergh Singing Walks - May 14-18 2018

September 16-23 Jura island singing week
- workshops, concerts, Folk festival, outings, walks watching seals, otters, sea eagles, etc. Songs in English, Scots and Gaelic - and from further afield. Large house near Craighouse. 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. 

November 3-December 3 Dent Folk Carols weekend - pub singing, ceilidh, workshops, concert, cosy cottages in the village, Lucia festive feasts, singing walk....and some cracking company. 

March 1-3 2019   - 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. £105 includes meals (apart from Saturday night) but not accommodation (plentiful B&Bs in Whitley Bay.)

Lighthouse singing weekend - Whitley Bay - March 1-3

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 


Continuing through the spring 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 (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.

Bohinj - Slovenia - May 25-June 1

Slovenia - May 25-June 1 (by David Podrajsek)