NEWS February 3 2016

As the Lake District is recovering from the terrible floods in December, we are having a fundraising singing day for Cumbria Flood Relief Fund with several local singing leaders teaching their songs alongside their singers in the Castle Street Centre which was itself under water during the floods. Details below. And we've opened our booking for the Whitley Bay lighthouse, the Lakeland Spring Sing Thing, and the Black Sail mountain weekend, plus the Singing Cyclists tour in June and our singing trains on the Settle Carlisle railway.  

Our weekly choirs have all progressing - Lakeland Voices in Kendal on Tuesdays, CancerCare Choir in Kendal and the Bentham Community Choir in the Looking Well studios in Bentham, both on Wednesdays, and the Penrith Community Choir on Thursdays. The Castle Street Centre where we meet in Kendal was flooded but has now dried out.

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

CUMBRIA FLOOD RELIEF SINGING DAY  - SATURDAY FEBRUARY 6, 10am-4.30pm  Castle Street Community Centre, Kendal

This is a day raising money for the Flood Relief Fund, with singers from several different groups and their leaders teaching their songs and singing them alongside you. 10am-4.30pm. Castle Street was underwater during the floods but is already drying out very well. 

Penrith Community Choir and others at Langwathby station cafe on our Settle Carlisle Carolling day
Keighley Road Jolly Wassailers at Ribblehead. on our Settle Carlisle Carolling day    


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 7.30pm, 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.

SPRING SING THING - Saturday March 19 2016 - our annual day of singing in the Lake District, with workshop, singing walk, and mini concerts, meeting at Skelwith Bridge community centre at 10am - and then out into the Lake District. Ending c. 5pm. Music sent in advance, lift shares can be arranged. £25 for the day.


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.


Join us for the weekend on the Settle Carlisle railway singing songs about the railway and associated themes on the trains, in the stations and in pubs along the way. Also on walks through the Settle Carlisle countryside. We will also join the Ingleton Folk Festival singing in pubs and joining the harmony singing workshop in the town. Singing workshops, accommodation and meals are provided in the Old School near Ribblehead (just one mile from the railway station at Ribblehead.) Lift shares can be arranged and recordings and words of the songs can be sent in advance. Cost including train tickets: £129

We also sing on the train the Saturday after the Folk Carols weekend in December - meeting up with other choirs along the way. 


Our new choir - in Bentham Looking Well centre on King Street in High Bentham - starts again next year on Wednesdays at 7.30pm and will run fortnightly from January 6. £25 for the half term.  
Continuing through the spring term from January 5 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 late March - but these are optional you are welcome to come just to enjoy the singing.

And starting again next year is the Acafellas, male voice harmony singing group meeting in the Strickland Arms at Sizergh near Kendal on Monday evenings 7.30-9.30pm from January 4.

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.

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.

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.