Lakeland Voices - Strickland Arms pub sing December 13 2016


 NEWS  October 22 2016

There are now places available for anyone who would like to join our Dent Folk Carols festival December 2-5, Caroling the Settle Carlisle day on December 10, and our New Year singing week in December. 

The Street Choirs Festival June 23-25 2017 is now open for choir bookings. Details below. 

The Bentham  Community Choir has started again in the Looking Well studio on King Street starting at 8pm on alternate Wednesdays: November 2, 16 and 30.
Lakeland Voices is in the Castle Street Centre in Kendal on Tuesdays 7.30-9.30pm and the Penrith Community Choir is in the Penrith Parish Centre on Thursdayds 7.30-9.30pm.  The CancerCare Choir is on Wednesdays 5.30-7pm in the Kendal CancerCare centre. And the Sedbergh Songsters in Gladstone House, Sedbergh on Mondays 10.30-12noon.

The Kendal Street Choirs festival is June 23-25 2017 - registration for choirs is now open, with the  individual singers booking in January. I can send a list of accommodation if you would like details. The cost for booking for the whole choir to sing is £40 .
To book, please send a cheque made payable to Howgills Harmony to Street Choirs festival c/o David Burbidge, Smithy Cottage, Farfield, Sedbergh, Cumbria LA10 5LW, and include 
1) the name of your choir, 
2) name of the choir rep., 
3) phone numbers and email addresses, 
4) address of the choir, and if you know it 
5) the address where you are staying in Kendal. 
6) Number of expected singers who are coming to Kendal 
7) if you would like to join a pre- and post- festival event in the Lake District on Thursday evening 6-9pm on June 22, and Sunday late afternoon (4-8pm) June 25.
Click here for more details. If you would like a list of group accommodation in and near Kendal click here.

Slainte Mhath!
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

St Mary's Lighthouse singing - March 24-26 2017
Cave singing Spring Sing Thing - March 18

Singing on the Settle Carlisle Railway - Saturday December 10 2016

Join our fabulous annual festival of folk carols - the old and lively songs often sung in pubs and folk clubs. Workshops in the Dent Meditation to learn the carols (with recordings, words and scores sent in advance,) and then singing in the pubs, in the church and in the village hall - with a ceilidh, concert, festival meals, refreshments and seasonal singing walk through the valley. Accommodation in cosy and luxurious village cottages, meals with all the singers in the village hall, refreshments all day. 3 nights accommodation etc. £165 - non-residential rate £95, individual sessions: £12.50. Concert: £7.50. More details here

Dent Folk Carols weekend

Join us for the weekend on the Settle Carlisle railway singing songs about the railway and Folk Carols on the trains, in the stations and in pubs along the way. We will be joining several choirs along the way to sing on the train, in the stations and in several pubs, village hall and cafes. £25 for the day including morning workshop in Langwathby village hall, return train ticket to Settle via Ribblehead (where we stop for a couple of hours of singing. (there is a discount for those who have subscribed to our choirs this term.)

Keighley Road Jolly Wassailers joining our singers at Ribblehead station
December 27 2016 -January 3 2017 New Year Singing Week in the luxurious Millbeck Towers near Keswick, Cumbria. Singing with local choirs, singing walks from the door over stunning mountains and down quiet country lanes, ceilidh with singing and dancing, singing round the fire, pub singing, first footing, Lucia's fabulous feasts, and much more.

Millbeck Towers - our New Year Singing Week
March 18 - Spring Sing Thing - a day of singing with a gentle walk from Skelwith Bridge to sing in a vast cave ( a different route from previous years, and a different cave!) Workshop in Skelwith Bridge community centre starts at 10am, then off with our packed lunches to sing by Rydal Water, in the Caves, at the Badger Bar, and back over the side of Loughrigg with spectacular views down the Langdale Valley. £20 for the day.

Spring Sing Thing - March 18 2017
March 24-26  - 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. 

Singing in St Mary's Lighthouse March 24-26 2017

May 27-June 3 - 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 which can cost as little as £25 

Bled island - Slovenia - May 27-June 3 2017

June 23-25 2017 Kendal Street Choirs festival - with up to 40 choirs and 900 singers in Kendal for a massed singing workshop and town centre sing, individual busking spots for the choirs around town, workshops, picnic, concerts - and Thursday and Sunday evening extra events with local choirs in the central Lake District. Please email me for a list of group accommodation in and near Kendal so that you can have the venue of your choice. 

Street Choirs festival Hebden Bridge
Hebden Bridge Street Choirs festival


Continuing through the summer term at 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 £49 (10-14 week term - £25 in Bentham) 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 term is the Acafellas, male voice harmony singing group meeting in the Strickland Arms at Sizergh near Kendal on Monday evenings 7.30-9.30pm.

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 did on our Settle Carlisle carolling day, and will do on Saturday 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) 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.)

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 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.


Shirley alias Whirley said...

How absolutely fantastic......and so so so natural. I often sing as I am walking or [if I have breath] cycling - there's just one snag :-) It could, I reckon, become addictive!! Therefore could contribute massively to happiness levels....Whoops and where would that take us eh? More hills?

Anonymous said...

I love this song. What song is it? Is it English folk song?

David Burbidge said...

It is an English folk carol called Old Foster - after the man who wrote the arrangement John Foster from Sheffield. The carol is sometimes called one of the Sheffield pub carols because it is sung in the pubs in villages near Sheffield like the Royal at Dungworth, the Blue Ball at Worral, the Travellers at Oughtibridge and others. Our groups here in Cumbria sing it too - often on walks through the winter landscape.

Bianca King said...

The landscape is breath-taking; lush green patches amidst the majestic slopes where clouds gently roll by. I read about that place in hotels in luton where they offer additional country side info.

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