Lakeland Voices on tour in Slovenia 


 NEWS   23 July 2018

Well sung everyone who joined our recent tour of Slovenia - some fabulous singing in different parts of this very welcoming country where so many people we met along the way joined our choir to sing with us. To see photos click here  We'll be singing - and teaching - some of the songs from our tour at a free event in the River Bar at the Lake District Folk Festival in Staveley on Sunday August 5 - come and join us from 14:00-16:30.

Details of our community choirs are below - we have finished for the summer but will start again on the first week in September - just turn up to join us.

And we've got our usual programme of events for the rest of 2018 which includes Jura  island harmony singing week (Sept.16-23,) the Dent folk Carols weekend (Nov.30-Dec.3,) Singing Settle Carlisle railway singing on Saturday December 8, and Kendal Christmas harmony Saturday December 15. 

And we are making plans for next year 2019 - which includes a week of singing and cycling in the Schwarbische Alps in Southern Germany (April 5-12) staying in beautiful hotels on the banks of the Danube and in the charming medieval town of Rottweil. 

Plus all our annual events - Slovenia/Scotland singing (Kendal, January 26/27 2019,) Lighthouse singing (March 1-3,) Lakeland Spring Sing Thing (March 23,)  Slovenia (May 24-31,) Jura (September,) Dent Folk Carols (first weekend in December,) and Kendal Christmas harmony for all.

Singing walks with Lakeland Voices - Tuesday evenings June and July

Lakeland Voice harmony singing workshop

Our local choirs will take a break over the Whitsun holiday week (May 25-31) - and then start again from June 4 with singing walks in the evening through the Lake district and Yorkshire Dales - I do hope you can join us. Details are below. 

Slovenia - May 25-June 1 (photo by David Podgrajsek)

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  and also recordings on SoundCloud here

Dent Folk Carols weekend - November 30 - December 2 2018
Singing Settle Carlisle - at Ribblehead Station - December 8 2018

Oakdene country house - singing week from April 26 2019

September 16-23 Jura island singing week
- workshops, concerts, Folk festival, outings, walks watching seals, otters, sea eagles, visiting nearby islands 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. £395

Jura island singing week - September 16-23 2018
Dent Folk Carols weekend - Nov.30-Dec.3 2018

November 30 - December 3 Dent Folk Carols weekend - pub singing, ceilidh, harmony workshops, concert, cosy cottage accommodation in the village, Lucia's fabulous festive feasts, singing walk....and some cracking company. Workshops in Dent Meditation Centre, meals and ceilidh in the village hall. Lift shares can be arranged. Words, recordings and written music for the songs available in advance. Cost: everything including 3 nights accommodation (apart from Sunday evening meal) £169 - £50 deposit secures a place - balance in October. Singers who wish to stay in the area, are also invited to our Sedbergh Songsters session on Monday morning, and our carols in a candlelit cave and Badger Bar singing event at Rydal on Tuesday evening alongside Lakeland Voices.
Dent Folk Carols weekend - Nov.30-Dec.3

March 1-3 2019  Lighthouse Singing Weekend 
- in St Mary's Lighthouse, Whitley Bay  in the North East of England. We will be learning salty songs of the sea (often 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 2019

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 

Singing Cyclists - under the Greenwood tree

April 5-12 2019 Singing Cyclists - along the German cycle ways on the banks of the river Danube, through the forests of the Schwarbishe Alps, and in the beautiful medieval town of Rottweil. Lovely romantic town and country hotels. Singing songs from Germany, the UK and other European countries, and meeting local choirs. Cycling mostly on well surfaced off-road cycleways, c. 25 miles, circular routes or using trains for some linear rides. Hire bikes locally (includes electric bikes) or bring them by train (only 89 euros and 8 hours from London if booked six months in advance) - lunchtime flights with Ryanair from Manchester to Stuttgart can be as little of 19 euros - then train to Rottweil. Price to be confirmed (somewhere in the region of £450 for the week excluding transport.)


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.) 

Continuing through the summer 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 Wednesdays from April 25) and the Penrith Community Choir is in the Penrith Parish Centre on Thursday evenings. 

We will have singing walks through the Lake District on Tuesday evenings with Lakeland Voices in June and July - and our autumn term starts from September 4. 

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 Road, Kendal, Cumbria LA9 4BT. Tel.01539.735800 

And the Sedbergh Songsters singing group for those with Alzheimers, their carers, and others who enjoy singing familiar old songs together - Monday 10:30-12 noon at Gladstone House on Maryfell in Sedbergh. Donations requested to Dignity in Dementia.

Carols in a Candlelit Cave - at Rydal Caves near Ambleside
Our choirs often meet up to sing together as they do at the Badger Bar in Rydal in the middle of July, on our Settle Carlisle railway carolling day in December, and at the October Apple Day at Acorn Bank, near Penrith. We welcome all visiting community choirs and can arrange accommodation and singing workshops and short walks for you should you wish to visit this beautiful area.

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 in Rydal midsummer and mid December, the Strickland Arms (at Sizergh near Kendal) in December, and  various pubs and stations on our Carolling the Settle Carlisle day in December (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

Lakeland Voice 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)


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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