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Library Lectures 2021 on sale now

We are delighted to announce that a new series of Library Lectures are on sale now! The series kicks off in February, welcoming four fantastic speakers who will guide you through fascinating topics around folk song and dance.

All lectures will be taking place online. 

Tickets £5 per lecture | £17.50 for all four


MARILYN TUCKER AND PAUL WILSON – Folk choirs: Their Origins and Contribution to the Living Tradition

Wednesday 3 February, 7.30pm

In the context of ancient folk traditions, the folk choir is a new phenomenon. With songs from a solo tradition, appropriated by an ensemble of singers with formalised harmonies, we have to face the question: is the ‘folk choir’ an oxymoron? In preparing this talk we have reflected on our professional experience, considered relevant literature, analysed folk choir musical arrangements, and conducted interviews with our fellow folk choir leaders. With these methods we have examined the notion of ‘tradition’; the origins of ensemble singing; the social and political context from which folk choirs emerged; the bridges between folk choirs and other folk traditions; and the choir leader’s prerogative to preserve traditional melodies within choir arrangements.

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ANNE DAYE (Historical Dance Society) - Sweet and Ayry Activity: The Vernacular Dances of England c.1650 - 1700

Wednesday 24 February, 7.30pm

What was the dance historical context for Playford’s dedication of The English Dancing Master to the Gentlemen of the Inns of Court in 1651? This talk will explore the genius of the English people in devising new and complex forms of dance, not only the country dance but the hornpipe, jig, morris and measures, resulting in a vernacular dance culture of great sophistication. With the young men of the Inns of Court at the centre of the discussion, the journey of such dances from the people to the gentry, to the theatre and to the court will be traced.

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NATE HOLDER AND SHZR EE TAN - Folk Arts, Blackface and Race: a conversation with Nate Holder and Shzr Ee Tan

Wednesday 24 March, 7.30pm

Black British musician, author and educationist Nate Holder begins a dialogue with Singaporean ethnomusicologist Shzr Ee Tan about what the category of ‘folk’ might mean in British – and  beyond British – contexts. Some historical discussion of the nationalist and romantic/ nostalgia-laced underpinnings of ‘folk’ as a category (and its applications in multicultural/ international scenes from Japan to Indigenous Taiwan to Eastern Europe and the U.S.) will considered. We will also examine more recent debates on Blackface, Yellowface and race politics in contested expressions of ‘folk-as-Other’ and ‘Black-as-Other-within-Folk’. 

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ANNA GUIGNÉ (Memorial University, Newfoundland, Canada) - Maud Karpeles, Adventurer and Folksong Collector: A Reconsideration of her 1929 and 1930 Newfoundland Field Explorations

Wednesday 28 April, 7.30pm

In 1929, Londoner Maud Karpeles, a proponent of the early twentieth century British folksong and folk-dance revival movement, journeyed to the Dominion of Newfoundland to document British folksongs in England’s oldest colony.  From 14 weeks of fieldwork, carried out between 1929 and 1930, Karpeles acquired close to 200 songs and dances, later publishing her findings in a series of articles and the major publications Folksongs from Newfoundland (1930, 1931, 1934 & 1970).  Karpeles has always been a controversial figure for scholars because of her colonialist status and her sole focus on collecting songs of British origin. In this presentation Anna Guigné will offer a new consideration of Karpeles as an adventurer with the stamina and determination to carry out her fieldwork in a most challenging environment. When her entire collection of British song material is taken into consideration, particularly the fifty-two songs she acquired from Newfoundland’s remote south coast, we can also discern how and why some of the British songs she so diligently acquired are now part of the Newfoundland song complex.

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