EFDSS Celebrates 80 Years of Championing Folk Arts
The English Folk Dance and Song Society (EFDSS) is in its strongest position in recent history and as relevant as ever, as it prepares to mark its 80th anniversary.
EFDSS will celebrate eight decades since the 1932 amalgamation of the Folk-Song Society, founded in 1898, and the English Folk Dance Society, founded in 1911, with a four-day festival at Cecil Sharp House in November 2012.
Landmark achievements in the past year have included being made an Arts Council England National Portfolio Organisation and gaining £585,400 from the Heritage Lottery Fund for The Full English project. This project will see the creation of the world’s biggest online portal of folk music, song and dance manuscripts, as well as delivery of a nationwide learning and participation programme featuring community and school events.
The charity has also strengthened its artist development programme to encourage and support established and emerging artists, has a thriving education programme and has increased the breadth of performances it promotes, in association with Songlines magazine, at Cecil Sharp House (CSH).
The Vaughan Williams Memorial Library (VWML), which houses many of the nation’s most important folk music collections, is a designated Museum, Libraries and Archives Council (MLA). It was described by the MLA as "central to the study of English oral traditions and customs, provides a comprehensive view of these subjects and that its collections have a contemporary as well as historical relevance.”
EFDSS is also a publisher and has worked on recent collaborations including The New Penguin Book of English Folk Songs (editors: Steve Roud and Julia Bishop) and Bert: The Life and Times of A.L Lloyd (author: Dave Arthur), with Pluto Press.
EFDSS President Shirley Collins MBE said: “For the last 80 years EFDSS has been successfully working at conserving, supporting and promoting English traditional song and dance.
“In recent years the Society has come on in joyful leaps and bounds in presenting English traditional arts at the welcoming venue of Cecil Sharp House, as well as being highly successful in raising the necessary funds for the Society to thrive.
“The current strong team of staff led by Katy Spicer brings a genuine breath of fresh air, vitality and commitment, strengthened by the support of the two most recent Chairmen of the board, Mike Norris and Alan James.
“The jewel in the crown, the Vaughan Williams Memorial Library, under the splendid direction of Malcolm Taylor OBE, has, by making its many-thousands-strong song collection so easily accessible, encouraged and inspired a great many young people to explore and take up this unique legacy of traditional music that belongs to us all.”
The anniversary festival, from November 1 – 4, of music, dance and song, will give a small taster of what EFDSS and Cecil Sharp House has to offer.
Highlights will include a one-off performance by EFDSS Vice President Eliza Carthy and friends on November 3 and an illustrated talk by EFDSS President Shirley Collins about Bob Copper’s book Songs and Southern Breezes (William Heinemann Ltd, London, 1973).
Other events are the premiere of the results of the Get Your Folk On! project, funded by Youth Music, and a family barn dance. Artist Alice Pattullo has also created an exclusive print for the anniversary.
EFDSS’ 80th BIRTHDAY FESTIVAL
at Cecil Sharp House, London
Twitter Hashtag: #EFDSSis80
Exhibition: 80 Years of EFDSS
October 2012 - January 2013, available to view during building open hours
An exhibition, on display in the main foyer space at Cecil Sharp House, charting the past 80 years of EFDSS.
Free (no booking required)
Alice Pattullo: exclusive limited edition screen print to celebrate EFDSS' 80th Price £50
Place an order email@example.com or 0207 485 2206 ext. 28
Songs and Southern Breezes: with Shirley Collins and The Copper Family
Thursday 1 November, 7.30pm
Bob Copper was not only part of a legendary singing family whose songs were first published in the very first Journal of the Folk-Song Society in 1899, he was also an award winning writer and folk song collector for the BBC in the 1950s. His second book, Songs & Southern Breezes, charts his collecting experiences in southern England where he met and committed to tape some extraordinary singers and songs. Shirley Collins, EFDSS President, who was herself a collector and whose voice has enchanted folk music audiences all over the world, will present an illustrated talk about Bob's collecting, to be followed by some songs and stories from the Copper Family themselves.
Get Your Folk On! End-of-Project Concert
Friday 2 November, 4pm
As part of this Youth Music project, this is a chance for friends, families and audiences to hear the students perform together after a week of learning and creating music with the EFDSS tutors.
Free (to reserve tickets, contact firstname.lastname@example.org | 020 7485 2206 ext. 23)
Saturday 3 November, 7.30pm
EFDSS Vice-President Eliza Carthy is a unique artist who not only looks back at the heart of English folk music but also has a fearless approach to modern music, often finding common ground between the two with genuinely stunning songs and tunes.
Family Barn Dance
Sunday 4 November, 3 - 5pm
Bring the family along for fun, lively dances from the British Isles, with a band and caller to help you along. These high energy afternoon events give budding dancers a chance to stake their first dance steps and spins. Live music inspires the dancing and expert callers guide the moves with simple instructions.
Dances are specially selected to suit children and adults of all ages, so everyone can take part. Groups should include a minimum of one adult for every four children. No unaccompanied adults.