Talk

Echoes of Old Cumbria: Folk Music, Dance, and Song in the Lake Counties with Dr Sue Allan

12 July 2024
19:00 - 20:00

Come and join us for an evening of folk music, dance and songs in the Lake counties with Dr Sue Allan.

The literary legacy of the Lake Poets has largely overshadowed Cumbria’s musical heritage, yet there the county has a rich store of traditional music. Sue Allan’s lively talk, illustrated with both recorded and live music, reveals a unique repertoire of hunting songs and songs in dialect as well as fiddle tunes and dances bequeathed by Lakeland’s travelling fiddlers and dancing masters.

More than just ‘John Peel’!

If you thought the only song to have come out of Cumbria was ‘D’Ye Ken John Peel’, then you’d be wrong! Singer, musician and folk music scholar Sue Allan has unearthed over 500 folk songs from her native county, many with a history spanning more than 200 years. The songs include a unique repertoire of hunting songs and songs in dialect, sung at many a Cumbrian inn and ‘Merry Neet’ in days gone by.

The Lakeland fiddlers who plied their trade playing for dances the length and breadth of the Lake counties have also bequeathed us hundreds of lively fiddle tunes, preserved in manuscript tune books, with names like ‘Keswick Bonny Lasses’, ‘The Elterwater Hornpipe’ and ‘Whitehaven Volunteers’. Folk musicians today are rediscovering these tunes and bringing them back to life, and using them for our traditional country dances like ‘The Cumberland Square Eight’ as well as for step and clog dancing.

Sue Allan’s illustrated talk reveals the hidden musical history of Cumbria, with a feast of pictures, recordings of songs and tunes and live performance of traditional songs, tunes - and perhaps maybe just a little clog dancing …

About the speaker

Cultural historian Dr Sue Allan has been researching and writing about the music, customs and dialect of Cumbria for almost forty years, completing her doctorate on Cumbrian folk song in 2017. Co-founder of Carlisle and Throstles Nest morris teams, Sue performed with both and with the Ellen Valley Band. She also helped bring the county’s traditional music to a wider national, audience with the north Cumbrian archive recordings of Pass the Jug Round CD in 2002. She is, however, probably best-known in the county for her regular features on arts and culture in Cumbria Life magazine.

This listing is supplied by one of our museum partners and is not moderated by Art Fund.

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