Traditional Song Forum meeting, Newcastle, 20 October 2018

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Newcastle University

Newcastle upon Tyne


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On 20 October the Traditional Song Forum will be meeting in Newcastle as guests of The University of Newcastle. We have a full programme of activities for the weekend, a highlight of which will be the third Roy Palmer Lecture, which will be given, this year, by Sandra Joyce. The afternoon session will feature two talks from Sue Allan and Johnny Handle and Vic Gammon will interview another local resident, Dave Harker. Saturday morning will be given over to a networking session at which TSF members and others exchange information about their recent work and discoveries.

On Saturday evening there will be a singaround in the Bridge Inn and then, on Sunday morning, Barry and Ingrid Temple will lead a walk around Newcastle, looking at sights associated with its musical history

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Meeting Programme [Draft]

09:30 Tea, Coffee available

10:00 Welcome, housekeeping etc

10:05 TSF Business

10:20 Networking session

12:00 Lunch

13:15 Sue Allan, Robert Anderson ‘The Cumberland Bard’ (1770-1833)

14:00 The 2018 Roy Palmer Lecture: Sandra Joyce, He Travelled East and He Travelled West: The Contribution of Travelers to Irish Traditional Song

15:00. Tea break

15:20. Johnny Handle ‘The Northumbria Anthology and The FARNE Website’

16:00 Interview: Dave Harker in conversation with Vic Gammon

16:35 (approx) Meeting closes


Tea and Coffee will be available at the start of the meeting and at the afternoon break. Lunch will be available in the University Café or you can forage in the world outside.

Supporting events:

On Saturday evening, starting at 7:30, there will be a sing-around at the Bridge Hotel (Castle Garth,NE1 1RQ), home to the Bridge Folk Club which celebrates its 60thbirthday this year. All welcome to sing, play, or to listen.

On Sunday there will be a walk, led by Barry and Ingrid Temple, exploring some of the many songs and stories of Newcastle. We will meet at 10:30 on the corner opposite the Newcastle Irish Centre at the junction of Gallowgate and St Andrew’s St (NE1 4SG). This gentle walk will last about 2 hours and we will finish at the Bridge Hotel for a parting drink.

The Speakers:

Sandra Joyce, this year’s Roy Palmer Lectureris Director of the Irish World Academy of Music and Dance at the University of Limerick, which has twenty programmes of study from BA to PhD level. Together with Niall Keegan and Mícheál Ó Súilleabháin, she founded the BA Irish Music and Dance and MA Irish Traditional Music Performance at the university and has been the course director for both of these programmes. She has also led the development of many other programmes at the Academy. She is a founding member of the TradSong research cluster and has supervised a number of PhDs in the area of traditional song.

Sandra is a traditional singer and bodhranplayer. Her CD, produced by legendary musician Dónal Lunny and entitled Since You and I have Been: Songs of Love and Loss from the Irish Traditionwill be released in 2018. Her research interests include the Irish song tradition, the Irish harp tradition, and historical sources of Irish traditional music. Her co-edited volume, Harp Studies: Perspectives on the Irish Harp(with Helen Lawlor) was published by Four Courts Press, Dublin, in 2016.

Sue Allan has performed and researched the folk songs, dances and tunes of her home county of Cumbria for over 40 years, presenting a number of papers on aspects of regional dance and song in recent years. In 2017 she completed a doctorate at Lancaster University with a thesis on the region’s distinctive corpus of songs. The thesis highlighted the twofold importance of the work of Carlisle dialect poet Robert Anderson: his descriptions of music in rural Cumbria at the turn of the nineteenth century and his own songs in dialect, which were sung well into the twentieth century.

Johnny Handle has been singing the songs of the north-east for over 50 years and has written many songs celebrating the working-class culture of the area. He worked for several years in the coal mines, which proved the inspiration for many of his songs. He later trained as a teacher and taught children with special needs, balancing this with his performances as a solo singer as well as with groups including the High Level Ranters.

Dave Harker s a former lecturer in English and Trade Union Studies and was for many years a trade union officer. As well as editing the Open University Press ‘Popular Music in Britain’ series he has written a number of articles on working class history and culture of the north-east. He has published 13 books to date, most recently on performers from the north-eastern region

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Newcastle University

Newcastle upon Tyne


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