East Anglian Traditional Music Trust



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Who are we?

The East Anglian Traditional Music Trust was founded in 2000 by the co-directors Katie and John Howson. As a charitable trust, it is managed by a Board of Trustees. Also part of the team are a part-time administrator, a large number of volunteers and our patrons ...










Katie Howson (Artistic Director & General Manager) is a musician, dancer, teacher and researcher. She has led English-style ceilidh bands including Old Hat Dance Band and Katie's Quartet and is a member of the festival band PolkaWorks. She has taught courses on melodeon and traditional music across the country, including for Hands on Music In Oxfordshire, Folkworks in the north east, and as far away as Aberdeen and the Netherlands. She is also a historian and ex primary teacher.


John Howson (Artistic Director & Archivist) is a musician, singer, researcher and designer. In 1984 he founded the Veteran recording label which is internationally recognised as the leading specialist in the traditional music and song of the British Isles. Veteran was originally set up to make available recordings John had made during fieldwork in Suffolk, but has since expanded to include archive recordings and active singers from Cornwall to Yorkshire. John's field recordings are now deposited in the British Museum National Sound Library.


Katie (melodeon) and John (banjo) started playing the local music alongside Oscar Woods in Suffolk and Billy Bennington in Norfolk in the late 1970s. Together with dulcimer player Reg Reader, they founded the Old Hat Concert Party in the early 1980s, which was a unique collaboration of traditional musicians, who became known all over the U.K. The East Anglian Traditional Music Trust is one way in which to ensure the music, singing and dancing reach a wider audience and carry on in the future. Much of Katie and John's work as directors of the Trust is done in a voluntary capacity.


In 2010 they both received the English Folk Dance & Song Society's Gold Badge Award for outstanding contributions to folk music - the full citation by Malcolm Taylor may be read here.


In 2017, Katie and John have announced their intention to step down as non-exuctive directors, and Katie has announced her retirement from the post of General Manager with effect from 1st October 2017. See the News page for further information.

Old Hat Concert Party in 2006 with EATMT directors Katie Howson (4th from left, melodeon) and John Howson (dancing, 3rd from left).



When we set up the Trust in 2000, we asked local singer and farmer Tony Harvey to be our patron. Tony sadly died in 2006, by which time we had two new patrons: Libby Purves and Paul Heiney, who are well-known broadcasters and writers with long-standing links in East Anglia. They have lived in Suffolk for many years and are great supporters of rural traditions.


In 2007 we welcomed four new patrons: Mark Murphy and Lesley Dolphin, who are both well known broadcasters on BBC Radio Suffolk, and Gloria and Trevor Buckley, who are involved in the running of three Traveller sites in the eastern region. All four are active supporters of the East Anglian Traditional Music Trust.


Co-directors John Howson (left) and Katie Howson (right) with EATMT's orginal patron and traditional singer Tony Harvey (centre).

EATMT co-director John Howson and Libby Purves at the launch of the Norfolk Playback project and exhibition in April 2005

Mark Murphy and Lesley Dolphin at the Friends of EATMT Christmas Party, 2007

Gloria Buckley presenting a trophy at the Stepdance Day, 2008

We were delighted to have Tony Harvey as our patron when we founded the Trust in 2000, but sadly Tony died in early 2006. Tony  was from farming stock in central Suffolk and had a deep involvement in the region's rural community. Growing up on a farm, Tony found some of the old farmworkers knew some amazing old ballads, and for the past forty or so years, he had been singing some of them himself. See the Profiles section of this website for further details about Tony.





At present there are five Trustees, who meet four times a year, but work throughout the year to support and promote the work of the Trust.


The board includes people with a wide variety of skills and experiences across the arts and heritage sectors, many of whom are also practising musicians, dancers and singers. Their knowledge and advice on matters such as funding and governance has proved invaluable in the development of the East Anglian traditional Music Trust.

Ivan Cutting has been with us since our inception and is a theatre musician, writer and director.


In 1982 he helped set up Eastern Angles, the regional touring theatre company for East Anglia, and he is now their Artistic Director.


Local tunes and songs have featured prominently in many of the shows.


Ivan also runs Playwrights East, a scheme for developing local writers and was awarded an honorary doctor of letters by the University of East Anglia through Suffolk College in 2004. Ivan is based on the Norfolk/ Suffolk border.


Peter Dodd is another of our founding trustees (all of whom are still on the board) and is an accountant specialising in charities and the entertainment industry.


He is based in Suffolk and was formerly Deputy Chief Executive for Suffolk ACRE and before that a charity tax accountant. 


He's also been seen behind a melodeon and underneath a flowery morris dancer's hat and is currently bagman for East Suffolk Morris.


Peter is the Honorary Treasurer.


Owen Garling is based in Cambridgeshire and is one of our newer trustees. He joined

the board in 2012, having been involved as a volunteer and adviser for several years previously.


He has worked in local government in a variety of roles and is currently a business analyst.


Owen is also a musician and is currently Vice Chair of the Board.



Miriam Stead is the third of our original trio of trustees.


She is based in Suffolk and was formerly Heritage and Arts Manager for Essex County Council. Before that she  was  Director of the Museum of East Anglian Life in Suffolk.


Miriam is the current Chair of the Board.


Lindsay Want joined the board in 2012 but has been involved in the Trust's activities since 2004.


She is a marketing consultant and copywriter, with experience in the tourism sector and also writes a regular column for Suffolk magazine


Lindsay is a busy singer and musician and has two talented stepdancers for children!


Another of our original trustees was Malcolm Taylor OBE, Library Director of the Vaughan Williams Memorial Library for the English Folk Dance and Song Society based at Cecil Sharp House in London. In May 2014, Malcolm announced his intention to step down as Library Director after 35 years working in the Vaughan Williams Memorial Library. He remains as an occasional advisor to the board.





We have an office within the Museum of East Anglian Life site in Stowmarket, Suffolk. Katie works there Monday-Thursday, and is joined on Thursdays by:


Alex Bartholomew, our part-time administrator, who joined the team in 2001 with no background in traditional music, but lots of enthusiasm. She still has bags of enthusiasm, and has also taken to folk music like a duck to water!


All in a day's work! Alex Bartholomew investigates an old custom at the EATMT

Winter Tales event in 2004. Wassail Cup made by Hedingham Fair.





We have a team of great volunteers, who help us regularly with preparing newsletter mail-outs and Friends information, and also with events, by setting out venues, stewarding, catering, fundraising etc. We also have a few people with more specialised talents, such as photography and music transcription. Do get in touch - we're always glad to welcome new volunteers!



Many of the photographs on this website have been taken by supporters of EATMT, including John Halliday, Paul Johnson, Chris Gill, Ayla Bedri, Susan Bell, Gayle Wade and Peter Gaskin.





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What are the musical traditions of East Anglia?

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