Traditional Song Forum

Zoom Meeting 17th May 2020

The first successful zoom meeting took place for the Traditional Song Forum on Sunday 17th May 2020. TSF is an open organisation and an excellent resource for anyone wishing to research and sing traditional songs. You are positively encouraged to join and support this forum. It’s an excellent resource. The meeting was chaired by Steve Roud.

There were 4 short talks will an opportunity to ask questions afterwards. From this meeting there were some interesting developments which some people may be very interested in so the brief details are here.

The first talk was from Bruce Lindsay – an author who lives in Norfolk and who has written a biography of not one but “Two Bold Singer Men and the English Folk Revival – The Lives, Song Traditions and Legacies of Sam Larner and Harry Cox” published by Equinox and due out in October 2020.

Bruce writes about the parallels and opposites of these two important Norfolk singers who were born “6 years and 15 miles of each other”. This is the first detailed biography of the two singers using extensive primary evidence, including recorded interviews. “It places their singing and repertoires within the social and cultural contexts in which they lived”.

We will keep you posted as to publication dates.

The second talk was from Gwilym Davies who is currently working on an article for the Folk Song Journal about Mouth Music for English and Welsh Step Dancing. In his talk, Gwyilym mentioned East Anglian stepping to diddling but has very little ancedotal evidence. He would love to hear from anyone who has “any memories or anecdotes of diddling for stepping but I feel that in the non-Gypsy community it has been lost from sight”.  If anyone has any information, any recordings of diddling for stepdancing and he asks specifically about the “Step it away” song or “Mandi went to puv the grai”.  You can either contact EATMT on and we will pass on the details to Gwilym or you can contact him directly by email:

The third talk was delivered by David Sutcliffe who talked about his work on the musicians involved with Cecil Sharp’s collecting. A website called Cecil Sharp’s People is available and linked to the Vaughan Williams Memorial Library at EFDSS. It is an excellent archive of singers, dancers and musicians who Sharp worked with in his collecting from 1903-1923 of English folk song and dance and you can search by county, singer, dancer or musician and it’s a delightful archive of the people who directly helped to facilitate Cecil Sharp’s work.

There are no records of Sharp collecting in Suffolk or Norfolk – it was presumed this was left to Vaughan Williams’ work in these counties, but there are references to musicians in Cambridgeshire and Essex and it is well worth a look at (

The final talk was “Song’s my father sang” by Martin Graebe. Another interesting talk with the reminder that memories need to be written down so the traditions can be continued to be preserved and promoted.

On Sunday 9th August, John Howson was one of the speakers. The topic being ‘Good Order! Ladies and Gentlemen Please, Giving the Songs Back to the Community!’ – The Eel’s Foot Inn, Eastbridge, Suffolk – 1939, 1947 and 2000.