Reading Group

This runs online as drop-in sessions led by members of the community. You will have the opportunity to discuss a variety of folk-related material, ranging from articles and blogs to albums and interviews. For each session, there will be two readings and/or media and you can take a look at either, or both. 

Everyone is welcome: No formal qualifications or academic background is needed - just an interest in folk song and traditional music. Attendance is flexible: come to as many or as few sessions as you like, depending on what suits you, or which topics interest you most!

Autumn 2022 - Boundaries and Margins

What is Folk?

Thursday 13th October, 1-2 pm

Some questions to think about:

Cole, Ross. 2021. The Folk Music, Modernity, and the Political Imagination. University of California Press, p8-13.

McKerrell, Simon. ‘Folk’ and ‘Traditional’ (definitions) Accessed 30 September 2022. (very long! Suggest you skim and look at bits you find interesting) (lesson summary video) 

Interestingly (?!) There is no definition supplied from folk organisations such as EFDSS, BBC Radio 2 Folk Show, English Folk Expo, or the Folk charts on how they categorise the work they do or materials they include in their programming. If anyone finds something that would be useful to share during the meeting, please do bring it along.

Further reading/listening:

Noble, Will, Noble, Cuthbert and Noble, Lydia. 2017 ‘The Brown Hare of Whitebrook‘ 

Sartin, Paul. 2012. ‘Bellowhead Sessions, Paul Sartin, Cock a Doodle Doo’ 

Thursday 27th October, 1-2pm

Some questions to consider in relation to the reading/listening: 

Main Reading:

Marsh, Hazel. ‘Romani/Traveller Music in the UK and Ireland - RomArchive’. Accessed 3 May 2022.

Le Bas, Damian. ‘The Travelling People 50 Years On’, 2017.

Maccoll, Ewan, and Peggy Seeger. Travellers’ Songs from England and Scotland. 2nd ed. Abingdon, Oxon: Routledge, 2016 [1977]. Pages 11-15.
[Click on “Preview PDF” on the website to download the reading]

Further reading/listening

Staelens, Yvette. ‘English Folk Music on the Margin - Cecil Sharp’s Gypsies’. In Sharing Cultures, edited by Yvette Staelens, 247–53. Greenlines Institute, 2011.

MacColl, Seeger and Parker, 1968, “The Travelling People”,

Le Bas, Damian 2017, “Searching for the Travelling People”,

Interview with Thomas McCarthy on the “Searching for the Travelling People” companion website 

Thursday 10th November, 1-2pm

Some questions to consider in relation to the reading/listening: 

Main Readings:

Davey, Merv., (2017). Folklore, Fakelore, and Tourism in Cornwall, Telynyor an Weryn Gorsedh Kernow Conference 2017 P. 2-5 

Wilks, Jon. (2022) “Fisherman’s Friends announce new movie”. Accessed 4 October 2022. 

Loo, Kevin. (2017). ‘Tracing The Irish Musical Influence On Ed Sheeran’s New Album ‘÷ (Divide)’’ Accessed 4 October 2022.  

Further reading/listening

Afonso, Jonathan. (n.d.) ‘When Indie Meets Shakespeare: Laura Marling’s Songs for As You Like It’. Undergraduate essay. pp. 1-4, p. 8 

Asimos, Vivian (2020) ‘The Folklore of Taylor Swift’. Incidental Mythology. Accessed 4 October 2022. 

Harris, Harry (2021) ‘Way beyond Hadestown: the windswept rush of folk musicals’ The Guardian. Accessed 4 October 2022.

Thursday 24th November, 1-2pm

Some questions to consider in relation to the reading/listening: 

Sturm, Bob, and Oded Ben-Tal. Let’s Have Another Gan Ainm : An Experimental Album of Irish Traditional Music and Computer-Generated Tunes, 2018.

Sturm, Bob. ‘Folk the Algorithms: Traditional Music in AI Music Research’. The Sound of AI (blog), 20 June 2019.

Discussion on forum after the reveal that most tunes on “Let’s Have Another Gan Ainm” was composed by an AI,

Further reading

Harley, David. “Review of ‘Ó CONAILL FAMILY AND FRIENDS – Let’s Have Another Gan Ainm (Digital release)’. 2018.

Sturm, Bob. ‘58,105 Irish-Style Double Jigs’, 2021.

Meddings, Rachel. ‘Rachel Meddings / My Work’. Rachel Meddings. Accessed 6 September 2022.

Thursday 8th December, 1-2pm

Some questions to consider in relation to the reading/listening: 

Main Readings

Cossu, Andrea., (2012). Chapter 2: There’s No Success Like Failure: Performance And Audience Mobilization In The Electric Turn, from/in ‘It Ain’t Me, Babe: Bob Dylan and the Performance of Authenticity’ [Book]. 

Ellis, Iain. (2021). ‘Folk Punk: Three Chords and the Truth’. Accessed 4 October 2022.

Author unknown. (2021) ‘What is Folktronica?’. TEDxTalks. Accessed 4 October 2022. 

Further reading

Ballet Folk 

Use the buttons below to view the topics and readings from past seasons: