Folklife UK

Here’s a reminder of where to find the principle Folklife pages, even more important with the closure of Living Tradition.

David Harley

Trencrom – a Woolf at the Door

One of my friends on Facebook drew my attention to an excellent blog article from 2019 by The Cornish Bird about Virginia Woolf in Cornwall. While I was vaguely aware of Virginia Woolf’s connection with Cornwall and in particular with the Godrevy lighthouse, which partially inspired her 1927 novel To The Lighthouse (I’m going to have to reread it now), I hadn’t realized how large a part the county had played in her life. Nor had I realized that on a spontaneous visit at Christmas 1909, she recorded paying a visit to Trencrom hill, very close to the engine house that gives its name to this blog.

Wheal Alice and Trencrom’s Iron Age hill fort 

As Elizabeth Dale says in her article, Trencrom (or Trecobben) is indeed “a place full of history and legend”: I was very aware of that when I wrote the song ‘Cornish Ghosts’, which took shape while I was doing my daily walks around and on the hill. The next time I walk to the top, not many minutes from where I’m writing this, I’ll surely think of Virginia Woolf sitting there in the mist.

David Harley

Folklife West magazine

I’m no longer writing for Folklife West, but it’s well worth checking out for folk-related venue information as well as its articles..

David Harley

An interesting resource for folkies

Recommended to me by my friend Andi Lee (The Ashen): a Mixcloud podcast series by Jon Wilks at The Old Songs Podcast. Here’s the current listing:

  • Ep12 – The Old Songs Podcast – ‘Banks of Green Willow’, ft. Cohen Braithwaite-Kilcoyne
  • Ep11 – The Old Songs Podcast – ‘Lord Gregory’, ft. Burd Ellen
  • Ep10: The Old Songs Podcast – ‘The Leaving Of Liverpool’, ft. Jim Moray
  • Ep9: The Old Songs Podcast – ‘Myn Mair’, ft. Owen Shiers (Cynefin)
  • Ep8: The Old Songs Podcast – ‘Hal-An-Tow’ ft. Lisa Knapp
  • Ep7: The Old Songs Podcast – ‘Dives and Lazarus’ ft. Nick Hart
  • Ep6: The Old Songs Podcast – ‘Hard Times Of Old England’ ft. Billy Bragg
  • Ep5: The Old Songs Podcast – ‘An Acre of Land’ ft. Paul Sartin
  • Episode 4 – “The Sweet Nightingale” The Old Songs Podcast with Jackie Oates & Jon Wilks
  • Episode 3 – “On Humber Bank” The Old Songs Podcast with Jon Wilks & Ben Walker
  • Episode 2 – “Tam Lin” The Old Songs Podcast with Jon Wilks & Jim Moray
  • Episode 1: “Henry Martin / Lofty Tall Ship” The Old Songs Podcast with Jon Wilks & Nick Hart

I’ve been dipping in and out of UK and Irish folk music for many decades now, and am well-acquainted with most of these songs, but still found much to enjoy here.

David Harley

‘Floorsinging for Beginners’ update

Update to a tipsheet from the 90s that some aspiring singers might still find useful.

‘Floorsinging for Beginners’ is a slightly modified version of the document that has been available for some time from one of my personal blog sites and more recently on Sabrinaflu and this site. (And originally from another site – or probably sites – that I no longer have.) A version also appeared many moons ago in fRoots (at that time called Folk Roots: it was the issue from July 1998, No. 181).

At the time it was entirely focused on advice to floor singers in folk clubs, but some of it may helpful to people performing at open mics and such, too.

Version 1.1b incorporates an information update kindly forwarded by Paul Clarke of The last section is reproduced here so you don’t have to read the entire document, if you don’t want to. 🙂


[Thanks to Paul Clarke of for his update on the Brian Hooper booklet and Folk On Tap.]

Another area which seems to interest people is running clubs, especially in terms of MC-ing. Apparently Brian Hooper of Southampton published a booklet a while ago called “So you want to be a Folk Club MC”.

Paul Clarke tells me that “Brian Hooper’s book on MC-ing is still available, and I’m sure he’d post a copy in exchange for a small fee to anyone who asks … Brian is our longest-standing club member (about 45 years) and is the nearest thing we have to a “Mr Focsle” (or a Mr Central-South-Coast-Folk-Music, for that matter).  He was our immediate predecessor in running the club.” You can contact Brian via:

By George Publications
44 Janson Road
SO15 5GJ

Paul also tells me that Folk on Tap, formerly referenced here, is “long defunct, and won’t ever get resurrected, given the dominance of the Net as a resource for much of its material.”

Folk on Tap was published by SCoFF, the Southern Counties Folk Federation, a confederation of clubs from Somerset to East Sussex/Kent and from Bucks/Oxon/Berks to the Channel Islands including Dorset, Hampshire, Sussex, Wiltshire, and Surrey. Sam Satyanadhan, 3 Cranbury Road, Woolston, Southampton SO19 2HZ. tel/fax 023 80 570082. Paul says that “the Satyanadhans run the Woolston and Bursledon Folk Club, across town from us, and they must still have a lot of connections with others in the folk world.  They may have back copies available, of archival interest to some.”

I’ve retained this  information regarding ScOFF – slightly edited in the light of what Paul has told me – as a courtesy, but I won’t be adding contact information regarding other folk-related organizations and publications to this article unless it’s of direct relevance to the topics addressed here. However, I’ve also added the SCoFF contact info to the Links page here and to the Events Listings/Resources page, where it should feel more at home. 🙂 

David Harley