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Melodeon evening classes          


2015 Traditional Music Day (updated)         


Stepdance Day 2015        


Percy West R.I.P.        


New email newsletter         


Melodeons and More 2015 (updated)         


More songs from King's Lynn       


Melodeon Makers 2014       


Film and sound clips       


The Full English       


Blaxhall Ship CD & film available       


Volunteering Opportunities       


New Norfolk Dulcimers        





Older News (2013/4)       


News Archive     




This page is updated regularly throughout the year, so do look back here, or alternatively, to receive our email newsletters (about four times a year),

please click here. You can unsubscribe at any time.



Latest news


 Melodeon evening classes


A new year and a new set of classes!


This term there will be two levels: Improvers, taught by Katie Howson and Beginners, taught by Ron Ross.


Classes run on a Tuesday night (7.30-9pm) in Stowmarket and the dates for this term are October 6th & 20th and November 3rd & 17th.


There are spaces available (and hire instruments) for Beginners, so now's your chance to get started if you've been meaning to do it and haven't yet got round to it! There may be spaces in the Improvers class, but priority is given to people who attended last term. Please ring or email before booking for this class if you haven't been before.


Classes cost £48 per term (a series of four classes, at fortnightly intervals) and are taught using a D/G melodeon. The cost includes learning resources and email support.


Please give us a ring on 01449 771090 or email us if you're interested.



 Traditional Music Day




We had some wonderful singers bringing a taste of their own localities to the 14th

annual Traditional Music Day on Saturday 5th September: Kevin & Ellen Mitchell

from Derry and Glasgow and Peter & Barbara Snape from Lancashire plus young

musicians Darren Breslin, Orlaith & Brogan McAuliffe, all of whom are All-Ireland

champions. Keeping up the Home Front was Proper English with a rake of good

tunes for the ceilidh called by the lovely Barry Goodman. We were pleased to

welcome back the talented and exuberant young melodeon player and singer 

Matt Quinn from Sussex. Matt generously stepped up late in the day to replace

original guest Ollie King, who was offered a fabulous opportunity in the West End

for the Autumn. Last but not least we had the inimitable Les Barker, poet, comic

genius who had his audiences rolling in the aisles with laughter.

This event was about so much more than the main guests though, with talks and photograph exhibitions, themed song events, tune sessions, opportunities to have a go at stepdancing,

playing instruments, and afternoon ceilidh, jig dolls stories and crafts for children ... and all in the wonderful setting of the Museum of East Anglian Life in the centre of Stowmarket. 


There were about thirty different events taking place around the museum site during the day, and in the evening there's just the one acoustic concert in the Tithe Barn, featuring all the main



Full details of the event are on our Traditional Music Day page.




 Lenny Whiting wins stepdance double!



On Sunday 26th July, 72 year old Lenny Whiting from Stradbroke pulled off a remarkable feat

of winning both of the annual dancing competitions held at the East Anglian Traditional Music

Trust’s Stepdance Day at Worlingworth Swan. Over two hundred people gathered to see some

of the best stepdancers in the region and more than twenty people took part in the two

competitions held during the day, with a further number of people joining in a beginners’

workshop at the start of the event.


The aim of the first competition – the Steve Monk Memorial Stepdance Championship,

held for the last 16 years in memory of Framlingham stepdancer and singer Steve

Monk – is to encourage anyone and everyone to have a go. Participants ranged in

age from five upwards, including thirteen year old Catrin Pena who has been dancing

since she was five, and Ella Beal aged sixteen, a previous winner. The Font Whatling

Traditional Stepdance competition commemorates Font Whatling, a well-known musician

and stepdancer across Suffolk and further afield, who played regularly in the Worlingworth

Swan and is for more experienced dancers, with the aim of to keeping the local traditional

style alive and in good shape.


Lenny has previously won both competitions, but never both in the same year! 17 year old

Dominic Smith from Wingfield came second in both competitions, so Lenny has some stiff

competition in future years!


The photo shows Lenny Whiting (left) receving one of his trophies from judge Brian Whatling.

Unfortunately due to a camera malfunction this year, this is not a current photo - it's from 2013

when Lenny last won the Font Whatling trophy! Anyone with photos from this year's competition

is asked to send us copies so we have a complete set for the archives.




 Percy West R.I.P.



We're very sad indeed to report the news that Percy West, stepdancer extraordinaire, died after some months' illness

on Saturday 25th July 2015 at home near Diss.


Percy was a great character, his cheeky nature expressed through his exuberant and energetic stepping style which

has inspired many younger dancers.


Thanks to Susan Bell for this wonderful photo which really captures Percy's style.


Below is the piece which we wrote for Percy's funeral, which took place in Diss on Thursday 6th August.

John Howson writes:

Almost forty years ago I was with the great melodeon player and stepdancer, Font Whatling, in Mendlesham Fleece.

We were sharing a packet of small cigars (as we often did) with our pints. Our conversation centred around the local

music and stepdancers and then the door opened and a slim, well-dressed man walked in. He acknowledged Font

and went to the bar. Font leaned over to me and said 'That’s Percy West, now that’s who you ought to see dance!'


It was actually quite a few years before I did see Percy dance - but what a dancer! We became friends and he told me about his family. I then discovered the recordings made by Peter Kennedy in 1956 at Friday Bridge, Wisbech of Percy’s father Frank Connors introducing his family tradition, and included in those recordings was a 13 year old Percy stepping to his father playing mouthorgan.


It sounded like a stunning performance and over the last twenty years I have seen many stunning performances from Percy. Whether it be at our Stepdance Day in Worlingworth or our annual Traditional Music Day in Stowmarket where the closing dance at the Stepdance Special always had to go to Percy, simply because nobody else could follow him.

Over the years we had many invitations to weekends away at festivals and clubs all over the country, but Percy was happy in the location he knew. I would have loved to have taken him to Dartmoor Festival to meet up with the Orchard family but it was too far. Fortunately he did of course eventually meet up with the great stepdancer Tom Orchard at our Traditional Music Day in Stowmarket and within minutes they had established that they were related.


But a few years ago, Percy and Doreen did agree to come for a weekend away in central London for the Keith Summers Festival. Percy was amazed that the welcoming audience knew about him and, as ever, he stunned them with his stepping. We all stayed in a posh hotel, paid for by the festival, but Percy confided in me that he had had little sleep in such an environment. What was probably the highlight of the whole weekend was when Steve Knights, who was driving the minibus for us, took us on a trip around the sights of London and we arrived, with immaculate timing, at the front of a traffic queue at Buckingham Palace just in time to see the Changing of the Guard!


But it was in the pub where Percy really shone, not just as a dancer but also as a raconteur. He was always the centre of the party, always with a quip and a joke particularly after a few bottles of his favourite tipple – Mann’s Brown.


Katie Howson adds:


As a musician who has played for many stepdancers, Percy was just the most exciting dancer to play for, however brief the burst of dancing was, that didn’t matter. The joy and humour of his dancing made playing for him the highlight of many, many occasions. I feel deeply privileged to have known him and to have had those wonderful experiences in such good company.


He has entertained and inspired many people and I really hope some of the dancers coming through now pick up Percy’s cheery and cheeky style as well as his steps.


There’ll be many a glass raised in Percy’s memory wherever steppers are gathered in future years.


Cheers, Percy.



 New email newsletter


In 2015 we went all digital with a whizzy new email newsletter, which we hope will keep you better informed about events and projects - do sign up and keep in the loop!


We send it out about four times a year to let you know what is going on at EATMT and alert you to interesting information and resources. It's in a nice modern format where you can click

straight through to things on the website.


To receive our newsletter, all you've got to do is click here. You can forward it to your friends too.



 Melodeons and More 2015



Saturday 21st March was another great day for melodeon and concertina players from across the region and the UK.


A lovely lively busy buzzy day of learning and playing and generally celebrating all things squeezeboxy. Over a hundred musicians led by a group of inspirational teachers produced some stunning music for the end-of-day showcase, outclasses only by the virtuosity on show in the Squeezebox Special concert in the evening featuring John Kirkpatrick, Keith Kendrick & Sylvia Needham, Mel Biggs and Gavin & Julie Atkin. The daytime classes also featured tutors Paul Scourfield, Terry Mann and Steve Dumpleton.


Full details of the workshops, other daytime events and the evening concert are all on the Melodeons and More page of this website.


In 2016 Melodeons and More will be on Saturday 19th March.



 More songs from King's Lynn


In October 2014, there was a fascinating day for those interested in traditional song, at Marriot’s Warehouse on the historic quayside in King’s Lynn at the invitation of Norfolk singer and musician Alan Helsdon. It was the first easterly meeting of the Traditional Song Forum, a national organisation which brings together people interested in the research, collecting and performance of traditional song. TSF meets three times a year at locations around the UK and each meeting has a programme of talks open to non-members.


The morning started with a round-up of Traditional Song Forum members’ research projects, followed by presentations by Alan Helsdon and Liz James on Ralph Vaughan Williams’ collecting in 1905/6 in King’s Lynn. After lunch there were tunes from Chris Holderness and Richard Blake - playing a dulcimer found recently in King's Lynn (below, second right) - and a walk to the Fishing Museum in True’s Yard, (below, right) where singer Joe Anderson used to live, before Katie Howson's talk on the singing fishermen of the 1950s and 60s with some of the newly rediscovered recordings to listen to, and finally some reflections on Norfolk singer Sam Larner from the renowned folklorist and collector Doc Rowe. After a brief gasp of fresh air and some very good fish and chips, it was back to Marriot's Warehouse for an evening of local songs, music and stories from Damien Barber, Katie & John Howson and Chris Holderness and Richard Blake.





1950s and 60s songs and singers


EATMT has worked with Alan and fellow singers and researchers Jill Bennett and Liz James for a number of years on the King’s Lynn material, since our first North End Voices project in 2005.
Alan led the “Northenders” schools project for EATMT in 2007. On the 2005 project, the song tutor was Chris Coe, and together we looked at some of the songs collected in the mid twentieth
century, as well as the earlier (and better-known) items collected by Ralph Vaughan Williams in 1905/6. In True’s Yard museum was a transcript of recordings made with fishermen in the 1960s by Mike Herring, but search as we could, neither EATMT nor Liz James and her colleagues in the King’s Lynn museums could find the actual recordings. Then, amazingly, Chris Coe’s husband,
Johnny Adams, a respected sound engineer based in Yorkshire, commented that he had been given some tape recordings of singers from King’s Lynn ... and ... they turned out to be none other than Mike Herring’s tapes of “Bussle” Smith (above, left) and “Slinger” Woods for which we had the transcript! This set us off on a quest to find out more, and we presented our findings and played some of the recordings at the TSF day. The recordings are now once more housed in True’s Yard museum, alongside the transcripts.

It was great to actually hear “Bussle” Smith’s rumbustuous rendition of the song best known as Dogger Bank, which was a favourite amongst King’s Lynn fishermen in the mid twentieth century,
and we are now sure that he was the same George Smith who sang on a BBC recording made in the Tilden Smith pub in 1955. Second left above is Charlie Fysh (and his wife) who sang on a BBC radio programme made by John Seymour in the 1950s - sadly no recordings of this have yet been found, but a detailed and lively newspaper report really gave a good flavour of his singing. The songs collected in King’s Lynn, together with oral history interviews and publications provide us with a unique opportunity to ponder the differences in repertoire between Vaughan Williams’ findings in 1905 and half a century later, when the old fishing community had begun to break up due to economic and social changes.

The 2014 research has now been added as Appendix 3 and 4 on the North End Voices research page.

Click here to visit the Traditional Song Forum website.



 Melodeon Makers 2014


Autumn 2014 saw the fiftieth melodeon built in Stowmarket, on the fifth Melodeon Makers course run by EATMT in partnership with Emmanuel Pariselle from Poitiers. Emmanuel is a designer of instruments and the only person brave enough to take on a group of ten people for a week, who each went home with a one-row melodeon at the end of the course. His original inspiration was an early twentieth century “Monarch” melodeon, of the style which was played by so many traditional musicians in East Anglia, which is why we first jumped at the chance to host this course in 2007.

Emmanuel prepares a lot of the parts in advance, including all the wood parts - walnut for this year’s batch - and the other components such as the bellows and reeds come from Castelfidardo,

a town in Italy where there are many small workshops and factories specialising in parts for melodeons, concertinas and accordions. During the course, the wood and mechanical parts are assembled and finished and the reeds are tuned.

The course had a rather dramatic start, as Emmanuel realised he had left some parts at home and they had to be flown with some urgency into Stansted! There were loud cheers when the parcel eventually arrived and all went well from there on, with tuner Theo Gibb arriving to get them all sounding good as well as looking beautiful! The right-hand photograph below shows the staff of John Howson, Emmanuel Pariselle, Theo Gibb and Katie Howson with the ten instruments made this year. We were aided and abetted by the most marvellous team of volunteers, whose help and support was much appreciated by the participants.


Click here to read more and for more photographs from the 2014 event.





 Film and Sound Clips


You may not have looked here for a while and we’d like to remind you what a treasure-trove of information we have on the website - not just details of forthcoming events, but many many articles about traditional music song and dance in East Anglia. Some of it may indeed seem like “hidden treasure” as the deeper you delve, the more you’ll find!


It may be a bit slow to load - we shall be redesigning sometime in the future to improve this aspect - but in the meantime we have added lots of links to sound files and film clips, particularly on the Stepdancing and Portraits of Traditional Musicians sections. You may be interested to see some 1980s footage of the Old Hat Concert Party with Billy Bennington and Oscar Woods playing and Ted Chaplin singing. A lot of our research is on there, mainly centred round our big projects over the last twelve years or so, including singers in King’s Lynn, Sudbury and Southwold, and closer looks at Ralph Vaughan Williams folksong collecting a hundred years ago.

We’ve also signposted all of Chris Holderness’s articles about north Norfolk musicians which are published on the Musical Traditions website. A good starting point for looking at all of this is the
“What are East Anglian traditions?” page. There’s also the music from the 1812 Bury St Edmunds tune and dance collection (Gray), articles about songs such as The Captain’s Apprentice, tunes such as The Perfect Cure and villages with musical traditions, including Mendlesham, Blaxhall and Worlingworth - some of these have been published in our newsletters, but there is much much more on here, and all in one place!



 The Full English




This magnificent project, run by the English Folk Dance and Song Society was completed in late 2014: the online archive has thousands of songs, dances, stories and tunes to be viewed at the touch of a button - or two!  The year-long project included community events and eighteen schools projects across the UK; the latter culminated in a wonderful day at Birmingham Town Hall in June, with varied and moving performances from children aged 4-18. Thanks to the EFDSS and photographer Roswitha Chesher for these photos of very different takes on molly dancing, from our two local projects in Cambridgeshire, led by tutors including Mary Humphreys and Katie Howson.


Mary worked in a primary school with Debs Newbold, teaching traditional songs, rhymes, dances and games, based around a true story. Katie worked with Kerry Fletcher, Paul Scourfield and Amy Holly with a brilliant group of 18 year old dance and music students on a piece involving both traditional and contemporary dance, based around the ballad Lucy Wan. The students learned about molly, step and broom dancing, using tunes from the region. The molly dance was used to represent the community, with contemporary moves expressing the breaking of social mores through incest and finally murder, from the song lyrics. Further information about this project is on the Education page.


Visit the EFDSS website to browse the Full English collection. The website also contains fantastic resource packs for teachers to use, developed through the Full English project.



 Blaxhall Ship CD & film available





The Ship Inn in Blaxhall, near Snape on the Suffolk coast, has a special place in traditional music in England. This month, some iconic recordings from the 1950s, made by folk-song collector Peter Kennedy, have been made available once more on the Topic label’s latest ‘Voice of the People’ CD series. ‘The Barley Mow’ includes the film made in 1955 as well as audio recordings of Cyril Poacher, Jim Baldry, Jumbo Brightwell, Bob Scarce, Geoff Ling and others, finishing with Jack French singing the title song.


Click here to read a recent article about the Blaxhall Ship.

'The Barley Mow' CD and film is available through our online shop or by ringing Veteran Mail Order on 01449 673695.









 Volunteering Opportunities



Last year we offered training sessions for people who would like to take our jig dolls out to various community event and show others how to operate them. We usually have several dates over the summer when we are invited to bring the jig dolls along to let members of the public have a go, so we need people willing and able to do this, plus a musician or two. So far we've got about half-a-dozen people interested, but there's room for more, so get in touch if you're interested and we can arrange some more training sessions.


We’re always pleased to welcome new people to the friendly and hard-working team of volunteers who help us out in a wide variety of ways. Volunteers help with stewarding and helping at events, checking tickets, making refreshments, putting up signs, taking photographs, helping with equipment and transport and with occasional office-based tasks. Please email us or give us a ring on 01449 771090 if you would like to help out in any way. Next opportunities are to help prepare and steward Traditional Music Day in Stowmarket. Do get in touch soon about this one!


We'd also like to hear from anyone with First Aid qualifications who might be prepared to help out occasionally at our events.




Above and centre: Jig dolls in action with volunteers and public; right: volunteers in action at Traditional Music Day.



 New Norfolk Dulcimers 


Many of you will already know of Norfolk’s tradition of dulcimer playing, with legendary names such as Billy Bennington and Billy Cooper. EATMT has been researching the lesser known players of our region and also the dulcimer makers, such as Mark Widdows from Norwich and James Caston from Forncett St Peter. In 2013 the name of Richard Blake was added to that list.


Richard Blake has lived in Melton Constable for many years, and has finally combined his skills of playing the dulcimer and cabinet-making to design a new Norfolk-style dulcimer which is now being produced professionally at Marcus Ashby’s workshop in Norwich. Here is Richard’s story:




‘Sometime last year, my brother, who is much more knowledgeable with computers than I am, suggested that he could turn the measurements that I had made, some ten years ago, of the dulcimer at Gressenhall Museum, into full size working plans that could be used by any cabinet maker. At about the same time I found Paul Hasluck's 'Violins and Other Stringed Instruments' * (published 1907) on the internet, this gave an accurate description of how dulcimers used to be made. Putting the measurements that I had made together with Hasluck's description we were able to take the plans to Marcus Ashby in Norwich who had the machinery to make the first prototype. This looked good and, when strung and tuned, played well. Most importantly it sounds like the real thing! Satisfied that the whole thing works, I have had the first batch of six made, which I am now fitting with strings and chessman bridges. I insist on tuning them the 'Norfolk' way: if, like me, you wish to play like Billy Bennington or Billy Cooper*, then you really do need those chromatic notes that the old tuning provides. As well as being essential for the two Billys' repertoire or the music from the Watson* manuscript, it means that the rare classical dulcimer repertoire is also playable. The dulcimers cost £700 each with an extra £50 for a soft case. I will also supply cane beaters in the traditional style.’

It would be great to see more people playing the wonderful local style of dulcimer, and the production of this new model makes that more possible! The dulcimers can be obtained from Richard at 26, Church Lane, Hindolveston, Dereham, Norfolk NR20 5BT, or talk to him on 01363 860100 or 07717 671946 or email at blakedulcimist@gmail.com


For further information about dulcimers in East Anglia, click here.




*Further information on sources referred to above:

Paul Hasluck's 'Violins and Other Stringed Instruments’ - www.wkfinetools.com in the ‘Masters Library’ section.

Billy Bennington - click here for a biography and here for details of the CD The Barford Angel.

Billy Cooper - click here for a biography and here for details of the CD English Country Music.

George Watson (1860-1944) lived in Skeyton near North Walsham. 80 tunes from his hand-written tune book are in ABC format in the manuscript room at www.village-music-project.org.uk If you would prefer to see these tunes in conventional format, Norfolk researcher Alan Helsdon will send you a copy at a very reasonable price.





If you're interested in dulcimers, you may like to know more about the International Dulcimer Congress which takes place in Malvern in the UK in October 2015.




Older News (2013/14)


Main News Archive


Back to Latest News



Older News (2013/14)


Traditional Music Day 2014       


Stepdance Day 2014       


Malcolm Taylor steps down       




Reg Reader       


Walter Pardon Celebrations      


 Cambridgeshire Capers      


EFDSS Archive Open Day       



Traditional Music Day 2014


Traditional Music Day 2014 was just a wonderful day, sunny and mild, a friendly buzzy atmosphere and fantastic music, singing and dance in every corner of the beautiful Museum of East Anglian Life site.

Traditional Music Day page has photos from past events.

Like Traditional Music Day on Facebook to keep up to date with developments.


Click here to see the 2014 timetable of daytime events.




 Stepdance Day 2014




The 2014 Stepdance Day took place on Sunday 27th July at the Swan Inn in Worlingworth, Suffolk.


Winners of the 2014 competitions were:


Steve Monk Memorial Stepdance Championship: Simon Harmer

Best Newcomer: Ron Frost

Font Whatling Traditional Stepdance Trophy: Simon Ritchie


The photo above shows Simon Ritchie (left) and Simon Harmer (right) in informal dancing after the competitions. Further photos are on the Stepdancing page.


It has been held at the Workingworth Swan for several years, as it is where the famed stepdancer Font Whatling lived, and the pub is still very welcoming to musicians and dancers (See Village Portraits page for a new article about the pub). Presentation of the engraved trophies was made at Traditional Music Day, during the Stepdance Special.


Our Stepdancing page here now has lots of links to video clips - do take a look!


In 2015, Stepdance Day will be on Sunday 26th July.



 Malcolm Taylor steps down




We are sorry to have bid farewell to one of EATMT's founding Trustees, Malcolm Taylor OBE, who has stepped down as EFDSS Library Director after 35 years working in the Vaughan Williams Memorial Library (for the English Folk Dance and Song Society).


It would be hard to overstate how influential he has been, inspired and tireless in finding innovative ways to make the collections accessible, through radio programmes, publications, events and, most recently, through several hugely impressive digitising projects.

Malcolm has been a trustee for the East Anglian Traditional Music Trust for over ten years. We are very grateful for all his hard work on our behalf, and send him very best wishes in his future endeavours and adventures, which started with a move to Singapore!


Further news and tributes to Malcolm's work can be found on the EFDSS website.


The photo on the left shows Malcolm receiving the BBC Radio 2 "Roots" award in 2012.


Laura Smyth has now been appointed as the new EFDSS Library Director. She has worked in the library for several years already and we are delighted to see her step up this new role and wish her all the best.






We're sorry to report the deaths of several EATMT stalwarts in 2014. Early in the year we lost one of our regular volunteers, Ray Dunnett, who, with his wife June, was one of our very first envelope-stuffers ten years ago, and they also helped out at our events until health problems made it difficult. We're very glad that Ray was able to come to last year's Traditional Music Day.


We were shocked to hear of the sudden death of Paul Johnson, melodeon tutor for EATMT and morris musician on Saturday 12th April, whilst sailing.


Only a week before that, dulcimer player extraordinaire Reg Reader passed away (see below). Sad days for the traditional music world.


 Reg Reader

Reg Reader, dulcimer player and personal friend, passed away on Sunday 6th April 2014 after being gravely ill for several months.

His dulcimer had been inherited from his great grandfather, and his grandson Thomas, now 21, took up the instrument when still at primary school. John and I first met Reg in 1977 and made a bee-line to his door immediately after moving to Suffolk a year later. He was a founder member, with us, of all the various Old Hat incarnations and dance bands Flashing Heels and Katie’s Quartet. He retired from band membership a few years ago but continued to play regularly in lots of local sessions, inspiring many other musicians, until his health began to fail.

A full obituary and numerous tributes to Reg can now be found in our Profiles of Traditional Musicians section.

Katie Howson

Right: Reg playing at the re-opening of the British Galleries at the Victoria and Albert Museum in 2008.










 Walter Pardon Centenary Celebration



A weekend of events is being held to celebrate the life and songs of Walter Pardon, one of the greatest of all English traditional singers, who lived in Knapton in north Norfolk.


Walter was born in 1914, but rarely sang outside his family circle until his “discovery” by the folk scene in 1974. He recorded several albums, received the Gold Badge award from the EFDSS and once travelled to the USA to sing.

Brian Gaudet is organising a programme of talks, films and singing sessions in North Walsham from 28th February to 2nd March 2014.

Saturday 1st March is the main day for events, including a concert at the Atrium with Martin Carthy, Damien Barber and Tim Laycock.

For further details, contact Brian Gaudet.

For more information about Walter Pardon, see EATMT Personal Portrait No. 2, published in 2003.


Left: Walter Pardon with one of the jig dolls he made himself. Photo by Mike Yates.


Please note that the 1975 newspaper article posted on this page in early 2014 has been permanently moved to Walter's "Personal Portrait" page - click on the link above to read it.




 Cambridgeshire Capers


Cambridgeshire was positively buzzing with folk development projects for youngsters in 2013/4!

First there’s a project being delivered by Gordon Philips and Mary Humphreys, working from note-books written by the folklorist Enid Porter, which are providing a wealth of inspiration for schools across the county. Click here to visit the project website.


Mary is also involved in the EFDSS ‘Full English’ project in Berwick Primary School, together with storyteller Debs Newbold. The aim of this project is to use local material from recently digitised archives to wider attention, and there are projects in primary and high schools across the country. The high school from our region is Impington Village College, where Kerry Fletcher is leading a dance project, together with musicians Katie Howson and Paul Scourfield, with sixth formers studying for an International Baccalaureate in dance. This is a groundbreaking project combining traditional dance with the ballad Lucy Wan and contemporary dance elements. Exciting stuff! Both these projects will be part of The Full English national showcase at Birmingham Town Hall on Wednesday 25th June 2014.


Impington Village College is also hosting a ceilidh band project over the next year.


Well done to Cambridgeshire County Council, The Museum of Cambridge (Cambridge Folk Museum) and Cambridgeshire Music Services for making these exciting initiatives happen.




 EFDSS Open Archive Day





Malcolm Taylor OBE and Steve Roud from the English Folk Dance & Song Society will be discussing and demonstrating the new Full English digital archive.


 Included in this are Cecil Sharp's notebooks, which are housed at Clare College, and which will be on display during this event. There is no charge but advance booking is recommended.


The open day is at Clare College, Cambridge on Saturday 8th March, from 10am to 12.30pm.


For further details of the day, visit the EFDSS website.


The photo, left, shows people at the Full English Study Day at Clare College in November 2013, looking at the Cecil Sharp manuscripts. Photo by EATMT.






 Instruments for hire and for sale


We have a number of melodeons available for hire by the month (within Suffolk, Norfolk, Cambridgeshire and Essex), and many people who do this also attend evening classes run by EATMT. They include two-row models in the keys of D and G, and also one-row models in the key of C. We also have some anglo-concertinas for hire as well. If you’re interested in hiring an instrument, please give us a ring and see when there is one available.


We are quite often contacted by people with melodeons for sale, so it's worth giving us a ring, if you're in the Suffolk area.

All come with original case. Prices are approximately 50% of new prices, so you can grab a real bargain!


Make & Model


EATMT price

Hohner Unsere Liebling (40)

C (1)


Hohner Tremelo (48)

C (1)



If you are interested in any of these instruments, please email us to arrange pick-up / postage (not included in price).


We have been given a dulcimer to offer for use. It’s a modern instrument, with continuous bridges, and therefore not in East Anglian tuning, but more in line with other recently made dulcimers. Get in touch with us if you're interested in either hiring or buying this instrument.




 EFDSS gold badge awards for EATMT directors


EATMT directors John and Katie Howson received Gold Badge Awards from the English Folk Dance and Song Society on 16th April 2011. The awards and citations were presented at a special event at Cecil Sharp House in London called "It's Just What We Do", curated by John and Katie Howson in aid of the EFDSS Vaughan Williams Memorial Library. The citation was read by EATMT trustee and EFDSS Library Director, Malcolm Taylor, and the badges were presented by EFDSS president, Shirley Collins.




The Gold Badge Award is one of the highest accolades

in the folk music world and nearly 150 awards have been

made since the first one in 1922. Many are or were

household names in the folk world as performers,

teachers or writers such as the Waterson and Copper

families, John Kirkpatrick and Shirley Collins. Others

are less well known as they have worked behind the

scenes, running events or researching songs and

customs; the latter category includes Cecil Sharp and

Ralph Vaughan Williams of course and, more recently,

Mike Yates and Reg Hall. There are not too many names

from the eastern counties, but they include Alec Hunter

(Thaxted Morris), Russell Wortley and traditional singers

Harry Cox and Walter Pardon. Full details of previous

award holders, visit the EFDSS website.






Katie and John were awarded the Gold Badge for their work with the Trust, fieldwork and collecting, the Veteran recording label and the many other contributions they have made to the development of folksong, music and dance over the last thirty years. Click here to read the full citation.



 Profiles of Traditional Singers and Musicians


There are now over 30 short articles in our series of "Personal Portraits" of traditional singers and musicians from East Anglia. These are all written by people who knew the performers, and contain a mixture of analysis and anecdote. Contributors to the series include Martin Carthy, Shirley Collins, Reg Hall, Roger Digby and Keith Summers, alongside EATMT directors John and Katie Howson. There are articles about legendary musicians Oscar Woods, Billy Bennington and Billy Cooper, singers Harry Cox, Sam Larner and Walter Pardon and many lesser-known people as well as the much-loved Old Hat Concert Party. Each article also contains a discography so you can find recordings of them too. In 2014 we have added audio and vieo links to many of the pages, so you can listen and watch as well now! Click here to reach the index page.

















Left to right: Harkie Nesling, Tony Harvey, Oscar Woods & Billy Bennington




 Online shop for East Anglian Traditional Music


Our website is absolutely the best place to find a huge range of recordings of traditional singers and musicians from East Anglia all in one place. There are also books and other resources and full track listings for all the CDs. The site offers a secure online payment system. New additions are detailed below, or click here to see what else is on offer:

    94-page book containing original research on the history of this instrument, plus photographs and profiles of a number of players such as

    Mary Bergin, Micho Russell and, amazingly, the author Arthur Ransome! (£7.99 + £2.00 p&p)


    Robert Clarke, the inventor of this instrument, was born and brought up in Coney Weston in Suffolk, hence our interest in the instrument!


    This collection tracks John Howson's survey of traditional music making in Mid-Suffolk and includes not only his

    contemporary recordings, but also fascinating archival recordings made by the few other collectors who ventured

    into the area. In 1993 these recordings were released as a double cassette. The original recordings, some made

    as early as 1958, are now housed in the National Sound Archive at the British Library in London so that they are

    archived for the future. They have now also been digitally edited and enhanced, using modern technology, and are

    now available for the first time as a double CD which consists of two 39 track CDs each lasting 75 minutes, giving

    a total running time of two-and-a-half hours. It also comes with a new 32-page booklet, which includes biographies

    and photographs of each of the performers, as well as extensive notes about the songs and tunes. To order a copy

    via our online shop (price £16.99 inc p&p), click here.


Don't forget our own publications:


Blyth Voices song book (2003, republished 2008): 48-page book containing songs collected by the composer Ralph Vaughan Williams in the town of Southwold on the Suffolk coast in 1910. It is also of interest to social historians, the local community and the many people who visit and love Southwold, as it includes original research into the singers, and descriptions of traditional music-making in the town throughout the twentieth century, together with a number of fascinating old photos. To order a copy via our online shop (price £6.75 inc p&p), click here.






Before the Night Was Out ... East Anglian music book (published 2007)


Through the twentieth century, music has been recorded from traditional musicians in Suffolk and Norfolk, and this book gathers together many of the most important and unusual of these lively dance tunes in a printed collection.

Before the Night Was Out aims to shed light on the way in which traditional music in Suffolk and Norfolk has thrived and mutated during the twentieth century, as well as providing a resource for practising musicians. "This outstanding book is … your best purchase of 2008, so far.” Rod Stradling, Musical Traditions magazine. For more details, click here.







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Have I Got Old News For You! (News Archive)




Do you like what we do?
Now would be a really good time to show your support and join the Friends of EATMT.


We’d like to encourage everyone who appreciates the work we do - whether it be this website, the events, the research and publications, the schools

and community projects, the exhibitions, the workshops and classes ... to join the Friends of EATMT and support our work into the future.

If you sing or listen to a local song, play or hear a local tune, dance or watch or stepdancing, at least part of that is probably down to the work of EATMT, which has been working to keep our local traditions alive and kicking into the twenty first century. If you receive a printed copy or an email version of this newsletter, it’s down to the hard work of our part-time staff and volunteers - and the same goes if you are reading this on the website now!

We are a small organisation but with a serious reputation for delivering professional projects and “punching above our weight”. We became a registered charity in 2000 and are governed by a board of trustees. Membership starts at £15 per year. Donations are always very welcome, a Gift Aid declaration helps it go even further, and we also welcome longer-term enquiries about legacies etc.

Please visit our
membership page to download a form. Thank you.



This page is updated regularly, and older news items are now archived on a separate webpage - click here.


Page last updated 15 September 2015



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