Frankie Armstrong is well known as one of
the pioneers of natural voice work, as well as being a gifted and
accomplished performer of
folk song especially the ballads - "The urgency and intensity
of her oft-unaccompanied singing cuts through the centuries, and holds
her audiences spellbound" (Ethel Raim).
Helen Chadwick's voice "revels in subtle contradictions
- rich with colour and vibrancy, and dark with the mystery of a profound
within her" (Sedbergh Lookaround). Helen has a special interest
in Georgian polyphony, has created arrangements for poems by writers
such as Rumi and Goethe, and teaches voice and choir at the National
Dessi Stefanova was born in Bulgaria and sang
and conducted with the Philip Koutev state folk and dance ensemble
before moving to England.
She leads several Bulgarian and Balkan choirs in this country and is
loved by her singers for her humour, her inspiration and - like the
music she teaches - her sheer vitality. She says: "Bulgarian harmony
singing gives voice to the heart and power to the voice".
Paul Guppy has become one of the country's leading
exponents of West Gallery music - the music and singing of country
churches in the 18th
and early 19th centuries as sung by the Mellstock quire in Thomas Hardy's,
Under the Greenwood Tree. He leads the highly esteemed Lancaster based
West Gallery choir, The Gladly Solemn Sound, and has set arrangements
this style to several poems and epitaphs. He makes and repairs musical
instruments, plays in jazz and folk ensembles and has taught at many
folk festivals and singing conventions. He is renowned for his skill
as a musician, his focus as a collector, and for being an entertaining
and informative teacher.
Village Harmony are a youth choir from Vermont, USA, who gave a workshop and concert in Sedbergh and Dent in 2000. They specialise in Shape Note music (which derives from English West Gallery music - it uses shapes in the written music and is sung with great gusto ) and Balkan music under the tutilage of Mary Kay Brass and Val Mindel.
The adult version of this choir, Northern Harmony,
are due on February 28th and 29th 2004 with their director Larry
Gordan. The workshops are lively and
even inexperienced singers find they can sing complex music with confidence.
Coope, Boyes and Simpson are well known as some
of Britain's leading folk harmony singers. They were the lead singers,
teachers and inspiration
behind the Christmas Truce 1914 sell-out concert in Dent in 2002,
singing alongside 80 singers drawn from community choirs in the region
and conducted by Janet Russel.
The Australian political choir Solidarity came to
Sedbergh at the start of the millenium and taught us songs from their
Nkosi Sikelel 'iAfrica (the South African national anthem) and I Feel
Like Going On.