• Thirsty Work

This tells the story of a series of ground-breaking radio programmes from the 1940s. I have presented this to the Traditional Song Forum, Sidmouth and Whitby festivals, and a summary has been published in a book of the same name, by the academic folksong imprint, Ballad Partners. Many of these stories are published on my other website, Unsung Histories. Fully illustrated with slides and recordings from the original programmes.

  • The Heyday of the Dulcimer in East Anglia

First presented at the World Dulcimer Congress (2015) and subsequently at the  EFDSS Vaughan Williams Memorial Library and Sidmouth Folk Festival.  Fully illustrated with slides, recordings and instruments.

  • Traditional music, song and dance in East Anglia

“All Aboard the Charabanc” is the latest talk on this topic, which takes the form of a virtual coach tour, visiting the traditional music pubs of Mid-Suffolk and hearing singers and musicians from those locations. This was originally put together by my late husband John Howson and uses recordings made by him.

Other talks are available on the subject, based on 40 years of collecting and playing folk songs and music from the eastern counties. Fully illustrated with slides, recordings and live music if desired.

  • Vaughan Williams in East Anglia 

The quintessential English composer collected his first folksong in Essex in 1903 and went on to collect many hundreds more songs from rural singers. This talk can be generalised to East Anglia, Suffolk or Norfolk or more specifically to Southwold, south Norfolk, or King’s Lynn and includes much information about the singers and their social background. Fully illustrated.

  • Singing traditions in King’s Lynn

A look at singing traditions – folk and otherwise – in the fishing community of the North End, 1870-1970. Fully illustrated with slides and recordings.

  • ‘Up from the Sea’ –  singing traditions in Southwold

A look at singing traditions and relationships between the fishing community and visitors. Fully illustrated with slides and recordings.

  • ‘Jollyboys and Limberjacks’

An illustrated talk and demonstration about the history of the jig doll in the British Isles. This is based on the book I co-wrote with collector Pat Pickles, “The Brightest of Entertainers”, which was shortlisted for the Katherine Briggs Award  in 2019. Fully illustrated, with historic artefacts.

  • ‘Will the Real Paddy O’Rafferty Please Stand Up’  

The first in a series of talks looking at different aspects of musical items found on a barrel-organ taken by Admiral William Parry on his Arctic explorations 1819-1825. This one considers the relationship between dance tune, song and the Georgian stage in England, Ireland and the USA. Fully illustrated with slides. 

Future subjects which could be brought forward if I get an invitation! – 

  • ‘I Looked East and I Looked West’ – An Irish fiddler in Norfolk – Julia Clifford Fully illustrated with slides, recordings and live music.

You’re welcome to find out more – please use the Contact page.