Songs in Europe – UK Actionlogo idea

UK Action

Cumbria, UK

After arriving and meeting everyone the previous day, the first day saw the group spend some cultural time in Carlisle, which included a guided city tour before going to the cathedral for the first of our musical experiences to listen to the evening song mass, as choir songs had been one of the genres discussed during the skype meetings, and will ink in to future actions. We then finished the day by having a meal in the city, getting to know each other a bit more, before heading back to the accommodation.

The following day saw the group spend an afternoon in Keswick, for the group to see this lovely market town, but also so we could visit Castlerigg stone circle which sits above the town. When we arrived at the circle, it was decided that we would have a quick session of singing and dancing at this lovely site, with the circle as our back drop. We revisited songs we were taught in Turkey and one of the dances we were taught in Slovakia, all the while entertaining the public who had gathered to the circle on such a lovely sunny day. After this, we made our way to Rydal to meet with some future participants, Lynda and Jan, who would lead us in a singing workshop which would be located in one of the Rydal caves. The caves are manmade as a result of the quarrying for the roofing slate used in the area. These caves have amazing acoustics for singing and are used by local groups for sing meets.

After a short picnic by the lakeside in the very hot evening sun, Jan and Lynda, otherwise known as “Tan Yows”, then started off by singing some traditional songs from a variety of countries, including “Rose, Rose”, “The Glow Worm”, “My Johnny was a Shoe Maker”, “Crossing the Bar” and “All Things Are Silent”, sometimes with a guitar as an instrumental accompaniment. They taught the group “Rose, Rose”, and once the groups confidence had grown, they split us up onto groups and set off each group on rounds, starting the song after the previous group sang the first line.

During the workshop, we invited the Turkish group, who had brought a flute and clarinet with them, to perform some music and songs so Jan and Lynda could hear examples of the songs and music that the project has so far experienced. Lynda and Jan then finished off with a few more songs.

The next day, the group met Dave Camlin and some members of the community choir SingOwt! At the Kirkgate Centre in Cockermouth for a workshop in traditional Cumbrian songs. Dave started us off by introducing us to the members of the SingOwt! Choir, who were able to join us and then started warm up exercises. He introduced us to a variety of Cumbrian songs including “Place Where You Earned Your Name”, and got the group to sing rounds with “Rose, Rose” and “Bop You Bippety Boo!”. During the workshop, the Turkish and Slovak groups were invited to teach the group some of their songs – the participants who had been to their actions knew them, but this was the first time Dave and the SingOwt! members had heard them. The Slovak group also taught the group their dance that goes with “Tancuj, Tancuj”. After a break for lunch, Dave lead a few more songs, then decided to try and change “This Land Is Your Land” to include an area from each country represented in the group and the following chorus was created:

“This land is your land, High Tatras my land, (Slovakia)

From Catalunia, to Dubener Heide, (Spain and Germany)

From Cappadoccia up to Blencathra, (Turkey and Cumbria)

These lands were made for you and me”

This ended the workshop in Cockermouth, so the group were transferred to their next accommodation in Workington for evening meal and then we set off to meet Dave and others from the community choirs in a local pub for an informal evening of singing. We set off with Yellow submarine, Dave sang some of his own songs, Spanish songs were included and the Turkish group entertained us with some romantic songs. For some of our songs, the whole pub would join in and we were asked to sing “Happy Birthday” to a regular who was celebrating, which set off a long song including rounds of various other songs, which hopefully helped the celebrations!

The next day saw the Turkish group leave us and the rest of us went to a local festival, Sealy Spyatstock, to listen to a variety of music. The group listened to the acoustic stage mainly, hearing a range of cover bands, more traditional songs and own music, before heading over to the main stage to hear more of a metal/rock genre.  The festival ended the itinerary, with the remaining groups departing in the days after. We hope to meet some of them again during the action in Spain.

A video summary of the UK action can be seen here.


This project has been funded with support from the European Commission

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