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At the heart of English folk

Essex Folk Song Discovery

Many thanks to English Folk Dance and Song Society for bringing local folklore to life through the medium of song. It was fantastic to see the young people enthusiastically and confidently perform the songs they had learnt, and also give the context of why the song had been written. A great way of bringing local history to life. I am sure the young people will remember the occasion for many years. I hope others enjoy making use of the resources provided on this page with their own young people.

Peter Lovell, Schools Curriculum Standards and Development Lead Officer

We had students take part we wouldn't have expected to get themselves involved. It also tied in nicely to our curriculum - Year 7 and 8 have both covered World folk music this year. It was also excellent for students to experience music from their heritage/culture - the sea shanty from Mersea was particularly great as it ties to the seaside Maldon environment!  

Secondary Music Teacher, Maldon

The teaching was absolutely on target and at the right level. The children enjoyed the experience from beginning to end!

Year 4 Teacher, Saffron Walden

A three-year schools project, in partnership with Essex Music Education Hub, introducing folk songs and heritage to students in 24 schools across the county from 2016 - 2018

In 2016, Essex Music Education Hub (EMEH) approached EFDSS to create and deliver a singing project to bring together primary and secondary schools in the rural region of Uttlesford, with the aim of supporting their vocal strategy and increasing awareness of local cultural heritage.

Folk educators Aimée Leonard and Nick Hart delivered assemblies and classroom workshops in six schools in and around Saffron Walden. They taught songs from the area – about highwaymen, body snatchers, King Arthur and adventures at sea – to students ranging from Year 1 to Year 9. A sharing event was hosted by the beautiful venue, Saffron Hall.

The response to the project was so positive that EMEH commissioned EFDSS a second time, this time to deliver a larger scale project in the areas of coastal Essex. During the academic year 2017- –18, Aimée and Nick, joined by Maz O’Connor and David Delarre, visited eighteen 18 primary, secondary and SEN/D (Special Educational Needs and Disability) schools across the coastal regions of Malden, Rayleigh, Clacton-on-Sea and Canvey Island. They sourced a rich repertoire of coastal songs – songs about pirates and warships, fishermen and ‘cod-banging’ – and the students were proud to learn songs that and been sung in Essex for hundreds of years.

Essex Folk Song Disovery childen singing, dressed as pirates

Two resources have been created from this project and are available to download for free from our award-winning Resource Bank:

Essex Folk Song Discovery

Essex Folk Song Discovery: Coastal Songs

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