The Traditions consultancy
Traditions is a new and diverse consultancy with a priority to provide a unique and personal service. It is based on the deep personal understanding of the folk arts built up over nearly thirty-five years by Malcolm Taylor OBE working within various aspects of the subject, as can be seen here. Traditions is a hub of knowledge which can be a provider, an advisor, a catalyst, a sounding board and a stimulus. Through Traditions lies a pathway to a wealth of specific knowledge and skills......
What Traditions can do for you?
There is much spurious information spoken and written about the folk arts, particularly about origins and actually what they represent. Many people are happy to believe this information, which is often based on no evidence at all!! The truth always gives a different and less 'mystical' slant, which undeniably grounds the folk arts among people and communities, elements of which persist to this day and evolve. Traditions is a consultancy to help guide you through this maze in that it will:
Provide expert knowledge and advice on.......
Provide ideas for projects, such as ......
Provide copy and presentations about .....
In July 2014 I stepped down from my post at the EFDSS, having completed nearly thirty-five years working with the folk arts. For the following two years I have been based in Singapore where partner Laura, a schools' librarian, has been setting up the junior and senior school libraries at the new Dulwich College there. As of 2 July 2016, we are back in the UK and I am raring to pick up the threads of my career here. However, as you will see in the News section below, I have not been idle during this time......
Latest Traditions News
BBC Music Day in Somerset
To celebrate this event on Thursday 1st June 2017, it was announced on BBC Radio Somerset that a plaque was to be placed on the cottage of Louie Hooper at Westport. Louie and her sister Lucy White sang 100 songs for Cecil Sharp when he was collecting music in the area in the early years of the twentieth century. Louie was also recorded by the BBC in the 1940's singing some of those songs and reminiscing about her meetings with Cecil Sharp.
I was asked by the EFDSS to say a few words on their behalf on the station's early morning show and provide a bit of background about Sharp and Mrs. Hooper.
The sound archive at Cecil Sharp House in London has all the above mentioned BBC recordings and the original manuscripts featuring the songs noted down by Sharp from Louie and her sister Lucy can be viewed as part of The Full English collection here.
As I Roved Out: the work of folk music collector Peter Kennedy
On Friday 31 March, 2017, BBC Radio 3 broadcast a live concert from Cecil Sharp House in London which featured a work inspired by the field recordings made by Peter Kennedy in the 1950s. In the interval there was a short programme about Peter's work in which I featured as a guest contributor (the others were Janet Topp of the British Library's National Sound Archive and David Attenborough, no less). Have a listen here to hear it. The interval is 46 minutes in.
In September 2015 I was engaged as a fund-raiser for Sussex Traditions, a charitable trust which, according to their trust deed, is dedicated to the:
........cultural heritage of the community who live or lived in and around Sussex, with their connections and context. Sussex traditions are to be discovered from the past, understood and enjoyed in the present, and handed on to the future. Examples of this cultural heritage include but are not limited to: Traditional and seasonal songs plays and stories, music and dance, speech and dialect, folklore and folklife, materials and artefacts, sports and games, arts culture skills and crafts, and other tradition borne activities customs and beliefs.
The funds required were estimated to be almost £30K and the target date for beginning was 1st April, 2016. Well, I am delighted to report that the funding target was reached, with all seven grant making bodies approached providing positive outcomes, including the ever-challenging Heritage Lottery Fund. With a lot of help and support from the Sussex Traditions management team, plus some personal guidance from funding guru Patrick Kingwell, the Foundation Project began as planned on 1st April 2016. Watch out for forthcoming publicity from Sussex Traditions on social media networks and other media sources.
For further information about the project (now completed), have a look at the Sussex Traditions website.
OAKE National Conference, March 2016
I was honoured and delighted to be the keynote speaker at the national conference of OAKE (Organisation of American Kodaly Educators) in Long Beach, California in March 2016. My talk was entitled, "It's Just What We Do!": identifying the role of folk culture in our lives today', and it focussed on our need to always keep sight of the source of folk culture - people. I did this by describing my own experience in finding and identifying the source in my own life and how what we regard as folk culture is something which, as the title suggests, is part of everyday life, rather than something which is found only in books or recording studios or on platforms. I left hanging in the air the argument about what constitutes high and low art in our societies, questioning the definition of such qualities in relation to educational and training methods of learning. The final piece of music played was of the Aberdeenshire traveller, Lizzie Higgins, singing the tragic song 'Lang A-Growing'. Here she is singing Gentle Annie, just a breathtakingly...
I attended a number of sessions during the weekend, of particular note one featuring the late Kentucky singer, Jean Ritchie. It was based on a the research of Kodaly specialist, Susan Brumfield. She was supported by a choir and Jean's son, Jon Pickow. Her book on the subject, which contains a CD of some of the earliest and final recordings oj Jean, can be obtained here.
I met a few old friends and also gave two break-out sessions about The Full English digital archive website. Everything went well and the warmth of my welcome and hospitality was very touching. Thank you OAKE and may your organisation grow from strength to strength.