SING – FOLK – SPEAK

Talking about dialect, place and identity in folk song

Dave Burland June 22, 2012

Dave Burland has been performing and recording since the late 1960s. He has ten albums to his name, some of which are the fruit of collaborations with other musicians. On the Songs of Ewan Maccoll (1978), for instance, Burland teamed up with Dick Gaughan, from Leith, and Tony Capstick, a fellow denizen of South Yorkshire. Like Burland’s debut solo album, The Dalesman’s Litany (1971), the Songs of Ewan MacColl includes tracks set in a variety of regions and dialect from different areas. Most notably, in Maccoll’s composition ‘Schooldays End’, the dialect shifts between Scots, Yorkshire dialect and Welsh English as the narrator of the song addresses miners in Scotland, the north of England and Wales respectively.

On Sunday, Burland will perform the title track from The Dalesman’s Litany, a nineteenth-century song in Yorkshire dialect that protests against the uprooting and displacement caused by industrialisation and urbanisation (follow this link for more information about the song). Dave will also perform ‘The Barnsley Anthem’, a text that he discovered in a chapbook and set to music. Like ‘The Dalesman’s Litany’, ‘The Barnsley Anthem’ combines Yorkshire dialect with a defiant attitude towards the iniquities of life in the industrial north. Burland doesn’t just play British folk songs however, but often includes American songs in his set. His work to date testifies to a longstanding interest in songs from different regions and a readiness to explore different voices and places through his music. It is this that singled him out as an ideal performer to play at Sing-Folk-Speak.

For information about Dave Burland, see the link to his homepage in the column to the right of this entry.

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