Farewell to Jan Ayres

We are very sorry to announce the death of Jan Ayres, who was a folk poet, the holder of Waltham Abbey Folk Club and the organiser of an annual Midsummer Sing, as well as being an avid member of many folk clubs.

Her friend Keith Kendrick has penned these words of farewell:-

Just a few days ago, myself and Sylvia and a great many others, lost a very, very good friend. We are all feeling the loss of an effortlessly kind, generous, good spirited lady – a lady with immense literal talent and a wicked sense of humour. Anyone seeing her perform or reading one of her fabulous poetry books will stand testimony to that. Frequently seen and revered over many years at a variety of Folk Festivals like Broadstairs Folk Week, Tenterden Folk Festival – including her own very special annual Folk Weekend in Essex and her own Folk Club in Waltham Abbey, she was a complete one-off and was known and loved by all who knew her. She will be severely missed by us all. Bless you Jan and R.I.P. They broke the mould.’

We offer our sincere condolences to all Jan’s family and friends at this sad time.

The future of Waltham Abbey Folk Club has yet to be decided.

The Music Plays On……

Freedom beckons and in the meantime, here is some great music to keep you entertained.

  • This Saturday and every Saturday at 10.00pm, Tim Edey treats us to a wonderful session of late night music. See his Facebook page for details
  • On Saturday 10 April at 7.45pm, Mike Silver is performing at the (virtual) Nub Sessions in Cornwall. Free to watch on YouTube
  • On Sunday 11 April at 7.30pm, Show of Hands are doing a special online reunion request show entitled Steve and Phil ‘Show off Sheds’. Details on their Facebook page and tickets available here.
  • On Friday 16 April at 8.00pm, Folk at the Maltings, St Albans will feature award winning young Scottish singer Iona Fyfe plus New Roots finalists Callum Granger and Oisin Kisdon-Ireland. Iona has become one of Scotland’s finest young folk singers, rooted deeply in the singing traditions of the North East of Scotland. She was the youngest ever winner of Scots Singer of the Year at the MG ALBA Scots Trad Music Awards 2018 and a finalist in the BBC Radio Scotland Young Traditional Musician of the Year 2021 award.
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Iona Fyfe

Tickets are £10 for individuals, £15 for two people using the same device, and £20 for three or more people using the same device. Concessions are £8, £12 for two people sharing the same device and £15 for three or more sharing the same device. Book at www.ticketsource.co.uk/stalbansfolkmusic. http://www.stalbansfolkmusic.org.uk and https://ionafyfe.com/

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  • On Saturday 24 April at 7.00pm, there is a treat for those of you who follow men in kilts. Skerryvore are preforming on board Fingal, a sister ship to the Royal Yacht Britannia. Tickets for the live stream include a virtual tour of the Britannia. Details on the Skerryvore Facebook page and tickets are available from Eventbrite
  • If you are interested in Morris dancing, you might like to seek out a book by Mike Salter which I’ve just come across. Entitled ‘All About The Morris’, this 88 page book with over 100 photos, describes each of the many forms of traditional and seasonal dance known collectively as The Morris. It also deals with references to early Morris going back to the 15th century, the collection of dances and tunes by Cecil Sharp and Mary Neal and others at the beginning of the 20th century and the rivalries that arose between them. It describes how performing of the various forms of Morris, Sword and Mumming had become an all-male preserve by the mid 20th century and how that situation has gradually changed since the 1970s with female teams now almost as common as male teams and mixed-sex teams currently the most common category amongst the 750 or so teams currently existing. Author Mike Salter, trading as Folly Publications, has been publishing his own books about old churches, castles, ancient monuments and walking trails within the British Isles since 1988. As a dancer, percussionist, hobby-horse and fool he has performed with many varied teams over nearly fifty years, most notably as leader of Madcap Morris. 

‘All About the Morris’ costs £8.95  plus £2 postage and is available by post from the author (see www.follypublications.co.uk) and at festival stalls run by Hedingham Fair and P.J Music.

I hope you are finding these updates interesting and the news of folk happenings is keeping up your spirits as we work through these difficult times. Stay safe and thank you for keeping music alive.