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EFDSS to celebrate Cecil Sharp’s folk music trip

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The English Folk Dance and Song Society (EFDSS) will host a series of special events in July to mark the 100th anniversary of Cecil Sharp’s voyage of musical discovery to America.

Taking place 14-21 July, the Appalachian 100 series will feature talks, workshops, a day-long conference and concerts at Cecil Sharp House in London to mark this key milestone in folk history.

Cecil Sharp first travelled to America in 1915 and in 1916 began collecting folk songs and tunes. His journeys around Appalachian states helped to preserve more than 1,600 songs and texts of music that originated in England.

Widely regarded as the most prolific folk music and dance collector, Sharp launched the English Folk Dance Society, which later merged with the Folk Song Society to become EFDSS.

Katy Spicer, EFDSS chief executive and artistic director, said: ‘Cecil Sharp is one of the most important figure in the first folk revival and this celebration will mark the start of his journey to preserve and share our folk heritage.

‘Without the efforts of Cecil Sharp and Maud Karpeles, many of these songs and tunes would have been lost forever. The Appalachian 100 series of events offers a range of unique events that will give people the opportunity to learn more about their efforts and enjoy some of the music that was uncovered.’

The week-long will include a performance and one-off workshop with the ‘American Songster’ Dom Flemons from the Carolina Chocolate Drops and a multi-media talk on the epic trip taken by Cecil Sharp and his assistant Maud Karpeles from leading ballad singer, musician and researcher Brian Peters.

There will also be a one-day symposium to debate the varying perspectives of the Appalachian music and culture over the 20th century, concerts from the Cecil Sharp House Choir and young roots musician Kaia Kater that will pay homage to the song collector.

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