Pete Morton has been touring the folk scene throughout Europe, North America and beyond for almost thirty years, performing his self penned songs of social commentary that are deeply embedded with music of these Isles, alongside original interpretations of traditional ballads. Throughout that time he has been highly regarded as one of the best on the contemporary roots music scene.
Sandra Kerr has been described as having ‘a long and distinguished career’ in Folk music. Trained by MacColl and Seeger in the controversial Critics Group, co- writer of the music for the much-loved cult TV series, Bagpuss, multi- instrumentalist, choir director, long time member of Sisters Unlimited, and much respected lecturer and tutor on the Newcastle degree course in Folk and Traditional Music, Sandra was recently awarded their highest accolade by EFDSS – the gold badge for ‘outstanding and unique contribution to the art of folk song.’
Dr Heather Blasdale Clarke is a dance teacher and historian specialising in Australian colonial dance. She has carried out extensive research in this virtually unexplored area of cultural history, and has received a number of local and international scholarships to further the research. In 2018 she completed a professional doctorate to examine the intriguing topic of early Australian convict dance. She is currently developing an online resource featuring the music and dances associated with Captain James Cook. By combining a comprehensive understanding of the many dance traditions relevant to early Australian history, she is able to bring a deep insight to this fascinating study. Heather frequently presents workshops and seminars, and regularly publishes articles on her website.
Martyn Harvey is an experienced and engaging caller who is known nationally as a ceilidh caller for festivals, ceilidh series, morris weekends and private events. A regular performer at Whitby Folk Week, he will be returning this year to call for the Themed Ceilidh alongside Jess, Richard and Nigel of Melrose Quintet.
Barry has worked as a caller with many of the finest ceilidh bands in the country. His clear but relaxed style of calling has made him a popular choice at folk festivals and ceilidhs nationwide, including Sidmouth, Towersey and Chippenham Festivals, and Oxfolk, Godalming and SHOCC Ceilidhs. Barry is also an organiser of Unicorn Ceilidhs in Baldock, Hertfordshire.
One of the UK’s most high-energy contra dance bands, Vertical Expression are well-known for delighting dancers at festivals and dance series across the UK, Europe and beyond! Their driving double bass and guitar foundation, layered with rhythmic fiddle and melodeon tunes and foot percussion, makes them one of the most danceable bands around.
In an exclusive for this event, their Whitby@Home dance will also feature a selection of the band’s favourite listening tunes and songs that they don’t usually get to play at gigs, to give you a break between dancing new dances specially written for ‘at home’ events by caller Lynne Render.
Lynne Render is a dancer and caller from Loughborough in Leicestershire.
She is a regular caller at local clubs and also calls for dances, ceilidhs and workshops at clubs and festivals throughout the country.
Lynne calls for dancers of all abilities and has worked with many well-known bands.
She has called at Sidmouth, Chippenham, Eastbourne, Whitby, Lichfield and Bromyard festivals, at Casterton, Southam and other dance weekends and is a regular caller for The London Barndance Company at Cecil Sharp House and the Alcester contra series. She also used to call at the Peeping Tom ceilidhs.
Lynne likes to call a mixture of American and English dances and is always on the lookout for interesting, but nicely-flowing dances to add to her repertoire. She firmly believes that a clear explanation will enable the less-experienced dancer to enjoy a good dance.
Rhodri Davies is a well-known caller for dances and festivals throughout the country, working in styles from Contras and Squares to Playford. During lock down he has been calling for on-line Playford and Contra events experimenting with the technology, with the opportunities that the on-line format gives and with adapting dances to the circumstances. He will be bringing some of that experience to the 2020 version of Whitby Festival.
Jim has been running the Shanty Sessions at Whitby Folk Week for nearly 50 years since first visiting the Festival in 1973. Having moved all around the town the sessions have found their home in The Endeavour on Church Street where they serve great beer and welcome everyone. Ably assisted by Graeme Knights the sessions run on a ‘come all ye’ basis where everyone gets a song (maritime of course) and the aim is to raise as much as possible towards the Whitby Lifeboat over the course of the week by voluntary donations, raffles etc. Over £30,000 has been raised in the last few years by session regulars and we hope the good work will continue this year. With ‘Outward Bounders’ at the beginning and ‘Homeward Bounders’ at the end of the week the theme changes daily as do the ‘surprise guests’. Come and join Jim and Graeme for a pint and a shanty or two and help raise money for a very deserving cause.
John Kirkpatrick has been dancing, singing, and playing his way around the English folk scene since he joined Hammersmith Morris Men in 1959 at the age of twelve. Displaying a rare skill on a variety of push-pull squeezeboxes – the melodeon, the button accordion, and the Anglo concertina – he has been fully professional since 1970, not only with vast amounts of solo appearances, but also in all kinds of duos, trios, and bands – including spells in Steeleye Span, The Albion Band, Trans Europe Diatonique, Band of Hope, lengthy stints with Richard Thompson’s Band, The Sultans of Squeeze, and Brass Monkey. In the mid 1990s he led his own John Kirkpatrick Band. More recently he replaced John Tams as the lead singer with folk-rock band Home Service, and now Mr Tams is back in the fold again, the two Johns share singing duties. Since the demise of Brass Monkey, John appears in an occasional duo with Martin Carthy – they were due to do a concert at Whitby Folk Week this year.
John is still an unrelentingly enthusiastic morris dancer, and started one of England’s most influential teams – The Shropshire Bedlams. And he still finds time to play for dancing, currently in a band with all his four sons – Kirkophany.
Out in the wide world John has contributed music, song, and dance to a great number of plays in the theatre, and to a lesser extent radio, television, and film. As a virtuoso session player his squeezeboxes can be heard on hundreds of recordings, and as a creator of new work in all these fields he has established an enviable reputation. But on his own live gigs you’re more likely to see him in his natural habitat pursuing his first love – traditional English music and song.
In 2002 – Made an honorary lifetime member of the International Concertina Association.
In 2003 – Awarded the Gold Badge of the English Folk Dance & Song Society for his outstanding contribution to English Folk Music.
In 2010 – Named Musician of the Year in the BBC Radio 2 Folk Awards.
Carol and Steve are experienced teachers, workshop leaders and performers based in North Lincolnshire. They are both involved in running Folklincs, a folk heritage project in North Lincolnshire, and the North Lincolnshire Youth Folk Ensemble.
They are currently devising a folk school for the North Lincolnshire area.
Carol has been directing the Whitby Folk Week Orchestra for about 10 years, Steve was always there to help but took over officially from Robin Garside when he stepped down from the orchestra a few years ago.
Vicki Swan & Jonny Dyer effortlessly blend traditional material with contemporary sounds.
Vicki and Jonny are two of the most versatile musicians of the folk circuit today, a On stage – and now online, the duo are recognised for the high quality of their polished concerts; not only by their charismatic singing and playing but also by their involving, winning presence and easy rapport, their polished delivery that genuinely respects their listeners, and their lively, informed backstories. The whole package.
Their performances showcase new interpretations of old songs alongside original self penned tunes and new contemporary songs that are entirely at home in the tradition. They have developed a sound that is both familiar and fresh. Strong believers in letting the music tradition live and breathe through sensitive interpretation, Vicki and Jonny allow the melody to sing without any constraints.
Be entranced by the haunting nyckelharpa, amazed at the cow horn (one of the world’s earliest communication devices) and meet some of the bagpipes that didn’t come from Scotland. Suitable for all ages, their evenings are packed with toe tapping tunes and songs of love, death, trains and dressing up (not always at the same time) all presented with sparkling gentle humour, lots of smiles and skilful musicianship.
Vicki Swan (Swedish nyckelharpas, Bagpipes of various sorts, vocals and flute)
Vicki studied at the Royal College of Music on the double bass. She also plays the various types of bagpipes, flute, recorder, piano and nyckelharpa (Swedish keyed-fiddle). On leaving music college Vicki started down the long path of folk music and was only seen on rare glimpses back in classical orchestras. You’ll find Vicki now inhabiting the troll ridden forests playing her Swedish bagpipes, bagging tunes for new books. Vicki holds the Zorn Bronze Award for the traditional playing of Swedish bagpipes and runs workshops and teaches the nyckelharpa around the UK.
Jonny Dyer (Vocals, Guitars, Accordion)
Composer and competition-winning guitar player; Jonny’s outstanding technical ability, coupled with a wide-ranging musical taste has made him a tireless and forceful musical innovator. Jonny has been singing choral music and playing soul, jazz and folk for as long as he can remember.
During the Covid19 lockdown Vicki has been creating a never ending stream of videos for the nyckelharpa community, culminating in the first ever World Nyckelharpa Day which spanned the globe from dawn to dusk. Jonny has been locked away creating an amazing sound creation spanning time itself from the dawn of music to attic jazz. It’s quite possible this epic masterpiece may not be finished by the time lockdown finishes.
Sleep Deprivation – 2020
Twelve Months & A Day – 2019
An Invitation to Dance – 2017 (with Purcell’s Polyphonic Party)
Paper of Pins – 2016
A Sound of Christmas Past – 2014
Red House – 2013
Mossy Christian is a champion fiddle player, singer and dancer from Lincolnshire, performing traditional songs and tunes on fiddle, melodeon and Anglo concertina.