Review: Fascinating Folk, Tickhill Music Society

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At its recent meeting Tickhill Music Society explored unfamiliar territory with an evening of folk music presented by Martin and Shan Graebe.

They treated the audience to a wide range of songs, each one given an entertaining introduction. There were lovers’ songs, drinking songs, nonsense songs, mariners’ songs, and soldiers’ songs – and the audience enthusiastically joined in the refrains.

The songs were mostly sung unaccompanied, but for two of them Shan skilfully accompanied herself on the auto harp (a type of zither).

The Graebes are not only performers but also authorities on the pioneering collectors of folk songs of the late 19th and early 20th centuries.

Martin gave a fascinating account of the life of the Rev Sabine Baring-Gould, better known perhaps as the writer of Onward Christian Soldiers, but also a keen collector of folk songs, starting in his first parish of Horbury, near Wakefield.

In many ways this was a perfect evening – pleasure given in the singing of songs, and musical knowledge pleasantly increased.