David Burbidge


Smithy Cottage, on the banks of the river Clough, near Sedbergh, Cumbria


Folk harmony choirs, & workshops singing in Slovenia & on Lake District hills & Jura Scottish island

Additional information

I’ve led the Lake District choir Lakeland Voices for 30 years, and Bentham Voices in the Yorkshire Dales for almost 10 years – along with several hundred harmony workshops, singing holidays, and cultural exchanges. I teach by ear, by call and response.

My choirs

Bentham Voices

We meet every Wednesday in term-time to sing a number of easy to learn songs with harmony. We also have outings and walks to sing in the Yorkshire Dales – beside rivers and waterfalls, inside caves and in woods. Bentham is near Ingleton in Yorkshire – north east of Lancaster, east of Kendal.

We often meet with another choir which I lead – Lakeland Voices based in Kendal.

Session times

Wednesday evenings in term time from 7.30-9.30pm

Cowgill Folk Chorale

You are welcome to join our group of singers from Dent and Dentdale in the Yorkshire Dales who meet every two weeks for a couple of hours of singing round the fire in the Cowgill School House – not too far from Dent Station (but a long way away from anywhere else.)

I teach a variety of West Gallery carols, seasonal songs, arrangements of folk songs, wassailing songs…we tend to meet in the winter months. I send recordings of the harmony parts and scores for the songs in advance to singers for home study.

We also join the Community Orchard group in Dentdale for a day of Wassailing the apple trees in January, and join Lakeland Voices at the Dent Folk Carols weekend in the village of Dent at the beginning of December.

Session times

Alternate Monday evenings, 7.30-9.20pm

Lakeland Voices

We practise each Tuesday evening in the Castle Street Centre in Kendal, and have many outings – such as singing in a candlelit cave near Christmas, in pubs in Dent and the Lake District, and on walks through the Lake District and Yorkshire Dales. We sing in Slovenia (Sedbergh’s twin town is Zrece near Celje,) on the island of Jura and on top of many Lake District mountains.

We have been singing in Kendal and the Lake District for 30 years – having started as the Discover Your Voice class at Kendal Brewery Arts Centre.

I teach all the songs by ear – by call and response – and we mostly sing in a circle so that everyone can hear the harmony we create, and fully enjoy being part of that.

We do occasionally do concerts raising money for local causes, and this year 2023 will be the second time we have arranged the Street Choirs Festival where we host over 40 choirs of conscience – 900 singers – in Kendal for a weekend of concerts, massed singing, workshops, walks, and shared experience.

I was the first paid up member of the Natural Voice Network, and started Lakeland Voices in 1993 while I was apprenticed to Frankie Armstrong. In those days it was rare to find a choir in Kendal that wasn’t a formal choral society standing in rows and using written music, with the sole purpose of providing concerts.

We see harmony singing as a secular communion – where the singers all experience being empowered in their different voices, but united in the harmony we create.

Session times

Tuesday evenings in term time 7.30-9.30pm

My events

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