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Creating a New Song Cycle from Traditional Songs- Jo Freya

Creating a New Song Cycle from Traditional Songs - by Jo Freya

This pack presents the materials used and developed as an inspiration and starting point for a creative music making and song writing project with Year 9, 12 and 13 students from Branston Community Academy, Lincoln. It also includes the new songs created through the project by the students and performed as a contemporary song cycle based on the local tale of Mary Dimoline, and presented at The Full English national showcase Conference in June 2014.

You can see the video of the final performance piece by clicking on the video tab (rectangle with an arrow) at the top of this panel.

The project offered Branston Community Academy the opportunity to work with two established folk educators Jo Freya and Liam Robinson. Together, they worked with the Music Department investigating local tunes and songs within The Full English digital archive and other local collections.

The starting point for the project was the traditional song Rufford Park which was used as a spring board for telling the story of Mary Dimoline, a local character and thief who was eventually caught and kept at Lincoln Castle before being moved to London and then became one of 180 convicts transported on the Navarino, 5 October 1840. The tale of Mary’s life was put into song format by Jo Freya. The students then worked with the artists to develop their own song cycle investigating the context and motivation behind Mary’s actions, her trial, and imagining her reaction to life on board a transportation ship.

The project illustrated how students can create a song cycle inspired by local characters and events using existing traditional material, and also the potential of exploring around the story to create a piece of music that lasts for 15/20 minutes.

Rob Amey, the Head of Music at Branston Community Academy identified the benefits of the project as follows:

“For Year 9 students it provided a level of tuition and guidance that is difficult to achieve in a mixed ability class of 30 students. To the more able students it allowed the musicians to extend their musical skills, e.g. compose and improvise music in a supportive environment. For Y12 and 13 students it provided an opportunity to perform music in folk idiom which can be used for performance and composition units on their BTEC level 3 courses.”

More videos

Digital Archive records related to this item

Note that these links take you to the Vaughan Williams Memorial Library website which holds the full archival details of the material. Material on the Vaughan Williams Memorial Library website is not censored or expurgated and may contain material considered offensive by modern standards.

Maps on the Full English site related to this item

Note that these links take you to the Vaughan Williams Memorial Library website which holds the full archival details of the material. Material on the Vaughan Williams Memorial Library website is not censored or expurgated and may contain material considered offensive by modern standards.