Steve Roud at the BKA Spring Course

Steve RoudWhile we’re all thinking about the end of term tomorrow, I wonder what renowned folklorist, and creator of the Roud Folk Song Index, Steve Roud is doing.

He might be preparing for his sessions at the BKA Spring Course over Easter. After all, Steve is running three fascinating sessions over the four day course.

A Brief History of English Folk Song
Since the Second World War, the notion of what constitutes a ‘folk song’ has undergone so many changes that the term is now so elastic as to prove almost useless. But up to a hundred years ago, folk song was the most important part of the unofficial everyday musical culture of the people and was all around us. With the help of field recordings of amateur singers made over the years, we will explore some of the fascinating songs and singing styles that ordinary people used for entertainment in pubs and homes, at work and at play, before ‘pop music’ took over the world.

British Children’s Games: Past and Present
Contrary to what many adults think, children do still play, and many of their games are still ‘traditional’ in that they are passed on from child to child and down the generations. But children have always taken some of their play materials from wherever suits them, and nowadays the traditional games are mixed in with brand-new items based on the latest TV programme or learnt from YouTube. We will look at the changing state of play from Victorian times to the present day, and identify some of the main changes and continuities in that period.

The Full English and other Online Folk Song Resources
The Full English project at the English Folk Dance & Song Society made available online nearly all the major manuscript collections compiled by the Victorian and Edwardian folk song pioneers, and offers access to thousands of songs, dance and tunes from the English tradition. Used in conjunction with websites which offer sound recordings and the Roud Folk Song Indexes, researchers – whether beginners, enthusiasts or experts – have a wealth of material at their fingertips from the comfort of their own homes. We will explore these wonderful resources and learn some of the skills necessary to find our way around them.

If you want to come along for the full four days, or perhaps just a single day then book now at

The course runs from 7th to 10th April in Telford at University of Wolverhampton, Telford Innovation Campus, Shropshire TF2 9NN

I hope to see you there!