Workshops for festivals, music groups & institutions, vocational sessions for musicians

Paul James' workshops are about working together as a team to make a mighty big band noise that is more than the sum of its parts. Suitable for all ages, all abilities, any instrument. No prior knowledge of folk music necessary. Paul uses traditional dance tunes or modern compositions as a starting point & the aim is to create imaginative arrangements - using harmonies and riffs, textures and dynamics - that are interesting and fun to play, dance and listen to. Participants need to be of a standard where they can play a simple folk tune through at the right tempo, either by ear or by reading music. 

Paul also provides intensive workshops for more advanced players – for a day, a weekend or a whole week.

Paul James is a saxophonist, bagpiper, singer and composer from England, who makes music influenced by English and other European folk/folklore traditions. He is a member of the band Blowzabella and Paul James and the Drowned Lovers. Paul also leads the annual European Ensemble Music Weekend at Halsway Manor National Centre for Folk Arts. 

The Bookshop Band are Beth Porter  & Ben Please who offer a truly unique song writing workshop which can be adapted to many settings from bookshops (obviously), to vocational musician sessions, festival workshop series and many more. Using a chosen book as the inspiration to find a palette of words and emotions in response to reflect from one art form to another. A maximum group of 20 is advised, and all ages and skills level are welcome. 

The Bookshop Band formed in September 2010, releasing their first album in December that year. They have since released 13 albums each exploring a different theme in their responses to over 100 author’s books. They have toured extensively around the UK and abroad, from bookshops to festival main-stages, and have been commissioned by BBC Radio 3, The V&A Museum, The National Portrait Gallery and the Centre Pompidou in Paris, most recently writing two songs for the launch of Philip Pullman’s The Book Of Dust. They are currently working with The V&A Museum on a musical series of banned books.

Between them Beth and Ben bring the books to the stage along with a multitude of instruments, including cello, harmonium, glockenspiel, guitars and ukuleles which, along with their distinct voices, create a cinematic sound that draws the audience right in to a highly intimate performance, at once touching and mesmerizing, heart wrenching and funny.

Beth is also part for the Spell Songs Collective, working on the superb poems of Robert MacFarlane's The Lost Words, illustrated by Jackie Morris, which is on its second concert hall tour.

Erin Mansfield is an up and coming caller from London; as well as a dancer and musician. Calling for 2 years, Erin is making her mark and fast becoming popular and in demand in the ceilidh scene. With experience in many aspects of social folk dance: including ceilidh, morris, Playford and Scottish Country Dancing; Erin loves, above all else, the happiness and buzz of dancing done with joy. Now a regular at festivals, functions and ceilidh series, she is branching into delivering workshops for (particularly) new callers to develop their skills, confidence and realise their power in a relaxed and pressure-free environment. 'Becoming Callers' is due to debut at IVFDF Nottingham in March 2020!

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