From: Folk Spots [folkspots_at_btinternet_dot_com]
Sent: 09 June 2008 16:31
Subject: "Birds in Folk Song"

Tenterden Folk Festival 2008

Friday 3rd to Sunday 5th October


“Birds in Folk Song”

With Derek Gifford


How many songs do you know that feature, or just mention, a bird in the lyrics?


Until recently I did not realise quite how many traditional and contemporary English folk songs do mention a bird, whether it be the regal swan, the black bird and thrush, the cuckoo, the crow, the parrot, or many,  many others.  Some songs mention more than one bird and some birds make an appearance in several songs.


“Birds in Folk Song” is an extended talk on natural history in folk song and is interesting and informative whether you are a folk music enthusiast, a birder or just like watching the birds in your own garden.  The format of the talk is that Derek will play various snatches of bird songs and chat about them with the audience as well as singing a selection of songs mentioning the birds in question.  He may also play a recording of an old source singer performing a little know version of a song. 


Derek’s research for project was inspired by a request to the general public from Mark Cocker who was editing Birds Britannica and asking for folk lore on birds. Being a folk singer Derek’s first thought was birds in folk song.  He sent the editor a collection of material but in the end he never used it!  Derek says the book is fantastic and I highly recommends it but despite there being little reference to any music in it.


Rather than waste the considerable research he had carried out, a series of shows developed which combine Derek’s two primary interests - folk music and birding.  Following the initial success of the show he wrote a follow up on similar lines called “More Birds in Folk Song” and I believe there is now a show called “Even More Birds in Folk Song” which shows how popular it is.  He is also looking into the possibility of a completely separate book being published under the title “Birds in Folk Song” so watch this space .......


Derek will be presenting “Birds in Folk Song” at Tenterden Folk Festival 2008.


Souvenir programme:

After the success of last year’s souvenir programme we are already accepting bookings for advertising in this year’s even bigger programme.


Festival information:

More details of Tenterden Folk Festival 2008 guests, accommodation and camping are now being posted on our website at


To receive our regular email updates send an email to info_at_tenterdenfolkfestival_dot_org_dot_uk with "add to festival news list" in the subject box.


Alan Castle – Festival Director

9th June 2008




Alan Castle


Trustee and festival director

Tenterden Folk Festival

Tenterden Folk Day Trust (Registered charity No. 1038663)

Promoting folk song, music and dance

E: info_at_tenterdenfolkfestival_dot_org_dot_uk



Folk Spots

E: alan_at_folkspots_dot_co_dot_uk