Roy Palmer Lecture 2020

Old Songs for New Folk
Interpreting the tradition for lay audiences
Jeff Warner
An online event hosted by the Traditional Song Forum
29 November 2020, 16:00 (London time)
Because of the Covid-19 situation it has been necessary to postpone the talk we had planned, ‘Brother Workmen: Solidarity in Trade Folklore’ by Jeremy Harte, until 2021.
We are delighted, however, to be able to announce that the well-known American performer, Jeff Warner, has agreed to give the 2020 Roy Palmer Lecture from his home in the USA as an online event.
His talk, 'Old Songs for New Folk' will describe his approach to interpreting traditional songs to audiences who are not familar with the genre and how using the stryle and delivery of traditional singers helps to get the story across. He will talk about choosing songs, the use of humour, and dealing with 'difficult' topics. He will play a number of examples live and from recordings.
Jeff Warner is one of America’s foremost interpreters of traditional music. His songs from the lumber camps, fishing villages, and mountaintops connect 21st-century audiences with the everyday lives – and artistry – of 19th-century Americans. Jeff grew up listening to the songs and stories of his father Frank Warner and the traditional singers his parents met during their folksong collecting trips through rural America. He accompanied his parents on their later field trips and is the editor of his mother’s book, Traditional American Folk Songs: From the Anne and Frank Warner Collection. Jeff has performed widely, from large festivals in the UK, to clubs, festivals and schools across America. He plays concertina, banjo, guitar and several “pocket” instruments, including bones and spoons.
“The scion of one of the nation’s most eminent families of folksong collectors, he represents a tradition that is fundamentally unbroken since preindustrial times”
(Stuart Frank, Senior Curator, New Bedford Whaling Museum).
Admission to the event is free, though it will be necessary to get a ticket through Eventbrite though this link:
The lecture is being hosted by the Traditional Song Forum as part of the 'TSF Online' series using Zoom. Places for TSF Online meetings are limited to 100 people, and it is now predicted that the number of people wishing to attend will exceed that number. We are making arrangements, however, to live-stream the meeting to YouTube. If you book after all the places for the Zoom meeting have gone, then please add your name to the waitlist and we will contact you with details of the Live-Stream in good time for the event.
All those who book for the Zoom meeting will receive an e-mail confirming your attendance and further information about the event the day before the meeting and soon after bookings close. The log-in details will be sent to those who have booked about 1 hour before the meeting.
If you are unable to attend, please let us know in good time so that your place can be offered to someone on the waiting list, if there is one.
We will look forward to seeing you for this, the fifteenth online meeting organised by the Traditional Song Forum. The session will last for approximately 90 minutes.
You can find out more about Jeff Warner on
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