Yorkshire Folk Music – Keeping the Tradition Alive

This article is a collaborative effort, crafted and edited by a team of dedicated professionals.

Contributors: Andranick Tanguiane, Fred Lerdahl,


The Yorkshire folk music scene is thriving, with many traditional musicians keeping the centuries-old tradition alive. Here we take a look at some of the key players in this vibrant musical culture.

What is Yorkshire Folk Music?

Yorkshire folk music is a vibrant and living tradition with its roots in the medieval minstrelsy of the Yorkshire Dales and the North Riding of Yorkshire. It has been kept alive over the centuries by the people of Yorkshire and has been passed down from generation to generation.

The music is usually based on the traditional songs and ballads of Yorkshire, but it also includes tunes that have been composed by Yorkshire composers. The music is often accompanied by traditional instruments such as the fiddle, melodeon, concertina, mandolin, guitar and banjo.

In recent years there has been a resurgence of interest in Yorkshire folk music, with many people taking up playing traditional instruments and joining folk clubs and sessions. This has led to a new generation of folk musicians who are keeping the tradition alive.

The History of Yorkshire Folk Music

The history of Yorkshire folk music is a long and varied one, with the region playing host to a number of different musical traditions over the years. From the traditional ballads and dances of the North Yorkshire moors, to the more recent revival of morris dancing in the southern part of the county, folk music has always been an important part of Yorkshire culture.

Today, there are a number of folk clubs and festivals held across Yorkshire, helping to keep the tradition alive. The Yorkshire Dales Folk Festival, held in Hawes each year, is one of the biggest and most popular folk festivals in the country, attracting visitors from all over the world.

If you’re interested in learning more about Yorkshire folk music, why not head to one of the region’s many folk clubs? Here you’ll be able to listen to traditional songs and tunes, as well as chat to other like-minded people about all things folk!

The Instruments of Yorkshire Folk Music

Yorkshire folk music is unique in its sound and history. The music of the Yorkshire Dales and North Riding has been shaped by the landscape, the people and the history of the region. It is distinct from other English regional traditions in its use of certain types of instruments, which give it a character all of its own.

The most distinctive instrument used in Yorkshire folk music is the Northumbrian smallpipes. These are a type of bagpipe that have a closed chanter and drones (pipes that produce a constant note) set at a 45-degree angle. They are much quieter than other bagpipes, making them perfect for indoor playing, and their distinctive sound has made them popular with musicians all over the world.

Other instruments commonly used in Yorkshire folk music include the fiddle, melodeon (a type of small accordion), concertina, penny whistle and drums. The Northumbrian smallpipes are often accompanied by these instruments, which provide a rich and varied sound that is unique to this part of England.

While contemporary folk musicians are keeping the tradition alive, many young people are also interested in learning about and playing Yorkshirefolk music. This ensures that this important part of English cultural heritage will be passed down to future generations.

The Songs of Yorkshire Folk Music

The songs of Yorkshire folk music are steeped in history and tradition, and have been passed down through the generations by oral tradition.

The songs often tell stories of real events and people, as well as love, loss, work and play. They reflect the everyday lives of the people of Yorkshire, and are an important part of the region’s cultural heritage.

Many of the songs are humorous, and some are even bawdy! But all of them are a fun and interesting way to learn about the culture and history of Yorkshire.

If you’re interested in learning more about Yorkshire folk music, there are a number of resources available. The Yorkshire Folk Song Society is a great place to start, and they have a website with a wealth of information, as well as a library of songs that you can listen to.

You can also find plenty of folk songs on YouTube, or buy CDs from Amazon.com or other online retailers.

The People Who Keep Yorkshire Folk Music Alive

Yorkshire has a rich and varied musical heritage, and folk music has always been an important part of the county’s cultural identity. In recent years, there has been a revival of interest in traditional folk music, and a new generation of musicians is keeping the tradition alive.

There are many different ways to get involved in Yorkshire’s folk music scene. If you’re a musician, you can join one of the county’s many folk bands or participate in traditional music sessions at local pubs. You can also go to folk festivals and concerts, or attend workshops and other events run by Yorkshire Folk Arts.

If you’re not a musician yourself, you can still show your support for Yorkshire’s folk music scene by attending events and buying CDs and other recordings by local performers. By doing this, you’ll be helping to keep the tradition alive for future generations to enjoy.

The Future of Yorkshire Folk Music

The folk music of Yorkshire has a long and proud history. For centuries, people in the county have been producing songs and tunes that reflect their lives and times. In recent years, however, there has been a decline in the popularity of folk music, with many young people choosing to listen to other genres. This has led to fears that the tradition may die out altogether.

However, there are signs that Yorkshire folk music is enjoying something of a renaissance. In recent years, there have been a number of festivals and events dedicated to the genre, and a new generation of musicians is emerging. These young people are passionate about keeping the tradition alive and ensuring that it remains an important part of Yorkshire culture.

It is clear that Yorkshire folk music still has a bright future ahead of it. With the support of those who love and appreciate the genre, it will continue to thrive for many years to come.

Why Yorkshire Folk Music Matters

Traditional music from Yorkshire, England, has been passed down through the generations and is still performed today. The music is unique to the region and features a variety of instruments, including the fiddle, accordion, bagpipes, and bodhran.

Yorkshire folk music is an important part of the region’s cultural heritage. The music is a way to connect with the past and maintain a sense of community. It is also an important part of the regional identity.

Today, there are many folk clubs and festivals held throughout Yorkshire. These events provide opportunities for people to come together to enjoy the music and keep the tradition alive.

How You Can Get Involved in Yorkshire Folk Music

Many people might not be aware of the rich tradition of folk music that exists in Yorkshire. If you’re interested in getting involved in keeping this tradition alive, there are plenty of ways to do so.

One way to get involved is to join a folk music group. There are many different groups that meet regularly to play and sing folk songs from Yorkshire and beyond. This is a great way to meet other like-minded people and learn more about the genre.

Another way to get involved is to attend folk music events. These are often held throughout the year, and they provide an opportunity to hear some of the best folk musicians in action. Attendees also have the chance to buy CDs and other merchandise from the performers.

Finally, you can also help keep the tradition alive by sharing your own knowledge of Yorkshire folk music with others. This could involve teaching them how to play an instrument or simply sharing your favourite songs with them. Whatever you do, you’ll be helping to keep this important part of Yorkshire’s culture alive for future generations.

The Best Places to Hear Yorkshire Folk Music

There are many excellent folk clubs and music events which take place across Yorkshire all year round. Here are just a few of the best places to hear traditional Yorkshire folk music being enjoyed and kept alive:

-The East Riding Folk Music Society holds monthly meetings in Beverley, boasting a rich programme of traditional and contemporary music from Yorkshire and further afield.
-The Huddersfield Folk Singers Club has been running for over 50 years, making it one of the longest established clubs in the country. It meets on the first Monday of every month and visitors are always welcome.
-The Scarborough Fair Collection is a folk music museum which also hosts regular concerts and events. It’s definitely worth a visit if you’re interested in learning more about Yorkshire’s musical heritage.
-Ilkley Folk Festival is one of the largest and most popular folk festivals in the north of England, with four days of music, dance, song and workshops taking place every May.

The Best Yorkshire Folk Music Festivals

Yorkshire has a long and proud tradition of folk music, and there are plenty of opportunities to enjoy it throughout the year. Here are just a few of the best Yorkshire folk music festivals.

The Ilkley Folk Festival is one of the oldest and most respected folk festivals in the country. It takes place in late August/early September and features a wide range of local, national, and international artists.

The Settle Down Festival is a relatively new addition to the Yorkshire folk scene, but it’s already made a big impact. The festival takes place in June and features a mix of traditional and contemporary folk music.

The Beverley Folk Festival is another long-running festival that takes place in late May/early June. As well as featuring some of the best folk musicians from Yorkshire and beyond, the festival also has a strong community focus, with plenty of opportunities to get involved in workshops and other activities.

These are just a few of the many excellent Yorkshire folk music festivals – so get out there and enjoy some great music!

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