Singers of all abilities are invited to join Hilary James and enjoy the pleasure of group singing as you discover the potential of your own voice. Explore the wealth of songs within the British folk traditions and beyond: from ballads to blues, sea songs to lullabies, comic ditties and more. You’ll be working largely ‘by ear’ with simple improvised vocal harmonies but for the more experienced, written parts for some songs will be available. As well as singing acappella, the group will join Simon Mayor’s mandolinists on Sunday afternoon to sing with mandolin orchestra backing!
‘Mellow Virginians’ Andy Baum and Richard Collins will be on hand to help with some of the lower harmonies.
This weekend runs alongside the Simon Mayor Mandolin Weekend – click here for details
Hilary, Simon, Andy and Richard will be performing as ‘Slim Panatella and the Mellow Virginians’ on the Saturday evening concert.
Who is it for?
Anyone with a desire to sing! You don’t have to have any previous experience for this course.
Hilary James’ first became entranced by folk music in primary school. The school, in the middle of a large council estate, was incredibly fortunate to have a music teacher who introduced the children to The Oxford Book of English Folk Song as well as the songs of Vaughan Williams and Thomas Arne. Discovering folk clubs in her early teens, Hilary went on to run the Reading University Folk Club alongside singing with the University Big Band and taking lessons with the late Margaret Field-Hyde, one of the greatest singers of Purcell and Vaughan Williams of her generation.
Hilary has recorded six critically acclaimed solo song albums including English Sketches, which appeared in the Sunday Times Ten Best World Music Albums of the Year. Her voice is quintessentially English but easily crosses the great musical divides from British folk song to blues and Berlioz. A multi-instrumentalist she is renowned for an unlikely taste in bass instruments (including her amazing giant mandobass). A fine guitarist, she accompanies Simon Mayor on everything from a Brazilian Tango to a Vivaldi concerto. She tours and records regularly with Simon, their mandolin quartet The Mandolinquents and with Slim Panatella and the Mellow Virginians, (western swing and American traditional music).
‘Mellow Virginians’ Andy Baum and Richard Collins will be on hand to sing lower harmonies.
Quotes: choose any to suit
‘One of Britain’s finest voices’ BBC Radio 4
‘Hilary James’ vocal radiates light and beauty’ Living Tradition
‘Songs were never sung as exquisitely’ FRoots
‘A voice like an angel’ Folk North West
‘As a singer of folk songs, Hilary James has no peer ’R2 Magazine
You can find Hilary at hilaryjames.com