This course will teach folk songs in choral, a cappella harmony. The songs have been carefully picked and uniquely arranged by Julu and Heg (Suthering) and are a combination of traditional folk and contemporary songs by influential modern folk songwriters. Every song is carefully selected and arranged especially for a cappella choral harmony – from easy rounds and loop songs to more challenging choral material which aims to help you expand your harmony singing skills.
Workshops will include singing and breathing techniques and guidance on how to improve your harmony singing skills which you will apply to an array of different folk songs. There will be opportunities to sing in smaller groups, and an informal singaround, facilitated by Julu and Heg, where song sharing is encouraged; particularly chorus lead songs where the whole group can be included.
As well as formal workshops and informal singarounds, there will be a cabaret at the end of the weekend where you are invited to perform something on your own or in a group if you wish. Most of the teaching will take the form of whole-group tuition and practice, with some opportunities for guided and self-led small group work.
This weekend is a chance to learn new repertoire and unique arrangements which you can take home, and be part of the Suthering singing community which promotes inclusivity, respect and encouragement!
Who is it for?
This is a course primarily aimed at participants with some previous harmony singing experience, choir singers, and those who feel confident singing in harmony, who want to build on their current skills, and hope to pick up some new techniques and repertoire along the way.
Heg and Julu teach by ear but sheet music can be provided if you prefer to have the dots. They can also provide lyric sheets for those who like to work with the words in front of them.
The course will follow our standard weekend timing, and a timetable of workshops and activities will be ready for your arrival at the Manor. You’re advised to bring a water bottle and loose-fitting clothing for the workshops, but you won’t need to prepare anything in advance.
Julu and Heg are folk duo Suthering. A couple in life and music, the pair met in a choir whilst living in Bristol. They moved from Bristol to Devon in 2019, just before the pandemic hit, in a bid to create a life more connected to community and nature. These themes can be found woven into their retreats as well as their own music and in their band name (which means “the sound of the wind through the trees”) which was inspired by the Robert Macfarlane book Landmarks.
They have taken the folk scene by storm with their unusual and fresh approach to folk. 2022 & 2023 saw them travel the UK extensively; from Penzance to the Scottish Hebrides and everywhere in between, putting them firmly on the map as one of the top folk duo’s in the country. Julu and Heg are true story-tellers who champion female characters, creating new narratives for women and unearthing the female heroines of folk. What sets them apart is their wonderful chemistry and charisma on stage, natural humour and two beautifully matched voices. With an unusual mix of cascading, dramatic piano; intricate, fingerstyle guitar; flute, whistles and harmonium, Julu and Heg bring an exciting take on folk storytelling with their evocative and distinctive sound. Their arresting a cappella arrangements have been memorable favourites with audiences.
Their debut album If We Turn Away, which was recorded and co-produced by Lukas Drinkwater, was released in February 2022. The album has received glowing press reviews and critical acclaim with radio play across the country. Folk Wales described the album as having “hard hitting, beautiful songs”. They are currently working on their second studio album with producer Sean Lakeman.
Their retreats are an extension of their own music. Each retreat encompasses their passion for community, a cappella harmony singing and their love and respect for nature. Here they share these passions with their participants, combining their skills in singing and choral techniques with their fantastic sense of fun and humour.