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Derek Gifford


Derek Gifford been singing folk songs for over 30 years and, since retirement from the 'day job', is now occupied as a full time folk performer. Apart from his many club and festival engagements Derek also gives talks and workshops on the music to a variety of audiences. He is a member of the committee of Folkus, the new north- west folk arts group, and is co-producer of the Lancashire Voices project dedicated to recording and archiving less well known Lancashire singers.
His style is based on the tradition but much of his repertoire includes contemporary songs which are written in the traditional idiom. Derek has set a number of Bury poet Keith Scowcroft's poems to music including 'When All Men Sing' which is fast becoming a folk song 'standard' across the world.
Whether accompanying himself on guitar or bowed psaltery or singing unaccompanied Derek's enthusiasm becomes contagious. Relaxed and confident, with sea songs, shanties and other chorus songs a speciality, Derek's festival and club performances are a real treat to encounter.
Derek Gifford is an experienced teacher and folk musician offering themed music lessons to primary and secondary schools.  
Derek moved to Lancashire to train as a teacher in 1970. He taught children with special educational needs for over 25 years - with music as a substantial part of his curricular activities. His final post before he took early retirement was as Deputy Head of a special school in Merseyside.  
Since 2001 he has been a guitar tutor and Board member of Folkus, the folk arts organisation of the North-West, during which time he has developed guitar courses for beginner and intermediate standard players of all ages.   
Since retiring from full-time teaching, Derek has worked with classes in primary and secondary schools, teaching multi-cultural folk song and specialising in calypso and antipodean songs. He has also developed themed sessions and class-based performances including:-  
Songs Around the World - an imaginary trip on a sailing ship to the Caribbean and Australia with geographical and social history references.  
Sea Songs - action based working songs and shanties from the days of sail with historical references.  
Australia - Australian songs from Cobber Gifford (complete with Australian attire) with geographical and historical references.  
English Traditional and Contemporary Folk Songs - songs to encourage the children to sing along, with materials for follow up by class teachers.  
Beginners Folk Style Guitar - Individual or small group tuition for a maximum of ten learners, building on Derek's Folkus experience.
Derek is able to offer the following talks to groups:
'Natural History in Folk Song' (a talk with songs and wildlife sound recordings)
'Birds in Folk Song' (an extended talk on the first section of 'Natural History in Folk Song')
'Songs of the Sea' (sea songs from around the world and their background)
'First Settlement' (an illustrated talk (with slides) on the landing place of Captain Cook (Botany Bay) and 'The Rocks', Sydney as it is today)
'The Bowed Psaltery' (Its history, songs and playing styles)

Contact Information
If you would like to book Derek or purchase one of his recordings
give him a ring on: 01695 625097 or Email
- derek@derekgifford.co.uk

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