Emily Longhurst

Singing is a remarkable thing. Ancient and yet alive and present. Intangible and yet so tangibly affecting on many levels of our being. It is created afresh each time we sound our unique voice into the space around us and if we sing with others we participate in something that transcends us all. A harmony that resonates through us, changing us, and every cell of our being responds.

It is my great joy and pleasure, and a constant source of wonder, to work in a variety of ways bringing song and singing to different communities.

I facilitate a wonderful group of singers called Gathering Light. We learn part songs and rounds from around the world that express a love of life, deepen our connection to the Earth, to each other and to our own selves and create wonderful harmony. We celebrate the beauty and richness of the seasons and our inner experience of the rhythms of life in all it’s colours.

I teach English folk songs, particularly exploring those sung and collected in Sussex, some dating as far back as the 15th century and I currently lead a large and hearty group of singers called the South Downs Folk Singers who meet regularly in Worthing, Chichester and Lewes, and perform at a variety of festivals and events; Events and regular gatherings can be found here.

I also teach the rousing and moving sea shanties and songs of the sea. This has led to the formation of the Secret Shore Singers, a group who meet in Worthing once a month and in Littlehampton once a month, to sing and learn more of these great songs, and who also perform them at various events. This group is now being run by the lovely Jonny Mott: jonnymottmusic@gmail.com although I still teach these shanties at various workshops and festivals through the year.

I lead workshops teaching ‘catches’, the old name for rounds. These are among the oldest songs discovered in the British Isles. They are delightful songs, easy to learn, and are one of my favourite ways to experience the joys of communal singing. Singing the same songs that people of these lands sung perhaps 800 years ago is a very special experience.

I have taught singing and songs, to people of all ages, at the Weald and Downland Living History Museum, Halsway Manor international Centre for the Folk Arts, in schools and education centres, at the Shakespeare Festival, Herstmonceaux Medieval festival, and at a variety of other festivals, celebrations and events.

I have participated in a fascinating project with UNESCO exploring our Intangible Cultural Heritage. I have worked on a number of HLF funded projects exploring the history, folklore and song of the South Downs and the sea, and the work and songs of Hilaire Belloc and Lucy Broadwood.

All these projects reveal to me, time and time again how wonderful, natural, innate and essential singing is to us all. I hope to be able to encourage more people to find their voice and the joy they can encounter within the sounding of their own unique voice.





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