Five people who have made key contributions to the folk arts are the latest recipients of Gold Badge awards from the English Folk Dance and Song Society (EFDSS).
Pete and Sue Coe, the musician and dancer who were founders of Ryburn Three Step, Maggie Fletcher, a leading musician on the English country dance scene, and long term EFDSS and folk dance volunteers and advocates Mike Wilson-Jones and Mary Wilson-Jones have all been chosen to receive the awards.
Gold Badges are given for unique or outstanding contributions to folk music, dance or song, distinguished service to EFDSS and/or exceptional contributions to EFDSS’ work.
They join an illustrious list of Gold Badge holders including EFDSS founder Cecil Sharp, composer Dr Ralph Vaughan Williams, performer/writer A.L. Lloyd, and musicians The Spinners, EFDSS President Shirley Collins and Vice President Eliza Carthy.
The Chair of the EFDSS Board, Alistair Anderson, said: “I am delighted that Pete, Sue, Maggie, Mary and Mike have been recognised for the important role they have played in their individual fields.
“They have all helped to inspire, support and inform generations of folk fans which enables the traditional English folk arts to continue to thrive. They are all very well deserved awards.”
For more information about EFDSS Gold Badge awards, go to www.efdss.org/efdss-about- us/gold-badge-award.
Pete and Sue Coe
This year, Pete Coe has celebrated more than 50 years of music making on the English folk scene. His contributions include traditional song research, song writing in traditional style, the founding of several seminal bands, plus solo and duo performances, dance calling, recording, field research, local folk activism in Ryburn Three Step and teaching at various levels.
He was the founder member and visionary force behind three particularly ground breaking groups – The New Victory Band, Bandoggs and Red Shift – all of which brought something new to the folk scene.
As well as developing a wide range of traditional songs for performance, Pete has had an illustrious songwriting career with many songs covered by other artists. His collecting of a single verse of Marching Down through Rochester with its Waltzing Matilda tune, and its subsequent
expansion to a full song has made him the focus of attention by various researchers in search of the roots of the famous Australian song. Most recently Mark Radcliffe featured his rather personal Rolling Down The Ryburn on his BBC Radio 2 programme, sung by Greg Russell and Ciaran Algar.
Pete has contributed a number of field recordings including Caleb Walker (musician for Manley Morris), travellers Charlotte & Betsy Renals and Sophie Legge, and Willy Taylor. He has carried out extensive research into the work of Frank Kidson, which resulted in a touring show and a CD under the title of Five Finger Frank.
Pete has also worked extensively in schools throughout the country as a visiting musician both on his own account and for the EFDSS on the Take 6 Project. He was also a founder member of Ryburn Three Step, along with wife Sue.
Sue Coe came to English folk music later in her husband Pete’s career and added her enthusiastic contributions with huge administration efforts within Ryburn Three Step. Sue provided all the administration including early funding applications as well as teaching Appalachian dance and the longsword side for Ryburn Three Step.
Ryburn Three Step organises a range of regular activities for local people including clog and Appalachian step dance classes, a singing group, a longsword dance side plus an offshoot rapper side, a mummer’s side, monthly folk club and dance, occasional workshop days plus weekly music sessions in the local pub.
She developed Ryburn Longsword over several years, recruiting youngsters from local schools and ultimately including their mothers in the dancing, resulting in a junior and a senior team. Along with team members she developed new dances with a local flavour and has presented the Ryburn team regularly at dance festivals.
Sue continues to run weekly workshops for disabled and wheelchair bound youngsters, developing dances suitable for their abilities and providing for them a very necessary inclusion.