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GUEST,EFDSS Maud Karpeles biog to be published (3) Maud Karpeles biog to be published 03 Aug 11

Biography of ground-breaking folk collector, teacher and dancer Maud Karpeles to be published

Singing and Dancing Wherever She Goes: A Life of Maud Karpeles
By Simona Pakenham
Published by EFDSS (1 October 2011) – Paperback – Illustrated – xii, 276 pages
ISBN 978-0-85418-216-9 £10

The English Folk Dance and Song Society (EFDSS) is proud to announce the publication of Maud Karpeles' biography, written by the late Simona Pakenham. A personal friend of Maud's, Pakenham has combined information from a number of sources: Maud's unpublished autobiography, notebooks, letters and diaries, supplemented by the reminiscences of many friends. At a time when folk music and arts are enjoying a visible renaissance, this book reveals the invaluable and unique contribution Karpeles made to the development of the folk revival, fieldwork, the evolution of the English Folk Dance Society (EFDS) and the life and work of Cecil Sharp.

In the history of fieldwork in folklore Maud ranks very highly, although until now you could perhaps be forgiven for not realizing this. A key figure in the life and work of Cecil Sharp, in whose shadow she has for so long been hidden, she is the unsung heroine of the English folk revival of the early 20th century. Maud was undeniably the major force behind the foundation of the International Folk Music Council in the aftermath of the Second World War and continued Sharp's exploration of the British song traditions in Newfoundland.

Speaking about this forthcoming publication Malcolm Taylor, Library Director of the Vaughan Williams Memorial Library, commented: "The Maud Karpeles manuscripts are in the archive of her beloved Cecil Sharp House in London – as, now, are the materials from Peter Kennedy's collections relating to his aunt Maud, which include the never previously seen photographs from her Newfoundland trips. Perhaps the time is ripe, using these primary sources, for a serious look at Maud's contribution to folk music and dance – brought out from the shadows of Cecil Sharp's towering frame and seen in her own modest, yet constantly glowing, light. I hope this book in some way serves that purpose."


Celebrate the launch of the biography:

As If Possessed: Celebrating the Life and Work of Maud Karpeles
Saturday 1 October, 1.30-4.30pm at Cecil Sharp House, London

Speakers include Georgina Boyes (author of The Imagined Village), Mike Yates and Derek Schofield. Tickets £5, available from

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