Traditional Ballads
Sadie Damascus

This workshop is centered on sharing as many of the Traditional British (Child) Ballads as we can. These are very old, anonymous, narrative (story-telling) songs, such as Barbara Allen, The Great Silkie, The Cruel Mother, John Riley, or Tam Lin. Everyone who attends will have a chance to sing a ballad. Usually, each story is sung acappella by only one person, though there may be a chorus for everyone. A handout will be available to help folks translate and pronounce some Scots words found in many ballads.

Sadie Damascus grew up hearing ballads on records, mainly, in rural Vermont. She collects new and different versions of lots of ballads, and delights in synopsizing the story before singing it, to enhance understanding. She lives on the Russian River, where she copy-edits, grows herbs, and reads stories Sunday nights on Radio KGGV (streaming at