Banner for Dick Holdstock workshop - 13 May, 2023. Produced by Maritime Folknet.

West Coast Sea Songs: An Afternoon with Dick Holdstock

Saturday, May 13th 2023
2:00pm – 4:00 pm presentation, and then 4:00 – 6:00pm singing
FREE (but come thirsty)

In-Person event at St. Andrews Pub in Greenlake
(7406 Aurora Ave N. Seattle, WA 98103)

A 2-hour (2-4pm) in-person workshop on songs from the days of commercial wooden tall ship sailing by traditional singer and author Dick Holdstock, followed by a 2-hour (4-6pm) sing for whoever wants to stick around. Hear about the history of harvesting of whales, fur, guano, and gold and join in on the songs Dick sings about them.  Dick will welcome those in attendance to share their knowledge of topics discussed and he will share with all his printed list of sea songs of the West Coast, from Cape Horn to Alaska.

Come thirsty and maybe hungry: The venue is a pub with both food & drink and we want to meet their food&beverage minimum to keep this event free!

Dick Holdstock is a well-known singer of traditional British and Sea songs, having played with Allan MacLeod and with his wife Carol Holdstock in several countries.

He grew up in Kent, England, and emigrated with his family to Southern California after WWII in 1948. Active in community service, Dick remains involved in progressive politics and civil rights. He is a veteran of the Korean War. He joined Martin Luther King on the March from Selma to Montgomery Alabama and Southern Christian Leadership’s Poor Peoples Campaign in Washington DC. Over the years, singing has been a major part of Dick’s life. In the mid 70’s he met Allan MacLeod, formed a duet and started performing mostly traditional Scottish and English folk music. Holdstock and MacLeod performed extensively on US east and west coasts, and other parts of US and Canada. They released five CD’s of their traditional songs – three of which are sea song albums.

Dick enjoys playing mandolin, bouzouki, and tenor banjo at local sessions, and in the Nauticus Sea Music Band that includes Riggy Rackin, Peter Kasin, and Shay Black. He also plays in Quite Carried Away, an English country dance band. Each of these bands have recorded CD’s.

In honor of California’s Sesquicentennial of the Gold Rush, Dick recorded his collection of Sea Songs of the Gold Rush with his wife Carol, and Tom Murphey. Carol performed during the 1960’s with Alan Arkin and Brooks Jones, and recorded an album called “Jeremy’s Friends.” Since the early 80’s Carol and Dick have performed together as The Holdstocks in California, Canada, UK, Germany and New Zealand. During a two month visit in 1992, Dick and Carol stayed in London where he collected broadside ballads at the Ralph Vaughn Williams Memorial Library in Cecil Sharpe House.

He has continued to expand on the collection which has formed the basis of his recently published book “Again with One Voice – British Songs of Political Reform 1769 to 1868”. The book contains 120 mostly broadside ballad songs with discussion of the tumultuous times that lead to the beginnings of British democracy. There are songs of the American, French, and Irish revolutions; songs of Wilkes and Liberty, United Irish, anti-slavery, Luddite, Captain Swing, Naval Mutiny, Anti War, Tollpuddle Martyrs, Chartist movements and passage of the British 1832 and 1867 Political Reform Bills.

MARITIME FOLKNET is a federal 501(c)3 non-profit organization dedicated to preserving maritime culture and history, and encouraging people to explore and participate in that culture and history. We do this primarily through the music that highlights our boats and the people who work them, especially in the Pacific Northwest.

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This project made possible by a grant from 4Culture