Thursday 4 March: ‘Diddling’ Workshop with Rowan Rheingans plus Eurosession

We’ll be raising voices as well as spirits in March, making ‘mouth music’ for dancing.

On Thursday 4 March, we have a singing for dancing workshop with the wonderful Rowan Rheingans – see below. After the workshop we’ll continue on with our Eurosession to play tunes, enjoy dancing and see some friendly faces – and this month we’ll have a breakout room for chatting too.
NB, We’ll be a week earlier than usual – the first Thursday rather than the second Thursday of the month.

Workshop and session times:
7:30pm – 9:00 pm GMT – Singing workshop  
9:00 – 11:00 pm GMT – Eurosession

Session access and donations:
To to obtain the Zoom details, please pay/donate via our dedicated donations page at We ask for a minimum payment of £2, but if you enjoy our sessions, we suggest you donate £5 or £10 so we can offer musicians and dance teachers fair payment.

Finding your way around:
You’ll have the option to join and leave Zoom breakout rooms to move between the session, workshop, and the bar. See our quick guide if you get stuck.

If you plan to share a tune
It may sound better if you turn on the Original Sound feature when playing – please check out the Zoom Help about how to enable this this in your Zoom settings.

About the workshop: 

Diddling’ Workshop with Rowan Rheingans: an introduction to singing dance tunes

Rowan Rheingans playing fiddle and singing

Across Europe and elsewhere in the world, mouth music (singing wordless tunes) is a common part of folk traditions. The tradition of mouth music isn’t so well documented in England, but in Ireland and Scotland it is still very much alive. And down south in France or up north in Sweden, folk dances are still sometimes danced to a solo singer or a group of singers. It’s a great way to keep a dance moving if instruments aren’t available or to be able to join in with tunes if you don’t play an instrument! 

In this workshop, Rowan will introduce you to using your voice as an instrument for dance tunes. There are vast possibilities beyond just humming a tune! After a vocal warm up, we’ll learn a dance tune by ear and explore how we might approach singing it in our own way. In the workshop, we’ll also listen to some examples of mouth music from different places and we’ll look at a few tools and techniques for singing in a way that is just as exciting as playing a tune on an instrument. 

You don’t need any experience at all for this workshop – just an open mind. Everything will be taught by ear and you’ll be able to make recordings of anything we learn too. 

Rowan Rheingans is an award-winning singer, multi-instrumentalist, songwriter and theatre-maker. Best known for her work with acclaimed bands Lady Maisery, The Rheingans Sisters and Songs of Separation, Rowan has won two BBC Radio 2 Folk Awards (‘Best Original Track’ in 2016 & ‘Best Album’ in 2017) and is a six-times nominee. Her duo The Rheingans Sisters were recent nominees for the prestigious ‘Best Duo/Band’ award at the 2019 BBC Radio 2 Folk Awards.  

Rowan’s interest in mouth music, or ‘diddling’ as it’s sometimes called in England, began when she was studying the fiddle in Sweden and for the first time came across solo singers holding captivated a whole floor of dancers or audience with tunes rather than songs. She is an experienced folk music educator, running popular singing courses and workshops as part of her trio Lady Maisery. 

Tips for enjoying the evening

The rest of the evening should provide the same experience as the our previous virtual sessions – marvellous musicians, delicious dancing, and a bit of chatting. Here are some tips for maximum enjoyment:

You can switch views in Zoom between one individual and all participants using the Speaker view / Gallery view buttons (for help see How-Do-I-Change-The-Video-Layout.  
Please mute your audio when you are not speaking / leading the music, and use the Chat feature for background communication.
This month, for the first time, we’re planning to offer a breakout room for chatting alongside the workshop and session. You can choose when to come and go between rooms, but please try to minimise disruption e.g. to a workshop, tune, or conversation in progress as you shift between rooms. See help about Self-selecting a Breakout Room

In our sessions we play tunes for dancing, prioritising dances from the balfolk scene and other traditional genres from across Europe (preferably not English and Irish, because we have plenty of those in other local sessions!).
In the Zoom sessions, only one person (or device) can broadcast at any one time; if you want to play a tune then put a note in the chat about the genre of dance you’ll be playing for – this will help the session organisers to figure out a running order. A few of our session regulars will be on hand to get the music going.
When you’ve been chosen to lead, it’s helpful to let the dancers know about the dance type you’ll be playing, then select Original Sound when you want to play, and turn it off again for normal voice transmission.

Get your dance shoes on; if you have a danceable space, book it for the evening, You can attempt to dance the right genre of dance at the right time (albeit half a beat behind!), or dance whatever takes your fancy. More important is to dance as though no-one is watching, or as though you can cheer up everyone else who is watching!  It’s also fine to turn your video off if you feel freer dancing in private.

Eurosession is an inclusive and caring space for all.
Invite your co-space-sharing mates / family / teddy-bear along if appropriate 😉

See you soon,
xx Eurosesh