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At the heart of English folk
London Youth Folk EnsembleLondon Youth Folk Ensemble

London Youth Folk Ensemble

The group and tutors are really friendly and supportive. My confidence as a performer has increased dramatically since joining this awesome band! I couldn't recommend it more." - Olivia

Welcoming young musicians who want to create and perform amazing folk music together!

The Ensemble meets regularly (currently on six Sundays every term) from September to July, at Cecil Sharp House. It is led by folk musician Emily Askew with Ruairi Glasheen.

Members of the Ensemble explore and arrange traditional folk repertoire from Britain and beyond, develop their performance style and presentation, learn about the history and culture of folk music and perform at exciting events across London and beyond.

The Ensemble is open for improver to advanced level musicians of any instrument. Players of any instruments are welcome. Previous experience of folk music is useful but by no means essential.


How do I join?

To join the London Youth Folk Ensemble you need to: 

  • Be 12-19 years old
  • Have a good grasp of technique on your instrument and be able to play tunes confidently
  • Have some experience of learning and playing tunes by ear
  • Have some experience of playing your instrument in a group (eg band, ensemble, orchestra)
  • Demonstrate passion for folk music and commitment to the Ensemble

London Youth Folk Ensemble is an annual commitment.

If you are interested in joining London Youth Folk Ensemble come to the Sampler session, the first session of the year. You will meet the tutors, learn some tunes and find out more about the coming year’s plans and events.

The 2019 Sampler Session took place on Sunday 22 September, 2-5pm.

The date of the 2020 Sampler Session will be announced in June 2020.

London Youth Folk Ensemble 2019


LYFE 2019-20 dates

Autumn term: 22 Sept (Sampler Session) | 6, 20 Oct | 3, 24 Nov | 8 Dec 2019

Spring term: 19 Jan | 2, 16 Feb | 1, 15, 29 Mar 2020

Summer term: 26 Apr | 10, 24 May | 7, 21 June | 4 July 2020



LYFE give several public performances during the year, 2019/20 will include:

  • Camden Music Festival, Cecil Sharp House on Sunday, 29 March
  • The Takeover, Cecil Sharp House on Saturday, 4 July
  • Folk by the Oak festival, Hatfield House, 19 July



Annual fee: £270 | £204 concessions (advance booking required)

Please contact us if this fee is unaffordable for you - we want everyone who is offered a place in the Ensemble to be able to take it up. We are able to offer some financial support – please contact This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. and we will be happy to discuss financial aid options with you. 


London Youth Folk Ensemble Tutors

  Emily Askew
Emily is a versatile musician playing fiddle, recorders, vielle, bagpipes, shawm and piano. She performs with Askew Sisters, the Emily Askew Band and Alma as well as running the A3 Ceilidh Band and Ceilidh Factor. A passionate teacher, Emily has vast experience teaching music in schools and Trinity College of Music, as well as Folk Music courses for Dartington Summer School, Folkworks, Aldeburgh Young Musicians, Globe Theatre Education, Shooting Roots and the Centre for Young Musicians. Emily studied Early Music at the Guildhall School of Music and Drama, has worked with the Artisans and The Dufay Collective, and plays for theatre which has included productions for Shakespeare's Globe Theatre and Glyndebourne.

Ruairi Glasheen
Ruairi is a percussionist, composer, presenter and creative leader. Since graduating from the Royal College of Music, Ruairi has led a truly diverse career, performing with his ensemble Tir Eolas at the Globe, Royal Albert Hall, Kings Place, Ronnie Scotts, The Purcell Room and the BBC Proms.

Passionate about social inclusion and wellbeing through the creative arts, Ruairi has worked with the BBC, ENO, Wigmore Hall, and Live Music Now, as a project leader and director. Ruairi has composed and directed productions for Chickenshed Theatre Company including We Are All Born Free with Amnesty International, performed for the Dali Lama’s visit to London in 2015.


For more information contact This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. | 020 7241 8953

Do you know about our other youth opportunities for 12–19 year olds?
Find out more


 This ensemble is amazing and has helped so many young people find their own musical style and become happy in performing it! It’s the best group of its kind."
Former Ensemble member