Terry Yarnell

Talk to Terry about early times in his life and you discover that he has always sung, even as a small child. Although born and raised in the East End of London, his mother came from an Irish family. This in turn resulted in a Catholic school with most of his friends being Irish. He later married the sister of a friend, whose family came from Cork. This connection was to prove important. His musical education otherwise, was the somewhat common one of jazz, skiffle, American folksong, and back to English/Irish song.

This was followed be several years with the London Critics Group, working with Ewan MacColl and Peggy Seeger. During this time, many recordings were made, along with radio broadcasts and much concert and club work. Holidays were spent in the west of Ireland, soaking up the Sean Nos singing of the Connemara area. Mixing this with many hundreds of hours listening to the finest of the English and Scots traditional singers resulted in a range of influences on his own singing.

Terry can frequently be found around the London Irish pubs playing fiddle in the sessions, but always comes back to his first love of the songs and ballads, the singing of which has taken him to many European countries, along with other farther flung places such as Newfoundland and Cuba. He also has an interest in the Broadside ballads, particularly those connected with the history of London. He runs a singers workshop and has a large collection of books and recordings which is available for study.

Like many other singers in the solidly traditional arena, he does not particularly like studio recording, with its attitude of striving for technical perfection whilst frequently losing the meat of the song, but prefers a small circle of friends and `going for it! `. This results in every performance of a song being different and not too ‘fixed’, but as Terry would say, “That’s as it should be “. Terry works as a Chemical Scientist and still lives in London, with the following generations of the family never far away.