Welcome to potiphar's apprentices' web pages

The celebrated English composer Ralph Vaughan Williams collected over 100 folk songs in Essex, and many more in East Anglia and the southern counties. He was inspired by these old songs, using them in his own innovative work, publishing some in the Folk Song Journal and using many of the tunes in the English Hymnal of 1906. He wrote that "the job of the folksong collector is to return the songs once more to the mouths of the people."

potiphar's apprentices are named after Charles Potiphar, from whom RVW collected the first song which inspired him to look for more of the songs which he had thought lost and forgotten.

Our aim to help return some of the songs - many from previously-unpublished material - to the community.

Latest news

Our second CD, Life in the Old Dog, is now available. To listen to track excerpts click here.

To purchase, click here.

The apprentices:

Adrian May is widely known in folk clubs and festivals as a songwriter, both as a soloist and with Spring Chickens. He sings, plays guitar and melodeon and has recorded several albums, not only with Spring Chickens, but also Metric Foot and solo. His most recent (2011)book of poetry is Ballads of Bohemian Essex. See this link for a local writer's review of a recent performance.

John and Sue Cubbin have performed as a duo for some years. They have a background in traditional English song and dance music, American folk and oldtime, and morris dancing. Sue sings and plays fiddle, John plays guitar and banjo and is a morris dancer. Sue has worked at the Essex Record Office and wrote That Precious Legacy: Ralph Vaughan Williams and Essex Folksong (Essex Record Office 2006.)

Find out about:

Potiphar's Apprentices