I retired from my post at Newcastle University 31st July 2010 but have remained as variously a Guest Member of Staff and a part-time Strategic Research Advisor since then. I continue working on my research projects and having some involvement in extra-curricular music activities.
I joined the International Centre for Music Studies at the University of Newcastle in September 2004 as Senior Lecturer in Folk and Traditional Music. I was previously Senior Lecturer at the University of Leeds where I managed the BA in Popular and World Musics. My interests in the vernacular musics of Britain and North America, in social history and my continuing activity as a performer form the basis of my teaching and research.
Today is 24th July 2016, the day after the turkeys voted for Christmas. I have been very critical of the EU in many ways, particularly the way it has treated Greece, but I am at heart an internationalist and believe the way forward is international co-operation. The EU was capable of being a vehicle for that. My father spent four and half years in a German prison camp, 1940-1945. Since I was born (I recently had my 70th birthday) other than civil disruptions there has been peace in Europe. I don't think that history is unconnected with the European project. Sad day.
I have finished a lot of things off recently. , 'How Good a Music Transcriber was Cecil Sharp?' and 'English Folk Song Collectors and the Idea of the Peasant'' (joint work with Arthur Knevett) have both recently been published. The new CD is released Fellside Records, has been produced but is not officially released until a few week's time. This is an interesting project (an article and a CD ) which will draw attention to American tunes in British dance tune books in the eighteenth and nineteenth centuries. . A presentation will be given at at The Whitby Festival, The Hartlepool Festival and at a conference on aspects of ragtime at Huddersfield University in the summer.2017. I have recently submitted an essay on 'The Street Ballad Singer in the Nineteenth Century' for a new book edited by Steve Roud and David Atkinson, probably due out next year.
I have been back teaching at Newcastle - on a part-time basis. I was contacted in September to see if I could fill a gap in the teaching schedule, so I dusted down my module on 'The Musics of the Southern States' and have been teaching it since October. It is very enjoyable - even after a five year gap/
2015 was a busy a year. I contributed to a symposium at King's College, London (a part of their Music in London 1800-1850 project) in March (which was extremely interesting) and to another at Notre Dame University in June. I made a contribution to the English Fiddle Symposium at the end of April at The Sage, Gateshead, I helped organise the Traditional Song Forum meeting in Newcastle on the 9th May, and had a trip to Italy, also in May. I did a mini-tour with Dearman, Gammon and Harrison and in August our regular performances at Whitby Folk Week. In October I went down to Leeds University to a research seminar and to see old friends and colleagues.
In January 2014 I created a new Academia.edu page for a goodly part of my published work (most of that which is not currently in print in commercial books) to make it more easily available to students, colleagues and people interested. http://newcastle.academia.edu/VicGammon is the address. I am pleasantly surprised at the amount of interest that has been shown in my writings.
I remain busy with academic projects, I have pieces of work in progress at present: they are available as presentations but not yet written up ('Barbara Allen: The Cultural Resilience of a Seventeenth Century Song' and 'The Night Visiting Song Revisited') All these are good topics for presentations should you want me to speak at your seminar or event and the topics are current in my mind.
I recently bought a mandolin, basically to play musical examples when sitting at the computer, but have been much taken with the instrument. I subsequently bought a mandolin-banjo last May and really like its power and the sound it makes (I realise I might be unique in this). I also acquired a tenor banjo in the summer, but I tune it in the old 'jazz' way (CGDA) not like most Irish tenor banjo players do (GDAE). This renewed stringed instrument enthusiasm has caused me to order a new mandolin to be built by the Northumberland-based instrument maker Stefan Sobell. I owned a modern cittern made by Stefan for me in the mid 1980s but decided as I was not using it much to sell it and have Stefan make me a mandolin, which I have heard will be ready very soon. Stefan's website at http://www.sobellguitars.com/ if you want to look at examples of his wonderful craftsmanship. I still keep up my anglo-concertina playing but having something of a strings fixation at present.
2016 is shaping up to be another busy year with trips to Sussex, London, Scotland ad Italy and of course Whitby - so much for retirement!
Roles and Responsibilities
Member, Editorial Board, Folk Music Journal (1984 - present)
Member, Advisory Group, Traditional Song Forum
Degree Programme Director, BMus in Folk and Traditional Music (2005-2009)
Organiser, Research Forum, International Centre for Music Studies (2006-2009)
BA, MA, D Phil, PGCE (all University of Sussex)
Fellow of the Higher Education Academy (formerly ILTm)
Social History Society
English Folk Dance and Song Society
Traditional Song Forum
University and College Union
British (particularly English) traditional song and instrumental music; North American traditional song and instrumental music; English venacular religious music; music social history; political song.
Performer of English traditional song and instrumental music. My main instruments are, anglo-concertina, melodeon, G plectrum banjo and voice.
I have two other long term projects
I have supervised masters and doctoral students in traditional music and music education related areas. Topics areas supervised include music in the nineteenth and early twentieth society, popular church music, the history of the tonic sol-fa movement, traditional song collecting and editing, traditional fiddle pedagogy, ballad studies, Tyneside song, primary and secondary music pedagogy, bass guitar pedagogy, practical music assessment and creative work.