“A STORYTELLER WHO SINGS HALF HIS STORIES”
Pete Castle is a folk singer and storyteller based in Belper, Derbyshire. He works all over the country in folk clubs, on the storytelling circuit, in schools and libraries and with the wider public.
Folk singer, storyteller, author and editor of Facts & Fiction.
“A storyteller who sings half his stories”
Pete Castle is based in Belper, Derbyshire, and has been a folk singer and storyteller for over 40 years. He has worked all over the country and occasionally abroad.
The ‘author’ aspect is more recent and came about almost by accident. In 2010 Pete was approached by The History Press to write the Derbyshire volume of their county folk tales series. He enjoyed the experience so went on to write Nottinghamshire as well and has since written a book of animal folk tales and contributed stories and chapters to several other volumes. Since 1999 Pete has edited and published Facts & Fiction storytelling magazine.
“Using the traditional as a springboard not a straightjacket”
Pete sings mainly traditional English songs and tells traditional stories (drawn from a slightly wider area) plus some urban myths and shaggy dog stories.
He has worked in just about every type of venue imaginable from the traddiest of folk clubs, to folk, story and arts festivals, to libraries and schools plus community events like village fetes, W.Is, and special interest groups.
His style is relaxed and conversational—no costumes or stage sets—and this enables him to engage with any audience without changing his approach. An audience member wrote:
“It was one of the most enjoyable events I have attended for a very long time, my soul fed and enriched. I loved hearing you sing… I hope to be able to attend more of your events and hear you sing again, as well as learn more about storytelling. Honestly, I cannot overstate the contribution that this event has made to my life at the moment and how important it was to connect with a lovely group of people and be in such an atmosphere. I was reminded of the rich, deep cultural heritage of this country, which sometimes feels so lost these days, the evening touched my heart. Thank-you. Please keep up the good work.”
The bulk of Pete’s ‘bread and butter’ work has been as a soloist although he’s always had a small band of collaborators he has called on for specific occasions. These have included: Trevor James, Jez Lowe, Bing Lyle, Keith Kendrick and, above all, his daughter Lucy. From her very early teens she performed with him occasionally and then together they formed Popeluc, a very successful Romanian/British fusion band. Lucy is featured on most of Pete’s early albums.
“This chap is a veritable boon to have at your festival. He sings well, is a brilliant storyteller, a good MC and a superb all-round performer. I wouldn’t be surprised if he could even juggle.” (But he can’t!) (Chippenham Folk Festival)
As well as the expected singing and storytelling (and writing and editing) Pete’s career has involved many other skills and experiences, none of which he has had any training or qualifications for! He has always enjoyed getting a phone call asking ‘Can you do so-and-so?’ saying ‘Yes’ and then when he’s put the phone down saying to himself ‘How the heck do you do that?’
Those things include (in no particular order)
Writing for magazines; illustrating books; doing shadow puppet shows; calling for dancing; writing songs; teaching guitar lessons; lecturing on folk music and storytelling; presenting a local radio show—including all the recording, editing, on-air knob twiddling!; desk-top publishing; working a sound desk; he’s recorded and produced umpteen albums on cassette, LP and CD; made a video; promoted concerts; run folk clubs and the Luton Folk Festival…