Dark Tarn

Songs and stories to enlighten and entertain

Dark Tarn is  a loose and fluctuating association of folk musicians and singers led by David Metcalfe. The songs and stories that most interest David feature ordinary people in real and often challenging circumstances, or deal in some mythopoeic way with the existential mystery of being human. For David, singing ballads and telling tales is the ultimate sustainable practice - leaving no trace behind, except in the listener's mind.

David's material is drawn mainly from the rich mythological, historical and folkloric traditions of the British Isles, particularly from Ireland, Wales and the Anglo-Scottish borderland - where David has deep ancestral roots.


David has been playing acoustic guitars and singing traditional ballads for decades. He has made regular appearances at venues in and around Bath since the 1990s, after sporadic performances throughout the UK in the 1970s and 1980s. 

Since 2000, David has performed in the South West at Glastonbury (Green Fields), the Priddy Folk Fair, the Bath Literature Festival and the Bath Fringe Festival, as well as at numerous informal events and sessions much further afield, and at venues varying from open fields and woodland glades to 300-seat theatres. As well as performing as himself or as part of Dark Tarn, David is a founder member of the storytelling company Fire Springs

David released an album of traditional folk songs - Rogues & Ravens: songs of love and death -  in December 2011.

David can be heard regularly at the monthly gatherings of the Bath Storytelling Circle.

You can listen to David telling the story of Sir John Franklin's doomed 1840s Arctic expedition here.

You can contact David at Dark Tarn using this form