Shame about that generic name: it has no relationship to vulgar Anglo-Saxon useage.
Philomela was an Athenian princess who, after being raped by her brother-law, had her tongue cut out so she couldn't tell of her defilement. Then, according to Ovid, she became a song bird. Her name in ancient Greek possibly translates as 'song-loving'.
The New York Mining Disaster, 1941 ... never happened!
However, in 1966 we were all shocked at the news of the landslide of a spoil tip in Aberfan.
Barry Gibb wrote a plaintive song that was inspired by that tragedy. The song and title do not refer to that catastrophe: perhaps because it was first released for the US market.
(There's a better video on youtube here, but embedding is disabled.)
Of course, it came to my mind yesterday upon the announcement of Robin Gibb's death.
Is this folk music?
Perhaps not, but it could be.
Just luxuriate in Robin's fine tenor voice and harmonies.
This was music of our time.
Will our grandchildren be singing/playing it in 100 years from now?
Will they know what it's about?
If not, why not?
So, what did happen in Dogsbody's absence?
... apart from this:
Lynda and Angela took charge of infrastructure and logistics, while Mike was cajoled into being MC at short notice.
Thank you to them, and to everyone else who undoubtedly contributed to the evening's proceedings.
Angela diligently documented the following musical doings:
Down Where the Drunkards Roll: Mike
I'll Fly Away: Angela
All Over the World: Lynda
Off to California: Roland
Now that the Buffalo's Gone: Les
Wild Mountain Thyme: Eddie
Medieval Feast: Lorna
The Bells of Rhymney: Tony
12-String Tune: Mick
Pilgrim Song: Jane
All of Me: Berry
If had a Hammer: Mike
Why There's a Tear in my Eye: Angela
Leaving London: Lynda
Universal Soldier: Les
Will the Circle be Unbroken: Eddie
Planxty Hewlett: Lorna
Itzikel: Mick & Mike
Where Have all the Flowers Gone: Jane
I Just Want to Dance with You: Berry
I'll be Your Baby Tonight: Mike
Liza up in a Simmon Tree: Angela & Roland
Farewell, Farewell: Lynda
Blow the Man Down: Roland
People are Crazy: Les
Galway Shawl: Eddie
Waltzing Matilda/Lord of the Dance/Click go the Shears/Captain Pugwash: Lorna
Kerfunken Jig: Mick & Mike
His Eye is on the Sparrow: Paul (in sartorial elegance!)
Compline Hymn: Jane
Heart of Hearts: Berry
So, what's a 'Simmon Tree'?
The American Persimmon (diospyros virginiana) bears fruit that is quite edible to humans, provided you don't eat them prematurely. The astringent tannins in an unripe Persimmon will turn your mouth inside-out for a small eternity.
You have been warned!
Great music at the Festival inc. some (far too) late night
bodhran banging by yours truly; wonderful coastal scenery (if you like that
kind of thing!); seabirds; and good food. All interspersed with sunshine, wind,
snow and hail to keep me on my toes, tho' probably better than the S coast!!
Here's a sample are some of Mike's photographic record:
Ferry for Unst
Muckle Flugga - top o' Britain
Now, here’s an interesting snippet of folklore:
Muckle Flugga and nearby Out Stack, (the most northerly of the
islands of Britain,) were formed when two giants, Herma and Saxa, fell in love
with the same mermaid. They fought over her by throwing large rocks at each
other, one of which became Muckle Flugga. To get rid of them, the mermaid
offered to marry whichever one would follow her to the North Pole. They both
followed her and drowned, as neither could swim.
No, Mike didn't take this pic!
... and the lesson is: never trust a woman with a tail!
A sparse gathering this evening, but were we downhearted?
The company, encouraged by Angela, was as enthusiastic as
ever, filling the hall with glorious music.
Some performers had to explore their memory banks to find four
It went like this …
Mon pѐre m’as donné un mari: Angela
It May Take a Thousand Years: Paul
Alexandra Leaving: Lynda
Just as the Tide was Flowing: Roland
Old Durham Road: Colin
Suds in the Bucket: Elayne
Donkey Riding/Winster Gallop/Young Collins: Lorna
On the Wrong Side of Midnight: Roger
There'll be no Sorrow There: Angela
I Don't Care where they Bury my Body: Paul
You Raise me up: Elayne
Rattlin' Bog/Bricks and Mortar: Lorna
Strange Affair: Roger
Bound for the Rio Grande: Angela & Elayne
Boulder to Birmingham: Paul
Strong Enough: Lynda
Louis Collins: Roland
Musical Lovers: Colin
Banks o' Doon: Elayne & Colin
Daisybell/After the Ball: Lorna
Midnight Special: Roger
Little Darling, Pal of Mine: Angela & Paul
Like a Bird on a Wire: Paul
Love Will Keep me Alive: Lynda
Rosin the Beau: Roland
Lowlands Away: Colin
If I Only had a Brain: Elayne
Blaydon Races, followed by something else: Lorna
(Roland and Lynda were observed to gyrate with considerable physical energy to that 'something else' ... oh, for a video-cam!)
Farther Along: Roger & company
Regarding Lead Belly and Midnight Special ...
The charming legend according to the gospel of Roger is that, in an unidentified US prison, on the night before release, a prisoner would be transferred to a particular cell. Through the window of that cell the inmate would be able to watch the approaching headlight of the midnight special - a train that heralded liberty.
Huddie William Ledbetter, (1888-1949,) became known in the American folk and blues world as Leadbelly, Ledbelly, or, as he wrote it: Lead Belly.
(Perhaps his given forename, Huddie, had sinister connotations even then!)
volatile temper sometimes led him into trouble with the law. In 1915 he was
convicted "of carrying a pistol" and sentenced to do time on the
Harrison County chain gang from which he escaped, finding work in nearby Bowie
County under the assumed name of Walter Boyd. In January 1918 he was imprisoned
a second time, this time after killing one of his relatives, Will Stafford, in
a fight over a woman. In 1918 he was incarcerated in Sugar Land west of
Houston, Texas, where he probably learned the song Midnight Special.'
Who wrote the song?
It is widely regarded as traditional, although lyrics appearing in the song were first recorded in print by Howard Odum in 1905. It was probably not written by Lead Belly, as John and Alan Lomax once attested, although Lead Belly seems to have added a few stanzas of his own in various recordings.
I rarely listen to Mike Harding’s Folk on 2 on Wednesday evenings. Often I find the material he
presents is a bit too modern/contrived/over-orchestrated for my personal taste.
I had a delightful surprise yesterday evening.
Mike featured the Irish Band, The Chieftains, and interviewed Paddy Maloney throughout the
Paddy’s Irish brogue and spontaneous laughter were so
engaging that I went to ‘listen again’ on R2’s website.
There were some brilliant songs and tunes, and Paddy’s
commentary was both erudite and entertaining.
(I want that recording of Dolores Keane singing Bonaparte's Retreat, but I can't find it on Amazon.)
The programme is essential listening for any 'folkie': well produced, great
music and it is how ‘radio folk’ should be.
Lyrics and tune were composed in 1911 by 'Katie' Moss, (1881 - 1947,) although she acknowledged a nod to an old Cornish melody.
Otherwise this is known as The Furry Dance, annually performed to celebrate spring in Helston, Cornwall.