ZOOM FOLK SESSION – Virtual Brampton

Folk Session – Virtual Brampton

In defiance of popular ideas of folk music, we had a thoroughly cheerful session on 16th February, encouraged by the theme of ‘happy endings’.  A warm welcome to Steve Andisaw, Tori and Lester, all joining us for the first time.

Our instrumentalists that evening were Sally Hardaker on flute, playing Hamburg Sexstur and The Wounded Hussar (‘It has a happy ending because he gets better.  We hope’, said Sally); Adrian on melodeon playing Mona’s Delight and Steve Andisaw on pan pipes and concertina, who gave us an exuberant medley of fairground tunes.

Our singers dug deep and came up with love stories with happy endings.  Charlie contributed a version of High Germanie in which the lovers stay together; Christine’s Albion Heart and Anne’s Dark-Eyed Sailor both feature young men who come home after seven years overseas and marry the faithful sweetheart who has been waiting for them.  My Lovely Rose of Clare (David and Liz); Bonnet and Shawl (Richard Harradine); The Spinning Wheel (Tori) and Mountain High and Green (Sylvia) all describe tranquil and harmonious courtships.  The happy endings became more hard-won with escapes from a castle in Ned of the Hill (Gerda); a heroine disguised as a soldier in Sweet Polly Oliver (Ruth); Pip’s eventual reconciliation with Estella in Pip’s Waltz (Jeremy – the reference is to Great Expectations).  Most dramatic of all was Janet’s struggle in Tam Lyn (Alan) to rescue her love from the Queen of Elfland.

Let us not forget the cheeky parodies that provided new endings to familiar stories: Richard Hardaker told how Mrs Spencer the Rover was much better off without her wandering spouse, and Bev provided a satisfactory end to an old tale in My Husband’s got no courage in him (Viagra version).

Happy endings take other forms than love and marriage, of course.  Phil lauded the comforts (and financial advantages!) of Granny’s Old Arm Chair.  Some find their happiness in the family affection of Costanza’s Kitchen (Mick) or in everyday activities such as work (The Carter – Katy) and retirement after a lifetime at sea (Retirement Song – Aitch) whereas others, frankly, get their kicks from smuggling (The Prussian King – Lester).  Shipwrecked fishermen were brought safely Home from the sea (Ged) by lifeboat volunteers, while brave Sir John saved the countryside from the ferocious Lambton Worm (Mike).  Elaine looked forward to the happy time when the world would ‘put and end to war’ (Strangest Dream) and Mary’s song looked forward to the soldier’s return When Johnny comes marching home.

Several songs simply expressed contentment with the singer’s life/lot/surroundings: Sam and Eleanor Simmons captured this spirit in their Cotswold song The Happy Man.  Sam Millington was delighted to be Back home again; Sally Jones was glad to be Where ravens feed.  Arthur described his song, Circle, about life and friendship, as ‘happy all the way through’.

We next meet (virtually) on Tuesday, 16th March at 8pm.  The theme will be ‘Dreams and Sleep’.  ALL WELCOME!

February  Review