ZOOM FOLK SESSION – Virtual Brampton
Continuing to maintain both social distancing and the noble tradition of live folk music, the Brampton session met by Zoom on 18th August with the theme of ‘families/relations’. A warm welcome to Sam and Eleanor Simmons, joining us for the first time from Malvern.
Instrumentalists always have a harder time finding tunes that tie into the theme, so congratulations to Sally Hardaker on flute for Hens and Chickens and Uncle Bernard. Alan managed to find references to father, mother, bride, bridegroom and ‘fair cousin’ with Young Lochinvar, but Charlie claimed the highest relative count (and incidentally body count) in the shanty Hanging Johnny – mother, brothers and sisters, granny.
Which brings us to the point that dysfunctional families feature prominently in folk song: Anne’s I tell thee, Dick, from the point of view of a small boy seriously unimpressed with his baby sister, was a very mild example. Adrian pointed out the inconveniences of having a mermaid for a mother (The Eddystone Light) and Johnny be Fair (Sally Jones) is a tangled comedy of illicit relationships in a small community. Seven Nights Drunk and John Blunt (Sam and Eleanor Simmons respectively) both offered a sardonic view of marriage. Ballads told the darkest stories: Gerda treated us to sibling murder (Two sisters) and Richard to incest followed by suicide (The Bonny Hind).
Sad, but not negative, was Joyce Grenfell’s Three Brothers (Ruth). The same is true of Elaine’s own song Essence of me, inspired by a man visiting his mother with dementia, and Leaving Nancy (Steve), Eric Bogle’s song about parting from his mother when he emigrated to Australia. Ged listened to his grandfather’s stories By the glow of the kerosene light; Mary’s song Brown photographs involved listening to a grandmother’s memories and Mick In Constanza’s Kitchen celebrated Tuscan family life. Generations of Change (Katy) followed father, sons and grandsons in a changing world. At the other end of the age range, Sam’s song The Flame welcomed his grandson into the world, and Phil embraced all children across the world as family in Like me and you.
We next meet – we are assuming by Zoom – on Tuesday 15th September at 8pm, with a theme of ‘Harvest/Autumn’. All are welcome, including anyone who would just like to watch and listen.