FOLK SESSION – Howard Arms - Brampton

We completed our series of sessions on ‘the four elements’ with the theme of ‘air’ on 20th February in The Howard Arms.  A warm welcome to Peter, joining us for the first time, and James, dropping in from Newcastle.  

Dave on English small pipes, James on Northumbrian bagpipes, and Adrian on melodeon were our instrumentalists this Tuesday. As all three instruments are operated by air being pumped or blown through them, they all fitted in with the theme, no matter what tunes they played!  We heard The British Grenadiers and John Peel from Adrian, Valse a Cadet from Dave, and from James No luck about the house, Newmarket Races, Kissed her under the Coverlet and Skylark’s Ascension.

Air, just air by itself, gets surprisingly few mentions in song.  Sam found a reference to ‘air as still as the throttle on a funeral train’ in My Mexican Home; at Rawtenstall Annual Fair (Adrian) the fat woman was ‘blown up with gas and air’; the shipwrecked Ellen Carter (Phil) was pumped full of air to raise her from the seabed.  Sally’s riddling poem I’m thinking of something that I cannot see was, of course, about air.  Peter sang a regrettable ditty in praise of The Rubber Lady – because she is full of air!

Wind is air in motion, so we heard that Cold Blows the Wind Tonight (Eliza) and Ruth read to us about the origins of The Helm Wind, while Christine asked What colour is the wind?  We learned about winds destructive (Sir Patrick Spens – Alan Jefferson); gentle (Hills of Isle au Haut – Steve); musical (Come by the Hills – Sally) and winds that make a good chorus (Cambric Shirt – Bill).

Another possible approach was ‘things that fly in the air’.  Sam’s Leaving on a jetplane and Phil’s Coming in on a wing and a prayer both exploited the musical possibilities of flight, as did White Swans and Black (Steve).  

We next meet on Tuesday, 20th March at 8.30pm in The Howard Arms, Brampton.  The theme will be ‘spring’.  ALL WELCOME!

February Review