Archivi tag: Lisa Knapp

Don’t You Go A Rushing

Leggi in italiano

The “enigmas” or “riddles” are part of some popular songs in dealing with the supernatural, be it a magical or diabolical creature, and more generally they represent a weapon of defense to avert a danger or obtain a benefit, so in the fairy tales, young people of humble origins obtain advantageous marriages or kingdoms for having been able to solve the enigmas or to have accomplished impossible tasks. However, the risk was very high, even if sometimes they were helped by creatures or magical beings, because the counterpart in case of failure was death (often by beheading). In the ancient courtship ballads the riddles become the surrogate of impossible enterprises, or they are obstacles to overcome to get the bride’s hand, but in the Celtic world there are also many examples of the opposite, it is the girl who has to prove to be a good wife, above all in terms of unquestioned loyalty.

The echo of these ancient forms of courtship, turn into a romantic words to make a declaration of love.

I HAVE A YONG SUSTER

The first text dates back to around 1430 (British Museum – Sloane MS 2593, “I have a yong suster”) and is antecedent or at least contemporary to “The Devil’s Nine Questions” found always transcribed in a manuscript of about 1450.

The ballad is also found in many nineteenth-century Nursery Songs with the titles: “Perrie, Merrie, Dixie, Dominie”, “I have four sisters beyond the sea”, “I had Four Brothers Over the Sea”, “My true love lives far from me “, where the overseas sweetheart who sends” enigmatic” gifts is trasformed into the four sisters, the four brothers or the four cousins. In fact, the song lends itself to being a children song, both as a lullaby and as a game – riddle in which the children sing the answers together with their mother.

John Fleagle from Worlds Bliss – Medieval Songs of Love and Death, 2004 

I
I have a yong suster
Fer biyonde the see;
Peri meri dictum domine
Manye be the druries (1)
That she sente me.
Partum quartum pare dicentem,
Peri meri dictum domine (2)

II
She sente me the cherye
Withouten any stoon,
And so she dide the dove
Withouten any boon.
III
She sente me the brere
Withouten any rinde;
She bad me love my lemman (3)
Withoute longinge.
IV
How sholde any cherye
Ben withoute stoon?
And how sholde any dove
Ben withoute boon?
V
How sholde any brere
Ben withoute rinde?
How sholde I love my lemman
Withoute longinge?
VI
Whan the cherye was a flowr,
Thanne hadde it non stoon;
Whan the dove was an ey,
Thanne hadde it non boon.
VII
Whan the brere was unbred,(4)
Thanne hadde it non rinde;
Whan the maiden has that she loveth,
She’s withoute longinge.

NOTES
1) Druries: love-gifts
2) latin words non-sense like perry merry dixie or Pitrum, partrum, paradisi tempore or Piri-miri-dictum Domini
3) Leman: sweetheart
4) Unbred: unborn. in the nursery rhyme “I had four brothers over the sea” they carry: a goose without a bone, a cherry without a stone, a blanket without a thread, a book that no man could read, that is an egg, a cherry tree, a sheep to shear and a typographic matrix to be printed.

I GAVE MY LOVE A CHERRY -Riddle song

The most widespread version in the United States and Canada is a “modernization” of the medieval ballad “I have a yong suster” a romantic turn of words to make a declaration of love!

as a sweet lullady

Doc Watson 1966 (magical voice and amazing guitar)

I
I gave my love a cherry
that had no stone;
I gave my love a chicken
that had no bone;
I gave my love a baby
with no crying,
And told my love a story
that had no end.
II
How can there be a cherry
that has no stone?
How can there be a chicken
that has no bone?
How can there be a baby
with no crying?
How can you tell a story
that has no end?
III
A cherry when it’s blooming,
it has no stone(1);
A chicken when it’s pipping,
there is no bone(2);
A baby when it’s sleeping,
there’s no crying(3),
And when I say I love you,
it has no end(4).
NOTES
1) the cherry blossom is not yet a fruit
2) a freshly fertilized hen’s egg is a hen’s embryo
3) a child who is not yet born is sleeping and therefore can not cry
4) the most beautiful declaration of love ..

GO NO MORE A RUSHING

This song is contained in the Fitzwilliam Virginal Book (called Queen Elizabeth’s Virginal Book, although in reality Queen Elizabeth never owned the manuscript) a collection of dance music dating back to the early 1600s. It is also found in the Brimington Mummers’ Play script. [Derbyshire, 1862] that the Mummers represented during the Christmas celebrations (see).
With the title “Go no More a-Rushing” the melody was probably already popular at the time of Queen Elizabeth I (composed or arranged by William Byrd) and it is found in various versions in some manuscripts of the sixteenth and seventeenth centuries.
The “Riddle song” is superimposed with a prelude (as a warning song) in which young girls are discouraged to go alone in the woods to collect rushes / ferns because they could lose their virginity.
Once ago the rushes were spread on the floors of the houses, they made roofs, beds, chairs, pots and fishing nets, cheese-sieves and much more, even today with the rushes they intertwine baskets, hats are made and Bride’s cross for Imbolc.

Reg Hall Archives Jim Wilson of Sussex 

I
Go no more a-rushing,
maids, in May
Go no more a-rushing,
maids, I pray
Go no more a-rushing,
or you’ll fall a-blushing(1)
Bundle up your rushes
and haste away.
II
You promised me a cherry
without any stone,
You promised me a chicken
without any bone,
You promised me ring
that has no rim at all,
And you promised me a bird
without a gall.
III
How can there be a cherry
without a stone?
How can there be a chicken
without a bone?
How can there be a ring
without a rim at all?
How can there be a bird
that hasn’t got a gall?
IV
When the cherry’s in the flower
it has no stone;
When the chicken’s in the egg
it hasn’t any bone;
When the ring it is a making
it has no rim at all;
And the dove it is a bird
without a gall(2)
NOTES
1) or “to get a brushing” going on the moor or in the woods to collect stalks and grasses could be very dangerous for the girls because they risked encounters with little recommendable elves see more
2) the dove symbol of peace and love was considered a very pure animal. When we speak of a good person we say that it is “without gall as the dove” because this animal is without a gall bladder.

Lisa Knapp from Till April Is Dead ≈ A Garland of May 2017
Conserved through the oral transmission up to the version collected by Cecil Sharp by Mrs. Eliza Ware in Over Stowey, Somerset on January 23, 1907

Don’t You Go A Rushing Maids In May
I
Don’t you go a-rushing, maids in May
Don’t you go a-rushing, maids I say
For if you go a-rushing
They’re sure to get you blushing
They’ll steal your rushes away
II
I went a-rushing it was in May
I went a-rushing maids I say
I went a-rushing
They caught me a-blushing
They stole my rushes away
III
He promised me a chicken without any bone
Promised me a cherry without any stone
He promised me a ring without any rim
He promised me a babe with no squalling
IV
How can there be a chicken without any bone?
How can there be a cherry without any stone?
How can there be a ring without any rim?
How can there be a babe with no squalling?
V
When the chicken’s in the egg it has no bone
When the cherry’s blooming it has no stone
When the ring is melting
It has no rim
When the babe is in the making
There’s no squalling

LINK
http://ontanomagico.altervista.org/captain-wedderburn.html
http://www.presscom.co.uk/talesparts/tales5.html
http://www.joe-offer.com/folkinfo/songs/597.html
http://www.8notes.com/scores/6048.asp?ftype=gif
http://www.mamalisa.com/?t=hes&p=1545
http://mudcat.org/@displaysong.cfm?SongID=6899
http://mudcat.org/thread.cfm?threadid=9589
http://mudcat.org/thread.cfm?threadid=99125
http://mainlynorfolk.info/cyril.tawney/songs/iwillgivemyloveanapple.html

http://www.1st-stop-county-kerry.com/rushes-in-folklore.html
https://www.irishtimes.com/culture/books/straw-hay-and-rushes-in-irish-folk-tradition-by-anne-o-dowd-art-and-craft-1.2489692
http://www.fondazioneterradotranto.it/2012/10/19/larte-di-intrecciare-il-giunco-ad-acquarica-del-capo-ii-parte/
https://www.cdsconlus.it/index.php/2016/09/29/cultura-e-tradizioni-in-valle-di-comino-larte-del-costruir-fuscelle/
http://www.contemplator.com/england/rushing.html
http://www.folkplay.info/Texts/86sk47rs.htm
http://www.folktunefinder.com/tune/161727/
https://mainlynorfolk.info/folk/songs/dontyougoarushing.html

The Pleasant Month of May

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“The haymaker’s song” aka “The Pleasany Month of May”, ‘”Twas in the Pleasant Month of May” or ” The Merry Haymakers” is in the Family Copper’s collection of traditional songs from Sussex (see): in the season of haymaking, starting in May, the farmers went to make hay, cutting the tall grass, with the scythe, putting it aside as fodder for livestock and courtyard’s animals . While hay cutting was a mostly masculine task, women and children used the rake to collect grass in large piles, which were then loaded onto the cart through the use of pitchforks.

George Stubbs - Haymakers 1785 (Wikimedia)
George Stubbs – Haymakers 1785 (Wikimedia)

Mr A. L. Lloyd (“Folk Song in England”, p 234/5) traces a possible source to a broadside of 1695; collected versions seem more in the style of the 18th century and presumably stem from the late broadsides, of which there were one or two. Found in tradition mainly in the South and South East of England, the exception being Huntington, Sam Henry’s Songs of the People(1990) which has an unprovenanced set, Tumbling Through the Hay, presumably noted in Ulster.” (from here)

After the hard work, however, it’s time to have fun and so all the workers are dancing in the middle of the haystacks on the melodies of a piper !!


William Pint & Felicia Dale
from Hartwell Horn 1999 
Jackie Oates from Hyperboreans 2009 
Lisa Knapp from Till April Is Dead ≈ A Garland of May 2017

PLEASANT MONTH OF MAY *
I
‘Twas in the pleasant month of May,
In the springtime of the year,
And down in yonder meadow
There runs a river clear.
See how the little fishes,
How they do sport and play;
Causes many a lad and many a lass
To go there a-making hay.
II
Then in comes the scythesman,
That meadow to mow down,
With his old leathered bottle
And the ale that runs so brown.
There’s many a stout and a laboring man
Goes there his skill to try;
He works, he mows, he sweats, he blows,
And the grass cuts very dry.
III
Then in comes both Tom and Dick
With their pitchforks and their rakes,
And likewise black-eyed Susan
The hay all for to make.
There’s a sweet, sweet, sweet and a jug, jug, jug(1)
How the harmless birds do sing
From the morning to the evening
As we were a-haymaking.
IV
It was just at one evening
As the sun was a-going down,
We saw the jolly piper
Come a-strolling through the town.
There he pulled out his tabor and pipes(2)
And he made the valleys ring;
So we all put down our rakes and forks
And we left off haymaking.
V
We called for a dance
And we tripped it along;
We danced all round the haycocks
Till the rising of the sun.
When the sun did shine such a glorious light,
How the harmless birds did sing;
Each lad he took his lass in hand
And went back to his haymaking.

NOTES
1) sounds that recall the trill of birds: they are the verses that imitate birds singing
2) pipe and drum, in a combination called tabor-pipe: the three-hole flute allows the musician to play the instrument with one hand, while with the other he strikes the tambourine with a shoulder strap. If the combination was very versatile and well suited to street performances of the jester, it was also perfect for the performance of the dances and then in the ancient iconography convivial images are often frequent in the presence of dancers. ((see more)

L’allodola e il cavallante nel mese di Maggio

LINK
http://www.hayinart.com/001405.html
https://mainlynorfolk.info/folk/songs/thepleasantmonthofmay.html
http://www.joe-offer.com/folkinfo/songs/213.html
http://www.musicanet.org/robokopp/english/haymaker.htm
http://konkykru.com/e.caldecott.our.haymaking.html

Lark in the Morning

Leggi in italiano

The irish song “The Lark in the Morning” is mainly found in the county of Fermanagh (Northern Ireland): the image is rural, portrayed by an idyllic vision of healthy and simple country life; a young farmer who plows the fields to prepare them for spring sowing, is the paradigm of youthful exaltation, its exuberance and joie de vivre, is compared to the lark as it sails flying high in the sky in the morning. Like many songs from Northern Ireland it is equally popular also in Scotland.
The point of view is masculine, with a final toast to the health of all the “plowmen” (or of the horsebacks, a task that in a large farm more generally indicated those who took care of the horses) that they have fun rolling around in the hay with some beautiful girls, and so they demonstrate their virility with the ability to reproduce.

Ploughman_Wheelwright
The Plougman – Rowland Wheelwright (1870-1955)

The Dubliners

Alex Beaton with a lovely Scottish accent

The Quilty (Swedes with an Irish heart)

CHORUS
The lark in the morning, she rises off her nest(1)
She goes home in the evening, with the dew all on her breast
And like the jolly ploughboy, she whistles and she sings
She goes home in the evening, with the dew all on her wings
I
Oh, Roger the ploughboy, he is a dashing blade (2)
He goes whistling and singing, over yonder leafy shade
He met with pretty Susan,, she’s handsome I declare
She is far more enticing, then the birds all in the air
II
One evening coming home, from the rakes of the town
The meadows been all green, and the grass had been cut down
As I should chance to tumble, all in the new-mown hay (3)
“Oh, it’s kiss me now or never love”,  this bonnie lass did say
III
When twenty long weeks, they were over and were past
Her mommy chanced to notice, how she thickened round the waist
“It was the handsome ploughboy,-the maiden she did say-
For he caused for to tumble, all in the new-mown hay”
IV
Here’s a health to y’all ploughboys wherever you may be
That likes to have a bonnie lass a sitting on his knee
With a jug of good strong porter you’ll whistle and you’ll sing
For a ploughboy is as happy as a prince or a king
NOTES
1) The lark is a melodious sparrow that sings from the first days of spring and already at the first light of dawn; it is a terrestrial bird which, however, once safely in flight, rises almost vertically into the sky, launching a cascade of sounds similar to a musical crescendo.
Then, closed the wings, he lets himself fall like a dead body until he touches the ground and immediately rises again, starting to sing again . see more
2) blade= boy, term used in ancient ballads to indicate a skilled swordsman
3) The story’s backgroung is that of the season of haymaking, starting in May, when farmers went to make hay, that is to cut the tall grass, with the scythe, putting it aside as fodder for livestock and courtyard’s animals . While hay cutting was a mostly masculine task, women and children used the rake to collect grass in large piles, which were then loaded onto the cart through the use of pitchforks.. see more

George Stubbs – Haymakers 1785 (Wikimedia)

Lisa Knapp from Till April Is Dead ≈ A Garland of May 2017, from Paddy Tunney (only I, II) (Paddy Tunney The Lark in the Morning 1995  ♪), the most extensive version comes from the Sussex Copper family, but Lisa further changes some verses.

I
The lark in the morning she rises off her nest
And goes whistling and singing, with the dew all on her breast
Like a jolly ploughboy she whistles and she sings
she comes home in the evening with the dew all on her wings
II
Roger the ploughboy he is a bonny blade.
He goes whistling and singing down by yon green glade.
He met with dark-eyed Susan, she’s handsome I declare,
she’s far more enticing than the birds on the air.
III
This eve he was coming home, from the rakes in town
with meadows been all green and the grass just cut down
she is chanced to tumble all in the new-mown hay
“It’s loving me now or never”, this bonnie lass did say
IV
So good luck to the ploughboys wherever they may be,
They will take a sweet maiden to sit along their knee,
Of all the gay callings
There’s no life like the ploughboy in the merry month of may

 

THE ENGLISH VERSION

This version was collected by Ralph Vaughan Williams in 1904 as heard by Ms. Harriet Verrall of Monk’s Gate, Horsham in Sussex, but already circulated in the nineteenth-century broadsides and then reported in Roy Palmer’s book “Folk Songs collected by Ralph Vaughan Williams”. Became into the English folk music circuit in the 60s the song was recorded in 1971 by the English folk rock group Steeleye Span with the voice of Maddy Prior.

The refrain is similar to that of the previous irish version, but here the situation is even more pastoral and almost Shakespearean with the shepherdess and the plowman who are surprised by the morning song of the lark, but with the reversed parts: he who tells her to stay in his arms, because there is still the evening dew, but she who replies that the sun is now shining and even the lark has risen in flight. The name of the peasant is Floro and derives from the Latin Fiore.

Steeleye Span from Please to See the King – 1971

Maddy Prior  from Arthur The King – 2001

I
“Lay still my fond shepherd and don’t you rise yet
It’s a fine dewy morning and besides, my love, it is wet.”
“Oh let it be wet my love and ever so cold
I will rise my fond Floro and away to my fold.
Oh no, my bright Floro, it is no such thing
It’s a bright sun a-shining and the lark is on the wing.”
II
Oh the lark in the morning she rises from her nest
And she mounts in the air with the dew on her breast
And like the pretty ploughboy she’ll whistle and sing
And at night she will return to her own nest again
When the ploughboy has done all he’s got for to do
He trips down to the meadows where the grass is all cut down.

NOTES
1)plow the field but also plow a complacent girl

LARK IN THE MORNING JIG

“Lark in the morning” is a jig mostly performed with banjo or bouzouki or mandolin or guitar, but also with pipes, whistles or flutes, fiddles ..
An anecdote reported by Peter Cooper says that two violinists had challenged one evening to see who was the best, only at dawn when they heard the song of the lark, they agreed that the sweetest music was that of the morning lark. Same story told by the piper Seamus Ennis but with the The Lark’s March tune

Moving Hearts The Lark in the Morning (Trad. Arr. Spillane, Lunny, O’Neill)

Cillian Vallely uilleann pipes with Alan Murray guitar

Peter Browne uilleann pipes in Lark’s march

LINK
https://www.mustrad.org.uk/songbook/larkmorn.htm
http://mainlynorfolk.info/steeleye.span/songs/thelarkinthemorning.html
http://thesession.org/tunes/62

Helston Flora Day (Cornwall)

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In Helston, Cornwall it takes place every year on 8 May the Furry Dance (Flora or Floral dance) in the Feast of St. Michael. The meaning of Furry is found in the root of the gaelic  fer = fair. Inside the program of the tipical dance there is a sacred representation with historical and mythical theme, which unfolds in a procession that starts from the church: the characters are Robin Hood and his brigade, Saint George and Saint Michael, which announce the arrival of Spring.
1834733

SEE MORE 

THE FURRY DANCE

The dance is a very long promenade of young couples (and not really young) parading behind the band: they are for the most part walking (or hopping step) alternating a couple of turns with their partner. There are two shows, one in the morning and the second in the midday with more formal dresses (long dress and elaborate hat for ladies, tight and top hat for gentlemen: of British origin, the tight or taitè also called morning dress because worn during the day, it is the male dress in public ceremonies and for all occasions concerning the English royal family.)


THE GAMES OF ROBIN HOOD

In the late Middle Ages the “Robin Hood Games” were practiced during the May Day. It began with a parade of the various characters of the legendary Robin Hood, the masks of the horse and the dragon and the May pole brought by the oxen. The May pole was then raised and a dance took place around it. After the buffoon performances of the horse and dragon masks the competition began: the challenge of archery.
At the end people dancing around the May pole until late. Tradition has lasted until the end of the nineteenth century

img013

LINK
http://www.thebookofdays.com/months/may/1.htm
http://hesternic.tripod.com/robinhood.htm http://www.boldoutlaw.com/robages/robages3.html http://www.roccadellecaminate.it/archi/encicopedia.html

THE HELSTONE FURRY-DAY SONG

More commonly known under the title “Hal an tow” is the main song in the representation of mummers at Flora Day in Helston.
The Watersons live (I, II, VII)

Shirley Collins & The Albion Country Band from ‘No Roses’ 1971( (III, IV IV, V)
Oysterband from Trawler 1994 (II, III, IV, VII) arranged in rock version has become very popular among the groups of the genre celtic-rock


CHORUS

Hal-an-Tow(1), jolly rumble-O
We were up long before the day-o
To welcome in the summertime
To welcome in the May-o
For summer is coming in
And winter’s gone away
I
Since man was first created
His works have been debated
We have celebrated
The coming of the Spring
II
Take the scorn and wear the horns(2)
It was the crest when you were born
Your father’s father wore it
And your father wore it too
III
Robin Hood and Little John
Have both gone to the fair-o
We shall to the merry green wood
To hunt the buck and hare-o (3)
IV
What happened to the Spaniards(4)
That made so great a boast-o?
They shall eat the feathered goose
And we shall eat the roast-o (5)V
As for Saint George(6), O!
Saint George he was a knight, O!
Of all the knights in Christendom,
Saint George is the right, O!
In every land, O!
The land where’er we go.
VI
But for a greater than St. George
Our Helston has the right-O
St. Michael with his wings outspread
The archangel so bright-O
Who fought the fiend-O
Of all mankind the foe
VII
God bless Aunt Mary Moses(7)
With all her power and might-o
Send us peace in England
Send us peace by day and night-o

NOTES
1)  The translation of Hal an tow could be “May day garland” (halan = calende) and the same name was attributed to the groups of youths who, early in the morning, went into the woods to cut the branches of the May and brought them to the village dancing and singing for the arrival of Spring.
But many scholars tend to refer to the meaning of “heel and toe,” referring to the dance step of the Morris dancing.
Another interpretation translates it as “pulling the rope” (from the Dutch “Haal aan het Touw” derived from the Saxon) referred to the work of the sailors on the ships but also to the game of tug of war, one of the few survivors from the May Games by Robin Hood. Some interpret all the stanzas in a seafaring key, as if the song were a sea-shanty and explain the term “rumbelow” as the rum in the vessel at the time of the pirates!
What shall he have that kill’d the deer? His leather skin and horns to wear. Then sing him home; Take thou no scorn to wear the  horn; It was a crest ere thou wast  born: Thy father’s father wore it, And thy father bore it: The horn, the horn, the lusty horn Is not a thing to laugh to scorn.How do you deny the reference to the deer god and, more generally, to the symbolism of the deer as a sacred animal, the bearer of fertility? see more
3) Shirley Collins:
To see what they do there-O
And for to chase-O
To chase the buck and doe
4) What happened to the Spaniards: the image is ironic about the Spaniards who eat goose feathers by english arrows to whom the roast goose is mockingly due as the winners
5)  Shirley Collins:
And we shall eat the roast-O
In every land-O
The land where’er we go
6) St George day in many populations of the Mediterranean rural world, represents the rebirth of nature and the arrival of Spring, the Saint has inherited the functions of a more ancient pagan deity associated with solar cults: St. George defeating the Dragon became the solar god who defeats the darkness. see more
7) Aunt Mary Moses: Our Lady  Originally, therefore, the invocation was a prayer referring to the goddess of spring. In other versions the sentence becomes”The Lord and Lady bless you” 

Lisa Knapp from Till April Is Dead ≈ A Garland of May 2017

LINK
http://mudcat.org/thread.cfm?threadid=40451
http://www.mudcat.org/Detail.CFM?messages__Message_ID=160194
http://mainlynorfolk.info/watersons/songs/halantow.html

Obby Oss Festival

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On May 1, in Padstow, a characteristic event called “Obby Oss Festival” is celebrated, centered on the Hobby Horse dance; Padstow is a small fishing port of North Cornwall on the mouth of the river Camel, now a tourist destination.

padstow oss
Oss and his teazer

The Oss are two, one of the Red group(the old horse) and the other of the Blue group (a more recent addition of the Victorian era): the masks are identical, looking fierce and black dressed , which emerge from a characteristic round shape (a circle of 2 meters) edged to the ground by the black fabric: the horses are led by their “teazers” a jugglers with a characteristic stick followed by a cortege of dancers and musicians (mostly drums and accordions): the dominant color in the parade is the white with red or blue depending on the group.

The Oss during his dance – revolving on himself and kicking – seems to war with the teazer or he is courting the young women, who if dragged under the mantle of the oss will become pregnant within the year (or they will get married by the year if they are still young maids)!

Alan Lomax and Peter Kennedy and filmmaker George Pickow collected footage at Padstow in 1951

AT THE BEGINNIG

It is not easy to find the origins of the ritual that is celebrated in Padstow, some indications come from the history of the village: the first settlement was the monastery built by St. Petroc in his mission of evangelization (VI century), but it was destroyed by a Viking raid in 981. Thus the monks moved further inside to Bodmin. Some hypothesize that the ceremony took place on that occasion as an extreme attempt at defense.
obby_oss_sHistorical references of the Oss date back to the late Middle Ages (early 1500) with traces still in the Victorian era: in 1803 is documented the presence of a horse made with the skin of a stallion with a man inside who sprinkled water on the crowd.

Some scholars trace the ritual to pre-Christian celebrations, connected with the Celtic festival of Beltane. Donald R. Rawe compare the oss to thehobby  horses of the Morris dances that are associated with the May fertility rites. (see also the Robin Hood games for the May day). The branches of the May brought into the village, the symbolic coupling with the young women kidnapped under the skirts by the oss, the death and rebirth of the same oss are clear references to fertility that are part of the May Celtic celebrations. However little else can be affirmed with certainty and the verses of the “daytime” singing are rather obscure.
Equally numerous are the references to the winter rituals of Samain that began at the end of October and ended after about twelve days. During the Christmas period the disturbing mask of a horse (hodden or hooden horse), is led through the streets of the village by a “tamer” who held it by the bridle: the children tried to mount the horse and people throw sweets or coins into the mouth of the animal as propitiatory offers. see more

SPRING RITE OF DEATH-REBIRTH

In the singing the Padstow May Song (mostly they repeats the first verse) at some point the music stops the Oss collapses to the ground, the teaser caresses him with his characteristic bat and they sing a kind of dirge funeral
Oh where is Saint George? Oh where is he-O?
He’s out in his longboat, all on the salt sea-O.
Up flies the kite, down falls the lark-O.
Aunt Ursula Birdhood, she had an old ewe,
And she died in her own park-O.
The oss dies then the “teaser” screams “Oss Oss” and the crowd answers “We Oss” thus the Oss comes back to life and gets up again to resume the dances..

Death-Resurrection of the Oss

Once between the two Oss was engaged a dance-fight, now the two parades march through the streets without ever meeting until late in the evening around the May Pole, before returning to their respective stables.

VIDEO
1930: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=aFW3xlSn3Ow
1932: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=JdDvOfUCfXk
1953: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=GA_e3LV6z0E
2012: http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-england-17911942

THE FAREWELL

The parade lasts all day from the morning around 11 am until evening and obviously several men alternate to play the Oss. At the end of the festival the Farewell to the Oss is sung with the phrase:
Farewell farewell my own true love
Farewell farewell my own true love

FAREWELL
I
How can I bear to leave you
One parting kiss I’ll give you
I’ll go what ‘ere befalls me
I’ll go where duty calls me
II
No more will I behold thee
Nor in my arms enfold thee
With spear and pennant glancing
I see the foe advancing
III
I think of thee with longing
Think though while tears are thronging
That with my last faint sighing
I whispered soft whilst dying

NIGHT SONG : Drink To The Old ‘Oss

The ritual of the oss begins, however, the night of May 1, at the stroke of midnight and until about two o’clock, with the Night Song, a clear song of begging, in which the youngsters are alerted to go into the woods to cut the branches of May: whoever sings asks in exchange for good phrases (prosperity, health, happiness) a little beer!

NIGHT SONG
I
Unite and unite and let us all unite,
For summer is a-come unto day,
And whither we are going we will all unite,
In the merry morning of May.
II
I warn you young men everyone
For summer is a-come unto day,
To go to the green-wood and fetch your May home
In the merry morning of May.
III
Arise up Mr. —- and joy you betide
For summer is a-come unto day,
And bright is your bride that lies by your side,
In the merry morning of May.
IV
Arise up Mrs. —- and gold be your ring,
For summer is a-come unto day,
And give to us a cup of ale the merrier we shall sing,
In the merry morning of May.
V
Arise up Miss —- all in your gown of green
For summer is a-come unto day,
You are as fine a lady as wait upon the Queen,
In the merry morning of May.
VI
Now fare you well, and we bid you all good cheer,
For summer is a-come unto day,
We call once more unto your house before another year,
In the merry morning of May


Steeleye Span live (they have recorded the song several times)

DAY SONG
I
Unite and unite, and let us all unite
For summer is a-comin’ today.
And whither we are going we all will unite,
In the merry morning of May.
II
The young men of Padstow, they might if they would,
For summer is a-comin’ today.
They might have built a ship and gilded it with gold
In the merry morning of May.
III
The young women of Padstow, they might if they would,
For summer is a-comin’ today.
They might have built a garland with the white rose and the red
In the merry morning of May.
IV
Oh where are the young men that now do advance
For summer is a-comin’ today.
Some they are in England and some they are in France
In the merry morning of May.
V
Oh where is King George? Oh where is he-O?
He’s out in his longboat, all on the salt sea-O.
Up flies the kite, down falls the lark-O.
Aunt Ursula Birdhood, she had an old ewe,
And she died in her own park-O.
VI
With the merry ring and with the joyful spring,
For summer is a-comin’ today.
How happy are the little birds and the merrier we shall sing
In the merry morning of May.

Lisa Knapp from Till April Is Dead ≈ A Garland of May 2017

PADSTOW MAY SONG
I
Unite and unite
For summer is a-come unto day,
Unite and unite,
In the merry morning of May.
II
With the marry ring
For summer is a-come unto day
Adieu the marry spring
In the merry morning of May
III
Arise up Mr. …
In the merry morning of May.
IV
Unite and unite and let us all unite,
For summer is a-come unto day,
And whither we are going we will all unite,
In the merry morning of May.
V
Oh where is King George?
Oh where is he-O?
He’s out in his longboat,
all on the salt sea-O.
Up flies the kite,
down falls the lark-O.
Aunt Ursula Birdhood,
she had an old ewe,
And she died in her own park-O.

TEXT MEANINGS

The May branches brought into the village, the symbolic coupling with the young women kidnapped under the skirts from the oss, the death and rebirth of the same oss are clear references to fertility that are part of the May Celtic celebrations. However little else can be affirmed with certainty and the verses of the “daytime” singing are rather obscure.
The young people who build a ship and cover it with gold, could symbolize the solar ship, and the theme of rebirth in a new afterlife it is the journey of purification of the soul of the deceased to the Hereafter.
The garland of red and white roses of young women (the colors of Beltane) symbolizes the union of the masculine principle with the feminine one and takes up again the theme of fertility propitiation. Even the last stanza is a clear reference to the lark, a messenger between the human and the divine, representation of youthful exaltation, a sacred and solar bird, symbol of good luck.
The interpretation of the verse already mentioned on the occasion of the funeral dirge in which the apparent death of the Oss is represented is very problematic!
Oh where is King George? Oh where is he-O?

oldossWHICH KING GEORGE?
The reference to the Hanover dynasty would start any historical dating to 1700, but on closer inspection the king is actually Saint George: it is precisely at this point when the Oss is about to die killed by the jester, that is Saint George who defeats the dragon, he is the solar god, who defeats the darkness, the Spring that defeats Winter.
But the most enigmatic of all is Aunt Ursula Birdhood with her old sheep! And here is the fantasy gallops and a local legend recalls an old woman who brought together the women of Padstow to drive away the Viking raiders (in another version become French) while the men were all out to sea to fish: disguised with the Obby Oss and guiding the women in a dancing procession to the beach Orsola has managed to get rid of the marauders convinced to see a monster!!
Some scholars see Birdwood as a mispronunciation of Birdwood and then link it to the figure of Robin Hood extensively connected to the celebration of May since the Middle Ages. Others recall the pagan myth concerning the goddess Freyja (or Sant’Orsola) who, with the name of Horsel or Ursel, welcomed the dead girls into the aftermath.

 second part

LINK
http://mainlynorfolk.info/steeleye.span/songs/padstow.html
http://celtic.org/hobby.pdf
http://www.padstowlive.com/events/padstow-may-day http://grapewrath.wordpress.com/2010/05/01/chris-wood-andy-cutting-following-the-old-oss/

Staines Morris to the Maypole haste away

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In the TV series “The Tudors” an outdoor May Day has been set up, with the picturesque dancers of the Morris Dance, their rattles and handkerchiefs, the archery, the fight of the roosters, the dances with the ribbons around the May pole, performed by graceful maidens with flower crowns in their hair. The background music is titled “Stanes Morris”, in the video follow two reproductions, the first of  Les Witches group, the second a little slower of The Broadside Band.

The May poles in the sixteenth and seventeenth centuries were very tall and decorated with green garlands, ribbons or two-color striped paintings: the tradition is rooted in England, Italy, Germany and France, a real focal point of the rousing activities at his feet , symbolic fulcrum of the group of dancers.

john-cousen-dancing-round-the-maypole-on-the-village-green-in-elizabethan-times
John Cousen: Ballando intorno al palo del Maggio in epoca elisabettiana

TO THE MAYPOLE HASTE AWAY (Staine Morris )

The melody is a dance reported in “The English Dancing Master” by John Playford, first edition of 1651, but already danced at the court of Henry VIII or in the Elizabethan era. In the video it is a Morris Dance while Playford describes it as a country dance (for instructions see)
Morris Dance version
It was William Chappell in his “Popular Music of the Old Time” of (1855-56) to combine the Tudor melody with the text “Maypole song” written in 1655 by Robert Cox for the comedy “Actaeon and Diana” . So Chappell writes “This tune is taken from the first edition of The Dancing Master. It is also in William Ballet’s Lute Book (time of Elizabeth); and was printed as late as about 1760, in a Collection of Country Dances, by Wright.
The Maypole Song, in Actæon and Diana, seems so exactly fitted to the air, that, having no guide as to the one intended, I have, on conjecture, printed it with this tune.

The text invites young people in following Love to dance and sing around the May Pole.
Martin Carthy & Dave Swarbrick from ‘Prince Heathen.’ 1969 (simply perfect!)

Shirley Collins from Morris On, 1972, the folk rock experiment of a group of excellent trad musicians John Kirkpatrick, Richard Thompson, Barry Dransfield, Ashley Hutchings  and Dave Mattacks.

Lisa Knapp & David Tibet from Till April Is Dead ≈ A Garland of May 2017  (amazing version with a further step ahead of the 70s rock rework)

MAYPOLE SONG
I
Come, ye young men, come along
with your music, dance and song;
bring your lasses in your hands,
for ‘tis that which love commands.
Refrein:
Then to the Maypole haste away
for ‘tis now a holiday,
Then to the Maypole haste away
for ‘tis now a holiday
II
‘Tis the choice time of the year,
For the violets now appear:
Now the rose receives its birth,
And pretty primrose decks the earth.
III
Here each bachelor may choose
One that will not faith abuse
Nor repay, with coy disdain
Love that should be loved again
IV
And when you are reckoned now
For kisses you your sweetheart gave
Take them all again and more
It will never make them poor
V
When you thus have spent your time,
Till the day be past its prime,
To your beds repair at night,
And dream there of your day’s delight.

second part: JOAN TO THE MAYPOLE

LINK
http://ontanomagico.altervista.org/intorno-al-palo-del-maggio.html 
Traditional Music (con spartito)
https://mainlynorfolk.info/martin.carthy/songs/stainesmorris.html
https://mudcat.org/thread.cfm?threadid=60673

Bedfordshire May Day carols

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BEDFORSHIDE

Moggers-Moggies[Z49-685]
The Lord and the Lady and the Moggers
On 1st May several customs were observed. Children would go garlanding, a garland being, typically, a wooden hoop over which a white cloth was stretched. A looser piece of cloth was fastened at the top which was used to cover the finished garland. Two dolls were fastened in the middle, one large and one small. Ribbons were sewn around the front edge and the rest of the space was filled with flowers. The dolls were supposed to represent the Virgin Mary and the Christ child. The children would stop at each house and ask for money to view the garland.

Another custom, prevalent throughout the county if not the country, was maying. It was done regularly until the outbreak of the First World War and, sporadically, afterwards. Young men would go around at night with may bushes singing May carols. In the morning a may bush was attached to the school flag pole, another would decorate the inn sign at the Crown and others rested against doors, designed to fall in when they were opened. Those maying included a Lord and a Lady, the latter the smallest of the young men with a veil and bonnet. The party also included Moggers or Moggies, a man and a woman with black faces, ragged clothes and carrying besom brushes. (from here)

VIDEO Here is a very significant testimony of Margery “Mum” Johnstone from  Bedforshide collected by Pete Caslte, with two May songs

Maypole dancers dance during May Day celebrations in the village of Elstow, Bedfordshire, in 1952 (Edward Malindine/Getty)

From the testimony of Mrs Margery Johnstone this May Garland or “This Morning Is The 1st of May” was transcribed by Fred Hamer in his “Gay Garners”

Lisa Knapp in Till April Is Dead ≈ A Garland of May 2017


MAY GARLAND*
I
This morning is the first of May,
The prime time of the year:
and If I live and tarry here
I’ll call another year
II
The fields and meadows
are so green
so green as any leek
Our Heavenly Father waters them
With His Heavenly dew so sweet
III
A man a man his life’s a span
he flourishes like a flower,
he’s here today and gone tomorrow
he’s gone all in an hour
IV
The clock strikes one, I must be gone,
I can no longer stay;
to come and — my pretty May doll
and look at my brunch of May
V
I have a purse in my pocket
That’s stroll with a silken string;
And all that it lacks
is a little of your money
To line it well within.

NOTE
* una trascrizione ancora parziale per l’incomprensione della pronuncia di alcune parole

BEDFORDSHIRE MAY DAY CAROL

The carol is known as “The May Day Carol” or “Bedford May Carol” but also “The Kentucky May Carol” (as preserved in the May tradition in the Appalachian Mountains) and was collected in Bedfordshire.
A first version comes from  Hinwick as collected by Lucy Broadwood  (1858 – 1929) and transcribed into “English Traditional Songs and Carols” (London: Boosey & Co., 1908).

Lisa Knapp & Mary Hampton from “Till April Is Dead – A Garland of May”, 2017

BEDFORDSHIRE MAY DAY CAROL
I
I’ve been rambling all the night,
And the best part of the day;
And now I am returning back again,
I have brought you a branch of May.
II
A branch of May, my dear, I say,
Before your door I stand,
It’s nothing but a sprout, but it’s well budded out,
By the work of our Lord’s hand (1).
III
Go down in your dairy and fetch me a cup, A cup of your sweet cream, (2)
And, if I should live to tarry in the town,/I will call on you next year.
IV
The hedges and the fields they are so green,/As green as any leaf,
Our Heavenly Father waters them
With His Heavenly dew so sweet (3).
V
When I am dead and in my grave,
And covered with cold clay,
The nightingale will sit and sing,
And pass the time away.
VI
Take a Bible in your hand,
And read a chapter through,
And, when the day of Judgment comes,
The Lord will think on you.
VII
I have a bag on my right arm,
Draws up with a silken string,
Nothing does it want but a little silver
To line it well within.
VIII
And now my song is almost done,
I can no longer stay,
God bless you all both great and small,
I wish you a joyful May.

NOTES
1) the hands become those of God and no more than Our Lady, as in Cambridgshire, the contaminations with the creed of the dominant religion are inevitable
2) this sweet and fresh cream in a glass is a typically Elizabethan vintage-style drink-dessert still popular in the Victorian era, the Syllabub. The Mayers once offered “a syllabub of hot milk directly from the cow, sweet cakes and wine” (The James Frazer Gold Branch). And so I went to browse to find the historical recipe: it is a milk shake, wine (or cider or beer) sweetened and perfumed with lemon juice. The lemon juice served to curdle the milk so that it would form a cream on the surface, over time the recipe has become more solid, ie a cream with the whipped cream flavored with liqueur or sweet wine (see recipes) 

Philip Mercier (1680-1760) – The Sense of Taste: in the background a tray full of syllabus glasses

3) the reference to the dew is not accidental, the tradition of May provides a bath in the dew and in the wild waters full of rain. The night is the magic of April 30 and the dew was collected by the girls and kept as a panacea able to awaken the beauty of women!! (see Beltane)

Shirley Collins  live 2002, same tune of Cambridgeshire May Carol (not completely transcribed)

BEDFORDSHIRE MAY CAROL
I
A branch of may, so fine and gay
And before your door it stands.
It’s but a sprout, it’s well-budded out, for the work of our Lord’s hand(1).
II
Arise, arise, you pretty fair maid
And take the May Bush in,
For if it is gone before morning come
You’ll say we have never been.
III
I have a little bird(?)
?…
IV
If not a cup of your cold cream (2)
A jug of your stout ale
And if we live to tarry in the town
We’ll call on you another year.
V(3)
For the life of a man it is but a span
he’s cut down like the flower
We’re here today, tomorrow we’re gone,
We’re dead all in one hour.
VI
The moon shine bright,
the stars give a light
A little before this day
so please to remember ….
And send you a joyful May.

NOTES
1) the hands become those of God and no more than Our Lady..
2) Syllabub (see above)
3) the stanza derives from “The Moon Shine Bright” version published by William Sandys in Christmas Carols Ancient and Modern (1833) see

NORTHILL MAY SONG

Magpie Lane from “Jack-in-the-Green” 1998 ( I, II, III e IX) with The Cuckoo’s Nest hornpipe (vedi)  
The song is reproposed in the Blog “A Folk song a Week”   edited by Andy Turner himself in which Andy tells us he had learned the song from the collection of Fred Hamer “Garners Gay”
Fred collected it from “Chris Marsom and others” – Mr Marsom had by that time emigrated to Canada, but Fred met him on a visit to his native Northill, Bedfordshire. Fred’s notes say “The Day Song is much too long for inclusion here and the Night Song has the same tune. It was used by Vaughan Williams as the tune for No. 638 of the English Hymnal, but he gave it the name of “Southill” because it was sent to him by a Southill man. Chris Marsom who sang this to me had many tales to tell of the reception the Mayers had from some of the ladies who were strangers to the village and became apprehensive at the approach of a body of men to their cottage after midnight on May Eve.”

Martin Carthy & Dave Swarbrick from “Because It’s There” 1995, ♪ (track 2 May Song)
Martin Carthy writes in the sleeve notes “May Song came from a Cynthia Gooding record which I lost 16 years ago, words stuck in my head.” (from II to VIII)

MAY SONG
I
Arise, arise, my pretty fair maids,
And take our May bush in,
For if it is gone by tomorrow morrow morn,
You’ll say we have brought you none.
II
We have been rambling all of the night,
The best(and most) part of this day;
And we are returning here back again
And we’ve brought you a garland gay (brunch of May).
III
A brunch of May we bear about(it does looked gay)
Before the (your) door it stands;
It is but a sprout and it’s all budded out
And it’s the work of God’s own hand.
IV
Oh wake up you, wake up pretty maid,
To take the May bush in.
For it will be gone and tomorrow morn
And you will have none within.
V
The heavenly gates are open wide
To let escape the dew(1).
It makes no delay it is here today
And it falls on me and you.
VI
For the life of a man is but a span,
He’s cut down like the flower;
He makes no delay he is here today
And he’s vanished all in an hour.
VII
And when you are dead and you’re in your grave
You’re covered in the cold cold clay.
The worms they will eat your flesh good man
And your bones they will waste away.
VIII
My song is done and I must be gone,
I can no longer stay.
God bless us all both great and small
And wish us a gladsome May.
IX
The clock strikes one, it’s time to be gone,
We can no longer stay.
God bless you all both great and small
And send you a joyful May.

NOTES
1) according to the previous religion, water received more power from the Beltane sun. Celts made pilgrimages to the sacred springs and with the spring water they sprinkled the fields to favor the rain.

Kerfuffle from “To the Ground”, 2008

ARISE, ARISE (Northill May Song)
I
Arise, arise, you pretty fair maid
And bring your May Bush in,
For if it is gone by tomorrow, morrow morn,
You’ll say we have brought you none.
II
We have been wandering all this night
And almost all of the day
And now we’re returning back again;
We’ve brought you a branch of May.
III
A branch of May we have brought you,
And at your door it stands;
It’s nothing but a sprout but it’s well budded out
By the work of our Lord’s hand.
IV
The clock strikes one, it’s time to be gone,
We can no longer stay.
God bless you all both great and small
And send you a joyful May.

victorian-art-artist-painting-print-by-myles-birket-foster-first-of-may-garland-day

LINK
https://mainlynorfolk.info/martin.carthy/songs/maysong.html
https://mainlynorfolk.info/shirley.collins/songs/themoonshinesbright.html
https://mainlynorfolk.info/shirley.collins/songs/cambridgeshiremaycarol.html
https://www.hymnsandcarolsofchristmas.com/Hymns_and_Carols/NonChristmas/bedfordshire_may_day_carol.htm
http://www.hymnsandcarolsofchristmas.com/Hymns_and_Carols/moon_shines_bright.htm
http://ingeb.org/songs/themoons.html
https://afolksongaweek.wordpress.com/2012/04/30/week-36-northill-may-song/

Andare a fare il fieno nel mese di maggio!

Read the post in English

“The haymaker’s song” anche “The Pleasany Month of May”, ‘”Twas in the Pleasant Month of May” oppure ” The Merry Haymakers” è riportata nella raccolta di canti tradizionali della famiglia Copper del Sussex (vedi): nella canzone, che plaude all’onesto lavoro nei campi, ci si riferisce a un attività particolare della stagione agricola, quella in cui si andava a fare il fieno, cioè a tagliare l’erba alta con la falce, per metterla da parte come foraggio per il bestiame e gli animali da cortile. Mentre il taglio del fieno era un compito per lo più maschile, le donne e i fanciulli utilizzavano il rastrello per raccogliere l’erba in grossi mucchi, che venivano poi caricati sul carro mediante l’uso dei forconi.
Per tutto l’Ottocento non mancarono poesie e canzoni sul tema “Making of the Hay” vedi

George Stubbs - Haymakers 1785 (Wikimedia)
George Stubbs – Haymakers 1785 (Wikimedia)

Al Lloyd (“Folk Song in England”, p 234/5) traccia una possibile fonte in un foglio volante del 1695; le versioni raccolte richiamano però lo stile del 1700 e presumibilmente derivano da un paio di broadsides più recenti. Trovata principalmente nella tradizione  nel sud e sud-est dell’Inghilterra, ad eccezione di Huntington; in “Songs of the People” di Sam Henry (1990), “Tumbling Through the Hay”, presumibilmente trascritto in Ulster.” (tratto da qui)

Dopo il duro lavoro arriva però il momento di divertirsi e così tutti i lavoranti si trovano a danzare in mezzo ai covoni di fieno sulle melodie di un piper di passaggio!!

William Pint & Felicia Dale in Hartwell Horn 1999 
Jackie Oates in Hyperboreans 2009 
Lisa Knapp in Till April Is Dead ≈ A Garland of May 2017

PLEASANT MONTH OF MAY *
I
‘Twas in the pleasant month of May,
In the springtime of the year,
And down in yonder meadow
There runs a river clear.
See how the little fishes,
How they do sport and play;
Causes many a lad and many a lass
To go there a-making hay.
II
Then in comes the scythesman,
That meadow to mow down,
With his old leathered bottle
And the ale that runs so brown.
There’s many a stout and a laboring man
Goes there his skill to try;
He works, he mows, he sweats, he blows,
And the grass cuts very dry.
III
Then in comes both Tom and Dick
With their pitchforks and their rakes,
And likewise black-eyed Susan
The hay all for to make.
There’s a sweet, sweet, sweet and a jug, jug, jug(1)
How the harmless birds do sing
From the morning to the evening
As we were a-haymaking.
IV
It was just at one evening
As the sun was a-going down,
We saw the jolly piper
Come a-strolling through the town.
There he pulled out his tabor and pipes(2)
And he made the valleys ring;
So we all put down our rakes and forks
And we left off haymaking.
V
We called for a dance
And we tripped it along;
We danced all round the haycocks
Till the rising of the sun.
When the sun did shine such a glorious light,
How the harmless birds did sing;
Each lad he took his lass in hand
And went back to his haymaking.
Traduzione italiana Cattia Salto
I
Si era nel felice mese di Maggio
nella Primavera dell’Anno
e giù per quel prato
scorreva un ruscello limpido.
Guarda come i pesciolini
giocano e nuotano
perchè più di un ragazzo e una ragazza
vanno là a fare il fieno.
II
Allora arriva l’uomo con la falce
a falciare quel prato
con la sua vecchia fiaschetta
e la birra che scorre così scura
c’è più  di un robusto e alacre bracciante che
va dove c’è da mostrare la sua bravura
lavora, falcia, suda,
ansima
e l’erba molto secca taglia.
III
Poi entrano sia Tom e Dick
con i loro forconi e rastrelli
e anche Susan dagli occhi scuri
per fare tutti il fieno.
c’era una melodia, cip, cip
ciop, ciop
come cantavano gli uccellini
da mattina a sera
mentre eravamo a fare il fieno!
IV
E non appena arrivava la sera
quando il sole tramontava
si vedeva l’allegro piper
che girovaga per i paesi.
Allora tirava fuori il tamburo
e il flauto
e faceva risuonare la vallata
così si posavamo rastrelli e forconi
e si smetteva di fare fieno.
V
Si invitava per un ballo
e si girava in tondo
danzavamo intorno al covoni di fieno
fino al sorgere del sole.
Quando il sole risplendeva nella sua luce gloriosa,
mentre gli uccellini cantavano;
ogni ragazzo prendeva la sua ragazza per mano e ritornava a fare il fieno

NOTE
1) suoni che richiamano il trillo degli uccelli: sono dei versi che imitano il canto degli uccelli
2) piffero e tamburo, in una combinazione detta tabor-pipe:  il flauto a tre buchi  permette al musicista di suonare lo strumento con una sola mano, mentre con l’altra percuote il tamburino a tracolla. Se la combinazione era molto versatile e ben si prestava alle esecuzioni di strada del giullare, era anche perfetta per l’esecuzione delle danze e quindi nell’antica iconografia sono frequenti le immagini conviviali spesso in presenza di danzatori. (continua)

L’allodola e il cavallante nel mese di Maggio

FONTI
http://www.hayinart.com/001405.html
https://mainlynorfolk.info/folk/songs/thepleasantmonthofmay.html
http://www.joe-offer.com/folkinfo/songs/213.html
http://www.musicanet.org/robokopp/english/haymaker.htm
http://konkykru.com/e.caldecott.our.haymaking.html

Carole di Primavera nel Bedforshide

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MayDay_MarshallMAY DAY SONG  (May Day Carol) IN INGHILTERRA
(suddivisione in contee)
Introduzione (preface)
inghilterraBedforshide
Cambridgshire, Cheshire  
Lancashire, Yorkshire
Flag_of_Cornwall_svgObby Oss Festival
Padstow may day songs 
Helston Furry Dance

BEDFORSHIDE

Moggers-Moggies[Z49-685]Il Primo Maggio si seguivano alcune tradizioni. I bambini portavano la ghirlanda del Maggio ossia un cerchio formato con rami decorati con nastri e fiori, nel centro erano appese due bamboline, una grande che rappresentava la Vergine Maria e una più piccola che rappresentava Cristo bambino, un panno bianco era fissato sulla sommità per coprire tutta la ghirlanda. I bambini si fermavano ad ogni casa e chiedevano dei soldi per mostrare la ghirlanda sollevando il panno.
Un’altra tradizione diffusa in tutta la contea era il Maying, si faceva regolarmente fino allo scoppio della prima guerra mondiale e dopo solo sporadicamente: i giovani andavano in giro la notte con i rami del Maggio e cantavano i canti del Maggio, al mattino un ramo del maggio era attaccato al palo portabandiera della scuola, un altro decorava l’insegna della locanda “at the Crown” e altri erano appoggiati contro le porte in modo che finissero in casa quando si aprivano. Questi maggianti includevano un Signore e una Signora (il più giovane dei ragazzi con un velo sul volto e una cuffietta), tra i mummers anche i Moggers o Moggies un uomo e una donna con le facce annerite vestiti di stracci e con le scope 
(tradotto da qui)

VIDEO Ecco una testimonianza molto significativa di Margery “Mum” Johnstone dal Bedforshide raccolta da Pete Caslte, con due canzoni del Maggio

La danza del Palo durante  la festa del Maggio a Elstow, Bedfordshire, nel 1952 (Edward Malindine/Getty)

Ancora dalla testimonianza della signora Margery Johnstone questa May Garland ovvero “This Morning Is The 1st of May” trascritta da Fred Hamer  nel suo  “Garners Gay”

Lisa Knapp in Till April Is Dead ≈ A Garland of May 2017

MAY GARLAND*
I
This morning is the first of May,
The prime time of the year:
and If I live and tarry here
I’ll call another year
II
The fields and meadows
are so green
so green as any leek
Our Heavenly Father waters them
With His Heavenly dew so sweet
III
A man a man his life’s a span
he flourishes like a flower,
he’s here today and gone tomorrow
he’s gone all in an hour
IV
The clock strikes one, I must be gone,
I can no longer stay;
to come and — my pretty May doll
and look at my brunch of May
V
I have a purse in my pocket
That’s stroll with a silken string;
And all that it lacks
is a little of your money
To line it well within.
Traduzione italiana Cattia Salto
I
Stamattina è il Primo di Maggio
il momento più importante dell’anno
e se vivrò e resterò qui
vi visiterò un altro anno
II
I campi e i prati
sono così verdi
come il tenero porro
il nostro Padre del Cielo li innaffia
con la sua dolce rugiada celeste
III
L’uomo tuttavia è solo un uomo, la sua vita è breve, è molto simile a un fiore
è qui oggi e domani non c’è più,
così tutto finisce nel giro di un ora.
IV
L’orologio batte l’una, devo andare
non posso restare più a lungo
vieni e — la mia bambola del Maggio
e guarda il mio ramo del Maggio
V
Ho una borsa in tasca
che è legata con un nastro di seta
e tutto ciò che le manca
è un po’ del tuo denaro
da infilare dentro

NOTE
* una trascrizione ancora parziale per l’incomprensione della pronuncia di alcune parole

BEDFORDSHIRE MAY DAY CAROL

La carol è conosciuta con il nome più generico di “The May Day Carol” o “Bedford May Carol” ma anche come “The Kentucky May Carol” (come preservata nella tradizione del maggio nei Monti Appalachi) ed è stata raccolta nel Bedfordshire.
Una prima versione ci viene dalla tradizione di Hinwick come collezionata da Lucy Broadwood  (1858 –  1929)  e trascritta in “English Traditional Songs and Carols” ( Londra: Boosey & Co., 1908).

Lisa Knapp & Mary Hampton in “Till April Is Dead – A Garland of May”, 2017


I
I’ve been rambling all the night,
And the best part of the day;
And now I am returning back again,
I have brought you a branch of May.
II
A branch of May, my dear, I say,
Before your door I stand,
It’s nothing but a sprout, but it’s well budded out,
By the work of our Lord’s hand (1).
III
Go down in your dairy and fetch me a cup, A cup of your sweet cream, (2)
And, if I should live to tarry in the town,/I will call on you next year.
IV
The hedges and the fields they are so green,/As green as any leaf,
Our Heavenly Father waters them
With His Heavenly dew so sweet (3).
V
When I am dead and in my grave,
And covered with cold clay,
The nightingale will sit and sing,
And pass the time away.
VI
Take a Bible in your hand,
And read a chapter through,
And, when the day of Judgment comes,
The Lord will think on you.
VII
I have a bag on my right arm,
Draws up with a silken string,
Nothing does it want but a little silver
To line it well within.
VIII
And now my song is almost done,
I can no longer stay,
God bless you all both great and small,
I wish you a joyful May.
Traduzione italiana Cattia Salto
I
Ho vagato per tutta la notte
e per buona parte di questo giorno
e  ora  ritorno ancora qui
per portarvi il ramo del maggio
II
Lo spino del Maggio mia cara, dico,
è davanti alla tua porta
non è che un germoglio ma è ben sbocciato
per il lavoro di nostro Signore
III
Vai nella dispensa e portami una coppa,
una coppa della tua dolce crema,
e se dovessi restare in città
ritornerò da voi un altro anno.
IV
Le siepi e i campi sono così verdi
e ogni foglia è rifiorita
il Nostro Padre dei Cieli li innaffia
con la sua dolce rugiada celeste
V
E quando sarò morto e nella tomba
e ricoperto dalla fredda terra
l’usignolo si fermerà a cantare
e il tempo trascorrerà via
VI
Prendi la Bibbia in mano
e leggi un capitolo
e quando il giorno del giudizio verrà
il Signore penserà a te
VII
Ho una borsa sul braccio destro
stretta con un nastro di seta
non vuole altro che un po’ d’argento
da infilare dentro
VIII
E ora che la canzone è quasi finita
non posso restare più a lungo
Dio vi benedica, grandi e piccini
e vi auguro un felice Maggio!

NOTE
1) le mani diventano quelle di Dio e non più della Madonna, come nella versione del Cambridgshire, inevitabili le contaminazioni con il credo della religione dominante
2) questa crema dolce e fresca in bicchiere è una bevanda-dessert tipicamente inglese d’epoca elisabettiana ancora popolare in epoca vittoriana, il Syllabub. Un tempo ai Mayers si offriva “una syllabub di latte caldo direttamente dalla mucca, torte dolci e vino” (Il ramo d’Oro James Frazer). E così sono andata a curiosare per ritrovare la ricetta storica: si tratta di un  frappè di latte, vino (o sidro o birra) zuccherato e profumato con succo di limone. Il succo di limone serviva a far cagliare il latte in modo che si formasse una crema in superficie,  nel tempo la ricetta è diventata più solida, cioè una crema con la panna montanta aromatizzata con del liquore o vino dolce (vedi ricette)

Philip Mercier (1680-1760) – The Sense of Taste sullo sfondo un vassoio pieno di bicchieri di syllabubs

3) il riferimento alla rugiada non è casuale , la tradizione del maggio prevede il bagno nella rugiada e nelle acque selvatiche ricche di pioggia. La notte è quella magica del 30 aprile e la rugiada veniva raccolta dalle fanciulle e conservata come un toccasana in grado di risvegliare la bellezza femminile! (vedi Beltane)

Shirley Collins  live 2002 la melodia è la stessa della Cambridgeshire May Carol (purtroppo il mio orecchio non riesce a distinguere bene alcune frasi.. lasciate in punteggiatura)


I
A branch of may, so fine and gay
And before your door it stands.
It’s but a sprout, it’s well-budded out, for the work of our Lord’s hand(1).
II
Arise, arise, you pretty fair maid
And take the May Bush in,
For if it is gone before morning come
You’ll say we have never been.
III
I have a little bird(?)
?…
IV
If not a cup of your cold cream (2)
A jug of your stout ale
And if we live to tarry in the town
We’ll call on you another year.
V(3)
For the life of a man it is but a span
he’s cut down like the flower
We’re here today, tomorrow we’re gone,
We’re dead all in one hour.
VI
The moon shine bright,
the stars give a light
A little before this day
so please to remember ….
And send you a joyful May.
Traduzione italiana Cattia Salto
I
Un ramo del Maggio, così bello e allegro, sta davanti alla tua porta,
non è in germoglio, ma è ben sbocciato
per il lavoro di nostro Signore
II
Alzati, bella fanciulla e fai entrare il Maggio perchè se ne andrà prima che venga il mattino, potresti dire che non te lo abbiamo portato.
III
?
?
IV
Se non una coppa di crema fredda  (dateci) un boccale di birra scura
e se continueremo a  restare in città
ritorneremo da voi un altro anno.
V
Perchè la vita di un uomo è breve
ed è recisa come un fiore
siamo qui oggi e domani non ci saremo più
saremo tutti morti nel giro di un ora
VI
La luna brilla luminosa, le stelle si accendono
tra poco sarà giorno
così ricordatevi ..
e vi auguriamo un gioioso Maggio

NOTE
1) le mani diventano quelle di Dio e non più della Madonna.
2) il Syllabub (vedi sopra)
3) la strofa deriva da “The Moon Shine Bright” versione pubblicata da William Sandys in Christmas Carols Ancient and Modern (1833) vedi

NORTHILL MAY SONG

Magpie Lane in “Jack-in-the-Green” 1998 (strofe I, II, III e IX) e a seguire The Cuckoo’s Nest hornpipe (vedi)  
La canzone viene riproposta nel Blog “A Folk song a Week”   curato dallo stesso Andy Turner  in cui Andy ci dice di aver appreso la canzone dalla raccolta di Fred Hamer “Garners Gay”
Fred la collezionò da “Chris Marsom e altri” – Mr Marsom era già emigrato in Canada,ma Fred lo incontrò in visita a Northill, il suo paese natale nel Bedfordshire. Le note di Fred dicono “The Day Song è troppo lunga per essere inclusa qui e la Night Song ha la stessa melodia. E’ stata usata da Vaughan Williams come la melodia No. 638 nell’ English Hymnal, ma con il nome di “Southill” perchè gli era stata mandata da un uomo di Southill. Chris Marsom che me la cantò aveva molte storielle sull’accoglienza delle signore forestiere che vivevano da poco nel villaggio perchè si spaventavano quando i Maggianti si avvicinavano alla loro casa nel cuore della notte alla vigilia del 1° Maggio”

Martin Carthy & Dave Swarbrick in “Because It’s There” 1995, ♪ (traccia 2 May Song)
Martin Carthy scrive nelle note dell’album “May Song viene dalla registrazione di Cynthia Gooding che ho perso circa 16 anni fa, ma le parole mi sono rimaste in testa.” (strofe da II a VIII)

MAY SONG
I
Arise, arise, my pretty fair maids,
And take our May bush in,
For if it is gone by tomorrow morrow morn,
You’ll say we have brought you none.
II
We have been rambling all of the night,
The best(and most) part of this day;
And we are returning here back again
And we’ve brought you a garland gay (brunch of May).
III
A brunch of May we bear about(it does looked gay)
Before the (your) door it stands;
It is but a sprout and it’s all budded out
And it’s the work of God’s own hand.
IV
Oh wake up you, wake up pretty maid,
To take the May bush in.
For it will be gone and tomorrow morn
And you will have none within.
V
The heavenly gates are open wide
To let escape the dew(1).
It makes no delay it is here today
And it falls on me and you.
VI
For the life of a man is but a span,
He’s cut down like the flower;
He makes no delay he is here today
And he’s vanished all in an hour.
VII
And when you are dead and you’re in your grave
You’re covered in the cold cold clay.
The worms they will eat your flesh good man
And your bones they will waste away.
VIII
My song is done and I must be gone,
I can no longer stay.
God bless us all both great and small
And wish us a gladsome May.
IX
The clock strikes one, it’s time to be gone,
We can no longer stay.
God bless you all both great and small
And send you a joyful May.
Traduzione italiana Cattia Salto
I
Alzati mia graziosa fanciulla
e prendi il nostro spino del Maggio
che all’alba di domani tutto finisce e potresti dire che non te lo abbiamo portato
II
Abbiamo vagato per tutta la notte
e per buona parte di questo giorno
e siamo di ritorno ancora qui
per portarti una allegra ghirlanda (il ramo del maggio)
III
Lo spino del Maggio portiamo in giro (porta l’allegria)
e sta davanti alla tua porta non è che un germoglio ma è ben sbocciato per il lavoro di nostro Signore
IV
Alzati bella fanciulla per far entrare il Maggio, perchè se ne andrà prima che venga il mattino e potresti dire che non te lo abbiamo portato.
V
Le porte del paradiso sono spalancate
per far fuggire la rugiada
è qui oggi, puntuale
e cade su di me e te
VI
Perchè la vita di un uomo è breve
ed è recisa come un fiore
non ci sono proroghe oggi c’è
e poi svanisce nel giro di un’ora
VII
E quando sarai morto
e nella tomba
sarai ricoperto dalla fredda terra
i vermi mangeranno la tua carne, buonuomo
e le tue ossa si consumeranno.
VIII
La canzone è finita ed è tempo di andare, non posso restare più a lungo. Siate benedetti, grandi e piccini
e vi auguriamo un felice Maggio!
IX
L’orologio batte l’una, è tempo di andare
non possiamo restare più a lungo
Siate benedetti, grandi e piccini
e vi auguriamo un felice Maggio!

NOTE
1) secondo la precedente religione l’acqua riceveva maggior potere dal sole di Beltane. Si facevano pellegrinaggio alle sorgenti sacre e con l’acqua della sorgente si aspergevano i campi per favorire la pioggia.

Kerfuffle in “To the Ground”, 2008

ARISE, ARISE (Northill May Song)
I
Arise, arise, you pretty fair maid
And bring your May Bush in,
For if it is gone by tomorrow, morrow morn,
You’ll say we have brought you none.
II
We have been wandering all this night
And almost all of the day
And now we’re returning back again;
We’ve brought you a branch of May.
III
A branch of May we have brought you,
And at your door it stands;
It’s nothing but a sprout but it’s well budded out
By the work of our Lord’s hand.
IV
The clock strikes one, it’s time to be gone,
We can no longer stay.
God bless you all both great and small
And send you a joyful May.
Traduzione italiana Cattia Salto
I
Alzati, dolce fanciulla,
a prendere lo Spino del Maggio,
che all’alba di domani tutto finisce
e potresti dire che non te lo abbiamo portato.
II
Abbiamo vagato per tutta la notte
e per buona parte del giorno
e siamo di ritorno ancora qui
per portarti il ramo del maggio
III
Un ramo del Maggio ti abbiamo portato, ed è davanti alla tua porta,
non è in germoglio,
ma è ben sbocciato
per mano di Nostro Signore
IV
L’orologio batte l’una, è tempo di andare
non possiamo restare più a lungo
Siate benedetti, grandi e piccini
e vi auguriamo un felice Maggio!

victorian-art-artist-painting-print-by-myles-birket-foster-first-of-may-garland-day

FONTI
https://mainlynorfolk.info/martin.carthy/songs/maysong.html
https://mainlynorfolk.info/shirley.collins/songs/themoonshinesbright.html
https://www.hymnsandcarolsofchristmas.com/Hymns_and_Carols/NonChristmas/bedfordshire_may_day_carol.htm
https://mainlynorfolk.info/shirley.collins/songs/cambridgeshiremaycarol.html
http://www.hymnsandcarolsofchristmas.com/Hymns_and_Carols/moon_shines_bright.htm
http://ingeb.org/songs/themoons.html
https://afolksongaweek.wordpress.com/2012/04/30/week-36-northill-may-song/

A BLACKSMITH COURTED ME

blacksmiths-forge-1859-granger“Il canto è stato raccolto dalla tradizione popolare inglese e riportato in molte collezioni di inizio novecento; un brano che non si trova propriamente nella tradizione irlandese ma che è stato interpretato da vari artisti di area celtica. Fu Ralph Vaughan Williams a raccoglierlo sul campo nel 1909 dalla signora Ellen Powell di Westhope vicino a Weobley, Herefordshire; anche intitolato semplicemente “The Blacksmith“.

Da sempre nelle canzoni popolari il maniscalco è considerato sinonimo di virilità, amante molto dotato e dalla forza portentosa.

Particolarmente diffusa in Scozia la figura dell’Anvil Priest: con un colpo di martello sull’incudine (in inglese anvil) il fabbro dichiarava gli sposi marito e moglie!
http://ontanomagico.altervista.org/matrimonio-celtico-storia.html

THE BLACKSMITH

Il fabbro lascia la sua innamorata in paese (per cercare fortuna all’estero), le scrive una lettera d’amore (ma insincera) e ritorna sposato con un’altra.

ASCOLTA Planxty 1979:  versione e arrangiamento diventati “standard”, la parte strumentale scritta da Andy Irvine si è poi ulteriormente evoluta in una jig che ha preso vita propria nelle session di danza.

ASCOLTA Eddi Reader in “Mirmama” 1991 (stile world music)

ASCOLTA Loreena McKennitt in Elemental 1985

ASCOLTA Lisa Knapp in “Wild and Undaunted” 2007
ASCOLTA David Gibb & Elly Lucas in “Old Chairs to Mend” 2012
ASCOLTA Sheila Chandra (strofe I, III, IV, V, I) in un’interpretazione molto intensa e tutta particolare

The Penguin Book Of English Folk Songs, “Sung by Mrs. Powell, nr. Weobley, Herefordshire. [Collected by] Ralph Vaughan Williams 1909.”


I
A blacksmith courted me,
nine months and better
he fairly won my heart,
wrote me a letter
with his hammer in his hand,
he looked quite clever
and if I was with my love, I’d live forever
II
But where is my love gone
with his cheeks like roses(1)?
and his good black billycock on
decked round with primroses?
I’m afraid the shining sun
will shine and burn his beauty
and if I was with my love,
I’d do my duty
III
Strange news is come to town,
strange news is carried
strange news flies up and down
that my love is married
I wish them both much joy
though they can’t hear me
and may God reward him well
for the slighting of me(2)
IV(3)
“Don’t you remember when
you lay beside me,
and you said you’d marry me
and not deny me”
“If I said I’d marry you,
it was only for to try you
so bring your witness love
and I’ll not deny you”
V
“No, witness have I none
save God almighty
and may he reward you well
for the slighting of me”
Her lips grew pale and wan,
it made her poor heart tremble
to think she loved a one and he proved deceitful.
Traduzione italiano di Cattia Salto
I
Un fabbro mi corteggiò
per nove mesi e più
e infine conquistò il mio cuore
e mi scrisse una lettera
e con il martello in mano,
sembrava tanto saggio
-accanto al mio amore
per sempre vivrei
II
Ma dove se ne è andato il mio amore con le sue guance di rosa
e la sua bella bombetta nera,
guarnita di primule?
Ho paura che il sole splendente
scotterà e brucerà la sua bellezza
– accanto al mio amore
farei il mio dovere
III
Strane notizie sono arrivate in città, strane notizie si propalano,
strane notizie circolano in lungo e in largo che il mio amore si sia maritato! Auguro a entrambi molta gioia,
anche se loro non mi sentono
e possa Dio ricompensarlo bene
per l’offesa che mi ha recato.
IV
“Non ti ricordi quando
giacevi accanto a me
e dicevi che mi avresti sposata
e non mi rinnegavi!”.
“Se ho detto che ti avrei sposata
era solo per metterti alla prova
perciò prendi il tuo testimone, amore, e io non rifiuterò”
V
“No, non ho nessun testimone,
mi salvi Dio Onnipotente,
e possa egli ben ricompensarti
per l’offesa che mi ha recato.”
Le sue labbra divennero pallide e smorte, il suo povero cuore si mise a tremare al pensiero di aver amato uno che si è dimostrato bugiardo.

NOTE
*(revisione della traduzione tratta da qui)
1) queste parole sono scritte nella lettera del fabbro, tenere e premurose (ma insincere), nella lettera doveva essere inclusa una fotografia di lui intento al lavoro
2) ovviamente queste sono maledizioni
3) la strofa descrive l’incontro tra il fabbro ritornato sposato con un’altra e l’ex-fidanzata abbandonata in paese: lui mi sembra cadere dalle nuvole, come se nella lettera scritta poco dopo la partenza non le avesse giurato amore eterno!

VERSIONE STRUMENTALE THE BLACKSMITH

Il brano è suonato anche in versione strumentale come una jig probabilmente sviluppando la versione dei Planxty. Con il titolo di Merry Blacksmith si identifica invece un reel
ASCOLTA

FONTI
http://mainlynorfolk.info/shirley.collins/songs/theblacksmith.htm
l
http://www.joe-offer.com/folkinfo/songs/2.html
http://www.joe-offer.com/folkinfo/forum/39.html
http://www.8notes.com/scores/3547.asp
http://www.pteratunes.org.uk/Music/Music/Lyrics/Blacksmith.htm
l
http://www.pteratunes.org.uk/Music/Music/Lyrics/Blacksmith2.html http://thesession.org/tunes/1526
http://mudcat.org/thread.cfm?threadid=10786 http://www.china2galway.com/song%20words%20Blacksmith.htm