Lancashire, Yorkshire & Oxfordshire may day carols

Leggi in italiano

GREATER MANCHESTER – Lancashire

Manchester May Day.
“One tradition was for girls to don mainly white dresses, made from curtains or whatever, and carry around a broomstick representing a maypole. Another tradition was for boys to dress up in women’s clothing and to colour their faces – they were called molly dancers, ‘molly’ being an old expression for an effeminate man. Dr Cass[Dr Eddie Cass, the Folklore Society] says they went round quoting a verse. One such, from the Salford area, was: I’m a collier from Pendlebury brew. Itch Koo Pushing little wagons up a brew I earn thirty bob a week I’ve a wife and kids to keep I’m a collier from Pendlebury brew Dr Cass himself remembers both traditions. The girls would dance round the maypole and sing other songs, such as: Buttercups and daisies Oh what pretty flowers Coming in spring time To tell of sunny hours We come to greet you on the first of May We hope you will not send us away For we dance and sing our merry song On a maypole day (from here)

SWINTON MAY SONG

The version reproduced by Watersons in 1975 is taken from W & R Chamber “Book of Days” – 1869 – with words and music collected by Mr. Job Knight (1861) –  A.L. Lloyd comments
The critical seasons of the year—midwinter, coming of spring, onset of autumn—were times for groups of carollers to go through the villages singing charms for good luck, in hope of a reward of food, drink, money. This one was sung on May Eve or thereabouts in Yorkshire and Lancashire, but it’s much like similar songs from any other county.”

This song is  titled “Drawing Near the Merry Month of May” and the text is also reported in Edwin Waugh’s book “Lancashire Sketches” (1869)
The area of reference is Yorkshire and Lancashire and “Swinton” was a small borough, then Salford city now become a part of Manchester (England)

The Watersons from For Pence and Spicy Ale -1975

Brass Monkey from Flame of Fire – 2005

The two melodies are different, the version of the Brass Monkey recalls the Padstow May Song, another song of springtime still popular ritual in the town of Padstow, Cornwall.
As reported in Chambers’ Book of Day (1869), Swinton’s two songs were the Old May song and the New May song. The Old May Song was a so-called Night song that was sung during the night by groups of mayers accompanied with various musical instruments.

OLD MAY SONG

I
All in this pleasant evening together
come has we
for the summer springs so fresh and green and gay.
We’ll tell you of a blossom and a bud on every tree
Drawing near to the merry month of May
II
Rise up, the master of this house all in your chain of gold
For the summer springs so fresh and green and gay
We hope you’re not offended with your house we make so bold
Drawing near to the merry month of May
III
Rise up, the mistress of this house with gold all on your breast
For the summer springs so fresh and green and gay
And if your body is asleep we hope your soul’s at rest
Drawing near to the merry month of May
IV
Rise up, the children of this house, all in your rich attire
For the summer springs so gresh and green and gay.
And every hair all on your head shines like a silver wire
Drawing near to the merry month of May
V
God bless this house and arbor, your riches and your store
For the summer springs so fresh and green and gay
We hope that the Lord will prosper you both now and evermore
Drawing near to the merry month of May
VI
So now we’re going to leave you in peace and plenty here
For the summer springs so fresh and green and gay
We will not sing you May again until another year
For to drive you these cold winter nights away

Charles Daniel Ward: Processing of Spring -1905
Charles Daniel Ward: Processing of Spring -1905

We heve a direct testimony in the book”Memoirs of Seventy Years of an Eventful Life  from Charles Hulbert (Providence Grove, Near Shrewsbury:1852), pg 107
With feelings of indescribable pleasure, I still call to my remembrance various customs and scenes familiar to my early years. Still present is the delight with which I hailed the approach of May-day morning, when a select company of the musical Rustics of Worsley, Swinton and Eccles, would assemble at midnight to commence the grateful task of saluting their neighbours with the sound of the Clarionet, Hautboy, German Flute, Violin, and the melody of twenty voices. On this occasion the leader of the band would commence his song under the window or before the outer door of the family “he delighted to honour” with
O rise up Master of this House, all in your chain of gold,
For the summer springs so fresh, green and gay;
I hope you’ll not be angry at us for being so bold,
Drawing near to the merry month of May.
In this strain, including some encomiums or happy allusion to the various qualifications of all the other branches of the family the whole were saluted: after which a purse of silver or a few mugs of good ale were distributed among the company; thus they proceeded from house to house, tilling the air with their music and happy voices, till six o’clock in the morning.
Among the drinks with which the singers were refreshing their throat in addition to the inevitable beer there was also the Syllabub prepared with milk cream. see more

OXFORDSHIRE

THE SWALCLIFFE MAY DAY CAROL

CMB-009Here is the transcription of a 19th-century May song sung by Swalcliffe’s children, clearly a Day Song
Swalcliffe (pronounced sway-cliff) is a village near Banbury in North Oxfordshire. The words of this carol were noted by Miss Annie Norris around 1840 from the singing of a group of children in the village. The words were passed onto the collector – and Adderbury resident – Janet Blunt in 1908, and she finally collected a tune for the song from Mrs Woolgrove of Swalcliffe, and Mrs Lynes of Sibford, at Sibford fete, July 1921.” (from here)

Magpie Lane from The Oxford Ramble 1993

I
Awake! awake! lift up your eyes
And pray to God for grace
Repent! repent! of your former sins
While ye have time and space
II
I have been wandering all this night
And part of the last day
So now I’ve come for to sing you a song
And to show you a branch of May
III
A branch of may I have brought you
And at your door it stands
It does spread out, and it spreads all about
By the work of our Lord’s hands
IV
Man is but a man, his life’s but a span
He is much like a flower
He’s here today and he’s gone tomorrow
So he’s all gone down in an hour
V
So now I have sung you my little short song
I can no longer stay
God bless you all both great and small
And I wish you a happy May

LINK

http://mudcat.org/thread.cfm?threadid=129987 http://mudcat.org/thread.cfm?threadid=30126 http://www.thebookofdays.com/months/april/24.htm http://www.bbc.co.uk/radio4/history/ making_history/makhist10_prog5d.shtml https://mainlynorfolk.info/watersons/songs/ swintonmaysong.html http://www.magpielane.co.uk/sleevenotes/ oxford_ramble/may_day_carol.htm https://afolksongaweek.wordpress.com/2013/04/29/ week-88-swalcliffe-may-day-carol/

Carole di Primavera nel Lancashire, Yorkshire & Oxfordshire

Read the post in English

GREATER MANCHESTER – Lancashire

Si stralcia da qui in merito alle tradizioni del Primo Maggio a Manchester e dintorni.
Per tradizione le ragazze indossavanoa biti bianchi, fatti con le tende od altro, e portavano in giro il Ramo del Maggio. I ragazzi si vestivano con abiti femminili e si annerivano il viso-  erano chiamati Molly dancers, (“molly” è una vecchia espressione per un uomo effemminato). Il dott. Cass [la dottoressa Eddie Cass, della Folklore Society, la società del folklore] dice che andavano in giro recitando un versetto. Uno di questi, dalla zona di Salford, era:
I’m a collier from Pendlebury brew.
Itch Koo Pushing little wagons up a brew
I earn thirty bob a week I’ve a wife and kids to keep
I’m a collier from Pendlebury brew
(lavoro nel birrificio di Pendlebury. Spingo i vagoni della birra e guadagno trenta sterline a settimana. Ho una moglie e dei figli da mantenere, lavoro nel birrificio di Pendlebury)
Le ragazze ballavano intorno al May pole e cantavano altre canzoni, come:
Buttercups and daisies
Oh what pretty flowers
Coming in spring time
To tell of sunny hours
We come to greet you on the first of May
We hope you will not send us away
For we dance and sing our merry song
On a maypole day
(Ranuncoli e margherite Oh che bei fiori spuntano in primavera, per raccontare delle ore di sole. Veniamo a salutarvi il primo maggio, speriamo che non ci mandiate via, perchè balliamo e cantiamo la nostra allegra canzone intorno al Palo del Maggio)

SWINTON MAY SONG

La versione riprodotta dai Watersons nel 1975 è tratta da W&R Chamber “Book of Days” – 1869 – con parole e musica collezionate dal signor Job Knight (1861) – e nelle note di copertina A.L. Lloyd commenta “I momenti cruciali del cambio stagioni dell’anno-mezzo inverno, arrivo della primavera, inizio dell’autunno – erano l’occasione in cui gruppi di cantori attraversavano i villaggi cantando incantesimi benaugurali, nella speranza di una ricompensa di cibo, bevande, denaro. Questo è stato cantato alla vigilia di maggio nello Yorkshire e nel Lancashire, ma è molto simile alle stesse canzoni di qualsiasi altra contea.”

La carola viene anche intitolata “Drawing Near to the Merry Month of May” e il testo è anche riportato nel libro di Edwin Waugh “Lancashire Sketches” (1869)
L’area di riferimento è il Yorkshire e il Lancashire e “Swinton” era un piccolo borgo, poi città di Salford ora diventata una parte di Manchester (Inghilterra)

The Watersons in For Pence and Spicy Ale -1975

Brass Monkey in Flame of Fire – 2005

Le due melodie sono diverse, la versione dei Brass Monkey richiama la Padstow May Song, altro canto rituale di questua primaverile ancora popolare nella cittadina di Padstow, Cornovaglia.
Come è riportato nel Book of Day di Chambers (1869) le canzoni di Swinton erano due la Old May song e la New May song. La Old May Song era una cosiddetta Night song che era cantata appunto durante la notte da gruppi di mayers accompagnati con vari strumenti musicali.

OLD MAY SONG

I
All in this pleasant evening together
come has we
for the summer springs so fresh and green and gay.
We’ll tell you of a blossom and a bud on every tree
Drawing near to the merry month of May
II
Rise up, the master of this house all in your chain of gold
For the summer springs so fresh and green and gay
We hope you’re not offended with your house we make so bold
Drawing near to the merry month of May
III
Rise up, the mistress of this house with gold all on your breast
For the summer springs so fresh and green and gay
And if your body is asleep we hope your soul’s at rest
Drawing near to the merry month of May
IV
Rise up, the children of this house, all in your rich attire
For the summer springs so gresh and green and gay.
And every hair all on your head shines like a silver wire
Drawing near to the merry month of May
V
God bless this house and arbor, your riches and your store
For the summer springs so fresh and green and gay
We hope that the Lord will prosper you both now and evermore
Drawing near to the merry month of May
VI
So now we’re going to leave you in peace and plenty here
For the summer springs so fresh and green and gay
We will not sing you May again until another year
For to drive you these cold winter nights away
Traduzione italiano Cattia Salto
I
In questa piacevole serata tutti insieme, veniamo
perché l’estate sboccia così fresca, verde e allegra.
Vi diremo di boccioli e gemme su ogni albero,
portiamo dentro l’allegro mese di Maggio
II
Alzatevi, padrone di questa casa con la vostra catena tutta d’oro,
perché l’estate sboccia così fresca, verde e allegra
speriamo che non vi offendiate che ci siamo avvicinati alla vostra casa in modo così audace,
portiamo dentro l’allegro mese di Maggio
III
Alzatevi, padrona di questa casa con la spilla d’oro sul petto
perché l’estate sboccia così fresca, verde e allegra
e se il vostro corpo è addormentato speriamo che la vostra anima sia in pace,
portiamo dentro l’allegro mese di Maggio
IV
Alzatevi ragazzi di questa casa, nei vostri ricchi vestiti
perché l’estate sboccia così fresca, verde e allegra
e i capelli sulla vostra testa brillano come fili d’argento,
portiamo dentro l’allegro mese di Maggio
V
Dio benedica questa casa e il pergolato,
i vostri beni e il negozio
perché l’estate sboccia così fresca, verde e allegra
che il Signore vi dia prosperità adesso e per sempre,
portiamo dentro l’allegro mese di Maggio
VI
Adesso vi lasciamo in pace e abbondanza
perché l’estate sboccia così fresca, verde e allegra,
non canteremo il Maggio fino al prossimo anno,
per portare via queste fredde notti d’Inverno
Charles Daniel Ward: Processing of Spring -1905
Charles Daniel Ward: Processing of Spring -1905

Possiamo leggere una testimonianza di prima mano anche nel libro “Memoirs of Seventy Years of an Eventful Life di Charles Hulbert (Providence Grove, Near Shrewsbury:1852), pg 107
E’ con sommo piacere che ancora ricordo le varie usanze e le consuetudini dei miei primi anni. Ancora viva la gioia con cui salutavo l’avvicinarsi del mattino del Primo Maggio con l’arrivo di una  compagnia scelta di musicisti (Rustics of Worsley, Swinton and Eccles), che annunciavano si sarebbero riuniti a mezzanotte per iniziare il grato compito di salutare i loro vicini con il suono di flauti, clarinetti e violini e trenta voci.
O rise up Master of this House, all in your chain of gold,
For the summer springs so fresh, green and gay;
I hope you’ll not be angry at us for being so bold,
Drawing near to the merry month of May.
Dopo aver aggiunti altri versi di encomio e qualche battuta per tutto il ramo della famiglia venivano i saluti: una borsa d’argento e un paio di boccali di birra erano distribuiti per la compagnia  proseguivano di casa in casa riempiendo l’aria della loro musica e delle loro allegre voci fino alle sei del mattino .
Tra le bevande con cui i cantori si rinfrescavano le ugole oltre all’immancabile birra c’era anche il Syllabub (traducibile in italiano come vino frizzante) preparato con la crema del latte. continua

OXFORDSHIRE

THE SWALCLIFFE MAY DAY CAROL

CMB-009Ecco la trascrizione di un canto del maggio risalente al XIX secolo cantato dai bambini di Swalcliffe, chiaramente una Day Song
Le parole di questo canto sono state trascritte da Miss Annie Norris intorno al 1840 dal canto di un gruppo di bambini nel villaggio. Le parole furono passate alla collezionista – e residente ad Adderbury – Janet Blunt nel 1908, che infine raccolse una melodia della signora Woolgrove di Swalcliffe, e della signora Lynes di Sibford, alla festa di Sibford, nel luglio del 1921.” (tratto da qui)

Magpie Lane in The Oxford Ramble 1993


I
Awake! awake! lift up your eyes
And pray to God for grace
Repent! repent! of your former sins
While ye have time and space
II
I have been wandering all this night
And part of the last day
So now I’ve come for to sing you a song
And to show you a branch of May
III
A branch of may I have brought you
And at your door it stands
It does spread out, and it spreads all about
By the work of our Lord’s hands
IV
Man is but a man, his life’s but a span
He is much like a flower
He’s here today and he’s gone tomorrow
So he’s all gone down in an hour
V
So now I have sung you my little short song
I can no longer stay
God bless you all both great and small
And I wish you a happy May
Traduzione italiano  Cattia Salto
I
Svegliatevi, aprite gli occhi
e chiedete la Grazia a Dio.
Pentitevi per i vostri peccati
adesso che siete ancora in tempo.
II
Ho camminato per tutta la notte
e parte del giorno e adesso sono qui per cantarvi una canzone e per portarvi il ramo del maggio.
III
Vi ho portato il ramo del maggio
fin davanti alla porta,
sta fiorendo e porterà a fioritura tutto ciò che lo circonda
ad opera delle mani di Nostro Signore.
IV
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.
V
Adesso che ho cantato la mia canzoncina
non posso restare più a lungo,
Dio vi benedica grandi e piccoli
e vi auguro un felice Maggio

FONTI

http://mudcat.org/thread.cfm?threadid=129987 http://mudcat.org/thread.cfm?threadid=30126 http://www.thebookofdays.com/months/april/24.htm http://www.bbc.co.uk/radio4/history/ making_history/makhist10_prog5d.shtml https://mainlynorfolk.info/watersons/songs/ swintonmaysong.html http://www.magpielane.co.uk/sleevenotes/ oxford_ramble/may_day_carol.htm https://afolksongaweek.wordpress.com/2013/04/29/ week-88-swalcliffe-may-day-carol/