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Thread: Cornish Tunes?

  1. #1
    Registered User Tavy's Avatar
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    Default Cornish Tunes?

    Anyone playing any Cornish tunes on mandolin? Bit of a niche thing, but I'll through in my one and only, which probably has Breton influences:


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    Default Re: Cornish Tunes?

    Love Cornish music. Here are two of my favourite tunes I attempted to multitrack a couple of years ago

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    Default Re: Cornish Tunes?

    And here is one the group Dalla do

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    Default Re: Cornish Tunes?

    I've never recorded any but when I moved here about 13 years back I figured I should get some idea of what there was, I've been a bit distracted so my rather short list includes;

    Rescorla Snail Creep
    Turkey Rhubarb
    Bodmin Riding
    Fer Lyskerys
    Falmouth Polka
    Turning Of The Tide
    Blue Bonnets
    and The Egloshayle Ringers

    If anyone wants more there are a few hundred old and recent in this book called Racca2
    http://www.kesson.com/tunery/tunes/Racca2.pdf
    Eoin



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    Default Re: Cornish Tunes?

    That book is a wonderful resource -- thank you for sharing that link!

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    Registered User Tavy's Avatar
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    Default Re: Cornish Tunes?

    Quote Originally Posted by dhbailey View Post
    That book is a wonderful resource -- thank you for sharing that link!
    +1, really great link.... now I just have to figure out which ones would work on mandolin, and what the heck 5/8 time is!

  11. #7

    Default Re: Cornish Tunes?

    I've been playing out of that book, and so far they *all* work very nicely on mandolin! 5/8 time? That's when a soprano tries to sing 4/4 time.

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    Default Re: Cornish Tunes?

    Lovely tunes and lovely playing. Cornish music is something I've never really looked into in any depth. In the first two clips, I hear (perhaps not altogether surprisingly) echoes of Welsh and Breton in equal measure. The tune in the third clip could almost be Irish or Scottish.

    I suppose, given Cornwall's geographical position, aside from its close links with Wales and Brittany, it would have been host to seafarers from Ireland as well - and places further afield, like Scotland, Norway, Spain, Portugal, N. Africa, even N. America - all of which might have left their mark on the traditional music... even, dare I say it, England.

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    Default Re: Cornish Tunes?

    As well as in the band Dalla,mentioned earlier, Neil Davey plays some fine Cornish tunes on mandolin and bouzouki in the band Anam.

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    Default Re: Cornish Tunes?

    In case anyone is interested in things Cornish, Neil Davey is launching a second book (&CDs) of his favourite tunes from local sessions called " Flooch2 "
    I only found out because of his video of him playing "No Song, No Supper" on his bouzouki while riding his exercise bike
    https://www.facebook.com/dallamusic/...22424576277425

    NFI here I just ordered it & thought you'd appreciate the chuckle & tunes.
    Eoin



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    Registered User Martin Jonas's Avatar
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    Default Re: Cornish Tunes?

    Bit of an old thread, but I've recently also recorded my first Cornish tune (taken from the kesson.com site linked by Eoin above). This is a lovely mazurka called "Morvoran", written by Cornish fiddler Richard Trethewey:



    Martin

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    Default Re: Cornish Tunes?

    Fo those wanting a proper rummage online there is now the Cornish National Music Archive to add to the possible sources; https://cornishnationalmusicarchive.co.uk/

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    Default Re: Cornish Tunes?

    I'm interested in Cornish music, as I now spend about half my time in Falmouth. It's interesting that many (but not all) of the Cornish idiom tunes in online sources are relatively recent, and that e.g. the Racca collection has many tunes which appear to be in a general South of England folk dance idiom with little or no Celtic element. For example, Bodmin Riding, one of the best known Cornish tunes to 'rest of UK' musicians, sounds to my ear like a Cotswold Morris tune. Is it the case that the Cornish 5/4 tunes (some of which are excellent) are a recent innovation to fit a modern dance in that time signature?

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    Registered User Simon DS's Avatar
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    Default Re: Cornish Tunes?

    I’d like to try some Cornish tunes, does any kind sharer have a link to some .abc files?

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    Default Re: Cornish Tunes?

    The site’s great, quite a few old trad tunes, you may have to sign on before this link works
    http://www.kesson.com/tunery/index.php?R=A

    Enjoy!

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    Default Re: Cornish Tunes?

    Quote Originally Posted by maxr;[URL="tel:1826270"
    1826270[/URL]]Is it the case that the Cornish 5/4 tunes (some of which are excellent) are a recent innovation to fit a modern dance in that time signature?
    Good perceptive spot there maxr.
    It is indeed a conscious reconstruction choice. The efforts by the brothers Davey and the active circle of musicians promoting Cornish identities have been core to this. In building the 'nos lowen' style or tradition they have made a conscious decision to try to ensure there is a differentiation from the very dominant Irish traditional session styles. The reason given is to ensure that this will allow it to be heard as something of it's own space and so prevent it just being lost in the wash.
    There has been much reaching out to Brittany since the early days of their revival efforts, so the decisions around adopting 5/8 for many tunes have been a reflection of that.
    I should emphasise that the Cornish 'nos lowen' tradition, although born of a reconstruction effort, places great emphasis on being innovative, which isn't the case in more structured branches of Cornish traditional music making.The presence of the Brass band tradition alongside the choral, maritime shanty and barn dance/sets all stand alongside each other sharing sources and cross pollinating from wherever the activities take the participants. One of the things I like about the traditional music making here is how aware the participants are that it is a current and conscious continuation, even though there are many silos in which it happens.
    Once you get a chance and they start up again you should head in to the Truro session or over to Perranporth to compare and contrast.
    Eoin



    "Forget that anyone is listening to you and always listen to yourself" - Fryderyk Chopin

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    Default Re: Cornish Tunes?

    Thanks Eoin:

    When I first got interested in fiddle a long time ago in Glasgow (Scotland), the pub sessions were predominantly Irish, because the large Irish community there had kept their music going in that way much longer than the Scots. That's no longer the case, and there's much more Scottish music to hear in Scotland, which is great. I've been meaning to get over to the Seiners Perranporth Cornish session for some time, I think I had some kind of previous that night of the week. I'm also in touch with Bagas Crows, and intend to get back with them as soon as I can. Where's the Truro session - at the Old Ale House?

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    Default Re: Cornish Tunes?

    It was there until the plague hit.
    they do the first Tuesday of the month, currently still in lockdown mode but should be coming out of their chrysalis soon I think;
    https://www.facebook.com/groups/1356955124393969

    It's more of a mixed session but so many of the nos lowen players go that the music has a good airing.
    Apparently the Seiners Arms bunch managed theirs outside last week.
    I never manage to get to anything midCornwall down, but I must try to spread my wings when things are back in the real world.
    Eoin



    "Forget that anyone is listening to you and always listen to yourself" - Fryderyk Chopin

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    Default Re: Cornish Tunes?

    Thanks Beanzy - Frances of Bagas Crowd posted that tonight's Seiners session is off, she didn't say why. Does Neil Davey sell Flooch on a website? I tried to buy book 1 online from what appeared to be a Cornish cultural site, but the site commerce appeared to be bust and I got no answer from an email enquiry.

  27. #20

    Default Re: Cornish Tunes?

    Great tune, great playing and a definite Breton feel to it. Love it.
    John

  28. #21

    Default Re: Cornish Tunes?

    There’s lots of info on Cornish traditional music (which isn’t always ‘Celtic’) on https://cornishtrad.com

    Whistler’s post above from 2015 hits the nail on the head. Cornish trad music is a huge blend based on the many places Cornwall has been connected to by the sea.

    The work by the Davey family is just one branch of Cornish music. There are plenty of others playing the more ancient tunes (and there are many) which have been recorded in manuscripts and the like.

    It’s healthy to have the recent 5/8 ‘kabm pemp” nos lowen tunes alongside the pre-WWI trad stuff, with new compositions in that style and blends in-between. I believe that the Cornish trad music scene is the healthiest it’s ever been. Exciting times.

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    Default Re: Cornish Tunes?

    One thing I haven't yet found in Cornish music (maybe I've missed it?) is the kind of hard driving or very rhythmic amplified dance music and bands that have popularised Scottish ceilidh music (which I know more about) and Breton fest noz music with younger people. To my mind, if it wasn't for dances like Strip The Willow and the Eightsome Reel, Scottish ceilidhs may not be nearly as popular as they are with all ages of under 30s - and I think that's essential to keep this kind of culture going. Does a Cornish equivalent exist, if so, can someone point me to it please - if it doesn't, do we need to invent it?

  30. #23

    Default Re: Cornish Tunes?

    A good tradition always has plenty of room for invention!

    There have been lots of 'hard driving' bands playing Cornish trad tunes. Not all have lasted. Have you listened to Dalla? They've formed another band called Skillywidden who are playing tonight in Penzance's outdoor theatre (Penlee Park). Everyone dances, hand-in-hand nos lowen style (whether that's allowed tonight, who knows). Nos Lowen tend to attract all ages. Another popular one in Cornwall and beyond is Splann (Cornish for 'bright, shiny, fantastic, etc) who play Cornish and other Celtic tunes with full band, Ceilidh-style: http://splann.co.uk/listen/

    Caracana are also pretty lively: https://www.caracana.info

    Here's a Soundcloud playlist to skip through in case something jumps out: https://soundcloud.com/tomgoskar/set...ditional-music

    But there's plenty - and I mean plenty - of room for more!

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    Default Re: Cornish Tunes?

    Thanks for all the links, Cornishman - I know Dalla are excellent, but they're not quite what I have in mind here. If you imagine a band in the style of the Splann lineup with drums and bass on your link, but playing tunes in the style of e.g. 'The Cribbar' (OK, that's a 5/4, but...).

  32. #25

    Default Re: Cornish Tunes?

    Then it sounds like you might have a fun mission ahead - there’ll probably be plenty of willing musicians! Be great if you focussed on Cornish tunes old and new - in my experience when you travel beyond the border plenty of people are curious. And lots and lots of mandolins and CBOMs :-)

    If you ever wanted to mine the more obscure depths of ‘historic’ Cornish trad tunes check out Mike O’Connor’s research into manuscripts in private collections. The book Ilow Kernow is definitely one to track down. http://www.lyngham.co.uk/mike_oconnor.html

    Keep us posted here!

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