Well, here we are in May! And in the words of the lovely Padstow May Song ‘Unite and unite and let us all unite for Summer is a-commen today!’
For those unfamiliar with the folk customs surrounding May 1st, they are linked to the Pagan Festival of Beltane, which is the first day of summer and is celebrated on the first day of May. These days, this is marked most widely by Morris dance (and related) sides hauling themselves out of bed in the wee small hours to ‘dance up the sun’ at dawn on Mayday. This is considered necessary to ensure a good summer, plentiful harvest etc. Well … certainly around here in Yorkshire there isn’t too much evidence of summer’s arrival, and I found myself commenting on Facebook ‘To all the Morris-ers who danced up the sun – great effort, but what have you done with it?’
Anyway, in addition to getting all excited about May traditions, this week has seen the boy and me take a trip over to Manchester for our friend’s PhD exhibition. Lucy has been researching folk traditions, dances, kits etc from an ethnomusicological and visual arts perspective, and ahead of her viva, she staged an exhibition of her work at the People’s History Museum in Manchester. It was really interesting seeing lots of familiar and less familiar traditions on display and there were performances from some of the groups she had consulted, including the Cheshire Carnival (Fluffy) Morris, which isn’t generally performed outside of their own competitive events, so was a treat to see.
As you might expect when a bunch of musicians gets together, there was a great session, and Jon took this photo of me playing (which I have edited.)
It was a great night!
Much more work to do over the next few weeks so probably not much time for blogging, but THE END IS IN SIGHT. Lots of fabulous things planned over the summer, travelling to festivals, folk clubs and other gigs with the gang, and the camera will obviously be coming too!
Mayday Greetings and Beltane Blessings to everyone – Here’s to summer!
Thanks for visiting!