The Ryburn Longsword team have just returned from a week in Britanny as guests of the Breton dance group ‘Cercle Celtique Liviou Kerrien’ http://livioukerien.e-monsite.com/. This group perform display dances and social dances in the traditional Breton style.
The women’s traditional costumes are beautifully embroidered velvet dresses and aprons with elaborate starched lace coifs, while the men wear traditional full velvet trousers and waistcoats.
On arrival we met our hosts in the village of Querrien and enjoyed an evening of Breton dancing, Longsword dancing, social dancing and fine Breton food and drink. During the week we danced in Batz-sur-Mer as part of the ‘Pardon’, and Port Manech in the Carnival, and we also danced in and around Querrien itself. We also had time to visit several other beautiful places with our hosts and enjoy their warm hospitality, and we were sorry when the time came to say goodbye and return home.
Next year (August 2017) Liviou Kerien will travel to stay and dance with us in and around Ripponden, so watch this space for further information as our plans progress.
Five people who have made key contributions to the folk arts are the latest recipients of Gold Badge awards from the English Folk Dance and Song Society (EFDSS).
Pete and Sue Coe, the musician and dancer who were founders of Ryburn Three Step, Maggie Fletcher, a leading musician on the English country dance scene, and long term EFDSS and folk dance volunteers and advocates Mike Wilson-Jones and Mary Wilson-Jones have all been chosen to receive the awards.
Gold Badges are given for unique or outstanding contributions to folk music, dance or song, distinguished service to EFDSS and/or exceptional contributions to EFDSS’ work.
They join an illustrious list of Gold Badge holders including EFDSS founder Cecil Sharp, composer Dr Ralph Vaughan Williams, performer/writer A.L. Lloyd, and musicians The Spinners, EFDSS President Shirley Collins and Vice President Eliza Carthy.
The Chair of the EFDSS Board, Alistair Anderson, said: “I am delighted that Pete, Sue, Maggie, Mary and Mike have been recognised for the important role they have played in their individual fields.
“They have all helped to inspire, support and inform generations of folk fans which enables the traditional English folk arts to continue to thrive. They are all very well deserved awards.”
For more information about EFDSS Gold Badge awards, go to www.efdss.org/efdss-about- us/gold-badge-award.
Pete and Sue Coe
This year, Pete Coe has celebrated more than 50 years of music making on the English folk scene. His contributions include traditional song research, song writing in traditional style, the founding of several seminal bands, plus solo and duo performances, dance calling, recording, field research, local folk activism in Ryburn Three Step and teaching at various levels.
He was the founder member and visionary force behind three particularly ground breaking groups – The New Victory Band, Bandoggs and Red Shift – all of which brought something new to the folk scene.
As well as developing a wide range of traditional songs for performance, Pete has had an illustrious songwriting career with many songs covered by other artists. His collecting of a single verse of Marching Down through Rochester with its Waltzing Matilda tune, and its subsequent
expansion to a full song has made him the focus of attention by various researchers in search of the roots of the famous Australian song. Most recently Mark Radcliffe featured his rather personal Rolling Down The Ryburn on his BBC Radio 2 programme, sung by Greg Russell and Ciaran Algar.
Pete has contributed a number of field recordings including Caleb Walker (musician for Manley Morris), travellers Charlotte & Betsy Renals and Sophie Legge, and Willy Taylor. He has carried out extensive research into the work of Frank Kidson, which resulted in a touring show and a CD under the title of Five Finger Frank.
Pete has also worked extensively in schools throughout the country as a visiting musician both on his own account and for the EFDSS on the Take 6 Project. He was also a founder member of Ryburn Three Step, along with wife Sue.
Sue Coe came to English folk music later in her husband Pete’s career and added her enthusiastic contributions with huge administration efforts within Ryburn Three Step. Sue provided all the administration including early funding applications as well as teaching Appalachian dance and the longsword side for Ryburn Three Step.
Ryburn Three Step organises a range of regular activities for local people including clog and Appalachian step dance classes, a singing group, a longsword dance side plus an offshoot rapper side, a mummer’s side, monthly folk club and dance, occasional workshop days plus weekly music sessions in the local pub.
She developed Ryburn Longsword over several years, recruiting youngsters from local schools and ultimately including their mothers in the dancing, resulting in a junior and a senior team. Along with team members she developed new dances with a local flavour and has presented the Ryburn team regularly at dance festivals.
Sue continues to run weekly workshops for disabled and wheelchair bound youngsters, developing dances suitable for their abilities and providing for them a very necessary inclusion.
It is always a pleasure to attend an evening at the R3S Folk Club at The Works, the abundance of quality floor singers, and the wide range of songs sung by them, sets the standard of the evening and last night was no exception. In a week when politics and sport have not been very reassuring, it was so reaffirming to listen to songs and tunes played in surroundings that are familiar and comfortable and which are going to be carried forward into the future. After last night’s guest performance I think we can all be assured of that.
Granny’s Attic have developed a remarkable reputation which has travelled before them, and for me it was the first time that I had heard the three band members perform together.
So young, I could almost hear everyone say, and compared to the audience , they were! Age was not an issue and was soon forgotten as they delivered two sets of songs and delicious tunes, still on my mind is a Polish tune that was so tempting to dance to, familiar songs Poor Old Man , The Coal Owner and the Pitman’s Wife, The Highwayman were delivered with just a flavour of Bellamy, not a bad thing. They gained the respect of the audience and in return gauged so well the amount of information that was needed in their introductions, respect reflected, the less said by them the better. Flipping clever, fabulous and brilliant, were some of the comments I heard and agreed with. They were entertaining and joyous to watch, I think they enjoyed themselves just as much as the audiences did.
Highlights from the evening for me were: the opening tunes by the resident band , Pete’s Rolling Down The Ryburn, and Lynda Hardcastle and Alan Rose singing Dave Goulder’s January Man, but most memorable was the Granny’s Attic performance, a joy to behold and a reassurance that they are doing what they do for the same reasons as ourselves, which is our love of the music. Long may they continue!
To top off the evening I won the raffle and have a CD to remind me of a great evening.
The last Folk Club of the 2015/16 season was a great night with Granny’s Attic – what a talented trio of lively young musicians – and a full house of audience. Thank you to all our guests, residents, floor singers and our audience for your support, and we hope to see you around over the summer at the many events and festivals.
The Folk Club new season starts on September 28th with Dana and Susan Robinson http://www.robinsongs.com/. Ryburn Folk Club is their last date on a month long tour of England and Wales and a memorable night of American music, old and new, is guaranteed.
The last Ryburn Folk Club of the 2015 – 16 season takes place at The Works, Hollins Mill Lane, Sowerby Bridge, on June 29th. The featured guests are Granny’s Attic, a trio from Worcester who play a mix of British traditional music and original compositions. Regular Folk Club attendees have been treated to individual performances from two members of this talented trio, but now we have the opportunity to hear all three members performing together. The Granny’s Attic website is currently being updated but here are a couple of You Tube links that will give you an idea of their virtuosity and a link to their Facebook page.
George Sansome: Guitar, Vocals
Lewis Wood: Fiddle, Mandolin, Vocals
This is the last Folk Club of the 2015/16 season but we start again on September 28th with featured guests Dana and Susan Robinson http://www.robinsongs.com/. Ryburn Folk Club is their last date on a month long tour of England and Wales and a memorable night of American music, old and new, is guaranteed.
Just back from Chester Festival where R3S stalwarts, the Black Box Band played the Friday night ceilidh, Ryburn Longsword danced and Pete Coe and Alice Jones graced many stages, all performed in glorious sunshine. A good time was had by all, thanks to Chester Folk Festival.
Appalachian dulcimer workshop
On Saturday (June 4th) Liz Conway and Pete Coe ran their one-day Appalachian dulcimer workshop. A whole range of abilities was represented, from ‘never touched one before’ to ‘expert’, and great progress was made. But above all the workshop was an opportunity to meet with like-minded people and benefit from Liz and Pete’s advice and encouragement.
Wednesday night 25 May was the very welcome return of Jeff Warner to the Ryburn 3-Step folk club, where he has been a previous guest two or three times over the last 20-odd years. Based in New Hampshire, Jeff is a fine singer and musician, playing banjo, guitar, and English concertina, with an extensive knowledge of the North American folk song tradition, the latter inspired by his late parents, the noted song collectors Frank & Anne Warner. His stage approach is at the same time engaging and informative without seeming pious or didactic and his set list for this show contained some old favourites (such as ‘Little Black Train’, ‘Shanty Boy’, ‘Old Moke picking on the Banjo’ and Grandpa Jones’s ‘Eight more Miles to Louisville’) and some material that we hadn’t heard before (including words to the well-known old time tune ‘Booth Shot Lincoln’, Harry Lauder’s ‘Somebody waiting for me’ and ‘The Bold Harpooner’ (with some resemblances to the ‘Bonny Ship the Diamond’). Jeff asked for requests for his encore, the result being an emotional ‘Southern girl’s reply’.
As ever in our *proper* folk club, there were some fine performances from the floor. Pete Coe deployed his unique mountain dulcimer technique to accompany himself on ‘Across the Western Ocean’, Alan Rose & Lynda Hardcastle (once again visiting us from the Bacca Pipes club in Keighley) sang Sean Mone’s ‘Lovers and Friends’, John Bowden & Vic Shepherd (visiting from Sheffield) sang a splendid extended version of ‘The Nobleman and the Thresherman’, and Alice Jones reminded us how hard it must have been to make a living in textile mills at both sides of the Atlantic. Following the usual introductory dance tunes from the pit band (which included Chris Partington and Alice Jones), Annie Dearman and Steve Harrison opened the evening’s singing with the ‘Bedfordshire May Song’, sourced from the collection of Lucy Broadwood. Another great Club night all round.
This review is tinged with sadness as Bill Caddick has announced and confirmed on the evening that he will not be touring any more so for many of us this was the last chance to hear him outside his own home patch in Shropshire. I won’t list all the bands, projects and ensembles he has been involved with over the years but I think it’s safe to say that he has made a unique contribution to the folk scene over some 50 years.
An audience of 60 was first serenaded by the pit orchestra of Pete Coe, Johnny Adams, Steve Harrison and Andy Day in fine form, followed by songs from Pete, Chris Coe and Annie Dearman (a version of Cold Blows the Wind with stunning imagery), Bob Butler and Sue Burgess.
Then Bill came on, starting with The Song must go on and then launching into a sequence of his songs from across his career. One of the great joys of Bill’s performances is re-discovering songs you’ve loved in the past and finding gems you’d somehow missed (more later).
It’s not as if it’s a list of greatest hits – he is so prolific that many well known songs couldn’t be fitted in but selfishly I’m pleased to most of my favourites were included! A personal selection from the first half included Lilly Marlene Walks Away – a brilliant example of Bill’s haunting if at times disturbing imagery – Cloud Factory, and that wonderful song of childhood lost Oller Boller.
The second half started with songs from Annie & Steve, Tim Edwards, Lynda Hardcastle and Alan Rose (Bob Pegg’s lovely Instructions to a Young Lark Man), Phil Cerny, and a welcome appearance from that well known caller, entertainer & musician Dave Hunt, tonight appearing in a new role as Bill’s roadie!
Looking back on it the second half was dominated by Bill putting together pairs of matching songs to great effect – Eights and Aces/Wild West Show, The Reaper/Writing of Tipperary, Old Man’s Song/Unicorns (I could go on) – superb songs which really complemented each other. Talking afterwards it was said rightly that Bill knows when to stop and is not embarrassed to write a short song – a rare gift.
However despite the rollcall above for me and others in the audience the highlight of the evening was Bill’s reworking of the brutal ballad Long Lankin – Lankin’s Revenge – which is the one I had managed to miss. Usually I don’t enjoy rewriting of old songs but for me Bill here expressed a humanity I’ve never found in the rather too bleak original (don’t expect a happy ending though!)
The evening ended with two more special songs – one of his most recent– Latter Days – and by popular demand John o’Dreams. A fitting end to a very special evening and if I’ve made it sound almost too good – well, why not? The man’s a wonder and we’re really lucky to have him.
An Independent Folk Development Project in the Ryburn Valley