FOLK SESSION - Howard Arms, Brampton

An excellent turn-out did credit to the theme of ‘water’ when we met on 21st June in the Howard Arms.  Welcome back to Eileen, Maddy and Sally Hardaker, whom we see all too seldom.


Our instrumentalists for the evening were Eileen on concertina, Sally Hardaker on flute and whistle, and Adrian on melodeon.  Eileen showed the right (devious?) creative spirit when she played Lord Inchiquin ‘because there is a Lough Inchiquin’!  The ‘body of water’ motif was a fruitful one: Eileen also played Ye Banks and Braes O’ Bonny Doon and took us Over the sea to Skye, while Adrian gave us The Banks of the Dee.  Sally’s whistle took us sailing on The Aran Boat and her flute soothed us with Midnight on the Water.


This being folk music, we had of course our share of disasters and tragedies.  Sally Jones set the scene with the Ellan Vannin, shipwrecked in 1909 in the Irish Sea, followed by Gary with the Yarmouth Castle (burned and sank in 1965 off the Bahamas) and the Edmund Fitzgerald (sank in Lake Superior in 1975).  Gerda, on the other hand, did manage to find a grimly humorous side to maritime disaster in Sinking Soon!  The protagonist of Chris Jones’ Man of War longed to be a farmer again, and the bride in Maddy’s All Things Are Quite Silent grieved for her husband snatched by the press-gang.  The song simply entitled Water (Katy) by Dutch songwriter Jan van de Velde, commemorated the 1800 people who died in Zeeland in the 1953 flood.  Christine and Mary both raised the subject of pollution, Christine in the moving (and true) Black Waters, Mary more light-heartedly in the parody Bo’ness Bay. 


But not all was gloom!  Sam praised simple country living in his ever-so-slightly tongue-in-cheek Give me clean water.  Adrian demonstrated the resilience of the British tar in the music-hall number Married to a Mermaid.  Phil described technology as it relates to the beauties of upland nature, firstly in Settle to Carlisle (which worked in steam, rain and icicles), and then in the wistful The Lark Across the Vapour Trail (water in the form of vapour).   Ruth cheered us up with the prospect of only having One More River (and that’s the river of Jordan) to cross.  And water is also the occasion of enjoyment and fun: Gerda celebrated the Fermoy Regatta; Sam made us laugh with the apocryphal story of The Silloth Submarine; The Minstrel (Christine) was about a boat that was the singer’s first and only love. 


But the last word was with Chris, who took us firmly Marching Inland, as far away from the sea as we could get!


We next meet on 19th July, in The Howard Arms, Brampton, at 8pm.  The theme will be ‘relatives’ – so brush up those songs about your Grandfather’s Clock, Granny’s Hieland Hame and the ballads about wicked uncles and jealous sisters.  ALL WELCOME!