Wednesday, 20 March 2013

St Piran's 2013

A splann almost week-long St Piran's celebration, with loads happening all across Cornwall (and further afield!).

For me, it started on Friday night in Perranporth, catching the end of the evening procession...I heard the drumming and the cheers, and saw lots of flags & latterns as everyone headed into Perranporth Memorial Hall for singing, dancing, pasties and refreshments.  I was really impressed with Perranporth School Choir, as they sang the Cornish Haka, another beautiful song in Kernewek, as well as songs of mining with the miming too!  I'm hoping we might get the chance to see them at Cornwall Folk Festival this year.

Bagas Crowd, Cornish Dancing
Perranporth School Choir
Bagas Crowd played wonderfully for dancing (all great players, especially the young cajon player) - I don't think I've ever danced 'Cornish Mating Dance' quite so fast!  And I learnt a couple of new Cornish dances from the children too - lots of them told me they "go to a weekly Cornish Dance Club, and it's great!"

A quick sprint up to Seiners to catch Welsh trio Esgair with some gorgeous tunes & songs, joined on a few numbers by the ubiquitous Steve Hunt...

Nathan & Harmony from Esgair
...followed by a very fine Dalla set (joined by Mr Hunt for a few numbers) with lots of dancing in a very small space.  And finally, the evening was rounded off with a fine session and a couple of step dances...

Cornish session in Seiners bar
Top phrase of the day ... "I want to learn Cornish dance!"... Skofiee - find your 20!! :D

Saturday was an early start with a very busy Sparking Saturdays Cornish Dance Workshop in Liskeard.  Fabulous music from members of Liskeard Street Band, and fantastic dancing!  Almost like a mini-festival workshop each time!

On Saturday evening I was delighted to join the Callington St Piran's Supper.  After a mesmerizing set from the incredible Mike O'Connor and Barbara Griggs, it was time for a spot of Cornish dancing.  There was much laughter and mayhem as friends and members of the Callington & District Twinning Association and Callington Old Cornwall Society quickly picked up the Callington Furry (with 'petticoats tight' and 'petticoats loose') in the run up to Callington MayFest.  HUGE thanks to Mike & Barbara for playing for dancing so beautifully!

Sunday was the new and very well received St Piran's play by Alan Kent, and 'After Dune Tunes' in Seiners with Neil Davey & the ubiquitous Steve Hunt.

On St Piran's Day itself, with processions and sessions and singing and dancing all over the Duchy during the day, I landed up in Harveys Lanson with Cornish dancers, Anna, Karen and Arls.  We happily shared a selection of Cornish step and broomstick dances at the request of the musicians, and Launceston's Mayor, Rob Tremain.

Bill Jefferson, Rob Strike & Jack Speckleton
in Harveys, Lanson
Note the St Pirans rotating 'puppet' on his
coracle on the waves by Trevor Lawrence,
with his pint of Skinners in his hand!
Thanks for the great tunes and songs lads, especially the Crowns boys home from London especially for St Pirans!  Kernow bys Vycken!

Once again, there were people asking to learn Cornish dance, having seen the stepping & joined in with Newlyn Reel!  Watch this space for Cornish dancing in Lanson soon!

And finally ... as St Piran's tide coincides with Liskeard's Vital Spark Festival of the Arts, the Saturday following St Piran's saw 10 'mock-posh' Scoot Lyskerrys dancers, along with Carlton on sax & the ubiquitous Steve on bouzouki kick-off the Fore Street dancing.

A cry of "Myttin Da Onen hag Oll, ha Dynergh! - Good Morning One and All, and Welcome!" and the familiar stamp-shuffle, stamp-shuffle of 'Tin Stamp', followed by Newlyn Reel gave just enough time for Jenny to continue up Fore Street, playing the opening bars of 'Putting on the Ritz' for the next set of dancers ...

'Tin Stamp' in Style About Town
Photo by Mary Westlake
... and then the boom-boom of the Club des Belugas Remix of "Putting on the Ritz" half-way up Fore Street, where we joined around 30 other dancers from around Liskeard in their own interpretations of the dance, as we danced a "Putting on the Ritz" Cornish style serpent amongst them.

'Putting on the Ritz' Street Serpent
Photo by Mary Westlake
We carried on to the other end of Fore Street for a couple of dances, and finished up back at the Country Produce Market on The Parade for a North Cornwall Furry leading into the "Putting on the Ritz" serpent, plus a few extra Cornish dances.

Here's to next year!!

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Coming up ...

... Liskeard Scarf Serpent, Looe "Oll a Dro", Callington MayFest ....

Dha weles skon! See you soon! :D