Sunday, 31 October 2010

A Most Sunshiny Day

A truly magical and fascinating evening at Cecil Sharp House. Shirley Collins with Pip Barnes gave the multi-media presentation A Most Sunshiny Day. An exploration and survey of the folk movement from the end of the 19th Century to the present day. Photos of the old singers, the collectors, the classical composers who based works on traditional songs. Reflections on change and war and loss.

Poignant moments as Shirley sat in reverie listening to her younger voice and the accompaniment of her late sister Dolly on 'Gilderoy'. The beautiful The Banks Of Green Willows by George Butterworth, a great lost talent dead at 31 on the Somme.

Butterworth was a friend of Cecil Sharp and along with Maud and Karpeles sisters the four appear in this clip from 1912

Bookending the talk were performances from The Trembling Bells and Alasdair Roberts. The Bells on fine form played the so-far unreleased 'Just As The Rainbow' and 'Otley Rock Oracle' along with the still spine-chilling 'Adieu England' and an unaccompanied 'Seven Years A Teardrop' (just Alex and Lavinia). They were also joined by Mike Heron and his daughter for 'Feast Of Stephen'.

Alasdair Roberts was his usual marvellously lugubrious self. An intriguing new song, possibly called 'Song Composed In December' plus 'Golden Vanity', 'Waxwing', and 'Bonnie Susie Cleland. A fantastic performance of the last, though not a song designed to show the Scottish in a good light.

There's no discoverable version (by me) of 'Gilderay' by Shirley and Dolly Collins  (it's on 1978's For As Many As Will) but here's a version from Jim Moray.

Also present were The Belles Of London dancing the conclusion to Shirley's talk (seen below celebrating Shirley's birthday)

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