My Blog went a bit quiet in September but that’s not because we did! It’s because we visited over 9 events and so it’ll take a bit of catching up! This included our usual shouts at The Countryman in Piece and the Seiners at Perranporth but more of them later. I also set up a new singing group – The Red River Singers at Heartlands with the main aim of teaching Cornish songs – not just from the pub tradition but some of the folk and Cornish language ones too. Yet I have heard a wealth of lesser known songs on my travels – particularly some of the old hymn tunes and hope to include them too. We’ve had a great start with over 20 people coming regularly and tonight will be their first outing for a shout at The Star in Vogue!
The Inn Singers, Mounts Bay Inn, Mullion 26th Aug ‘12
The singers always sing on the last Sunday of the month and have been going 10-15 years, they don’t rehearse in between but slowly get to know the songs and harmonies from each other. The pub has always been supportive, sponsoring them by getting t-shirts done and putting out jugs of beer.
I had met Gail at the Countryman (where we have our regular shout) and she’d told me about the Inn Singers and Graham, who leads them, known as Yogi. When we arrived she introduced us to him and he told us how he’d wanted to get the singing going after his dad, who used to sing with Holmans, stopped. Graham was keen that the tradition wouldn’t die out. There was a strong feeling in the group that they wanted to ‘instil it in the youngsters’ and indeed Graham’s own son (aged 16) sang with them. The group was mixed, the women singing mid-range so as to blend in with the male voices. Gail’s mother, who is in her 80’s, also sang, which meant the group had a great age range.
Their repertoire was also broad and I was interested to hear the hymn ‘Fisherman and his Child’ because the only other group I’ve heard sing this beautiful sad old ballad was the Cadgwith Singers, so it may be very local to the Lizard.
There were a gang of regulars (singers’ ‘other halves’) at one table who had short sticks with them and banged on the table when certain songs, such as Lamorna, were sung! The Inn was also filled with tourists some of whom were obviously very appreciative. One person on holiday described it as:
‘High quality music for the soul. Noticed people joining in on the spur of the moment, creating bonding. Thoroughly enjoyed it!’
However one of the singers commented: ‘we don’t care if people don’t listen – we do it for ourselves’ which is the sentiment I’ve found everywhere and the main distinguishing feature between a shout and a performance.
I also met an old friend who sang with them, Dicky Mint who could tell a joke or three! I had met him years ago through learning the Cornish Language – he’s a fluent speaker and was made a Bard this year – so congratulations, Dicky (and to all your brothers and sisters!)