Reg. Charity No. 305999




Music Section of the Devonshire Association





Friday, June 29, 2012

Pennymoor Singaround at play with Breton friends at St-Guénolé-Penmarc'h, Bretagne in a fabulous weekend of traditional music and song with Bampton Folk Festival friends from Ireland, Isle of White, Cornwall and UK

By Rob Hopcott (see his facebook for photos)

Take a touch of Irish tune, add a dash of English dance music, sprinkle in some Breton traditional bombardes and flavour with songs from around the world. Stir well then mix in fine French wine, food and the company of wonderful Breton, Irish and English friends to make a gourmand meal of memories that last a lifetime! (See more photos on Facebook here).

All this took place last weekend when the
Pennymoor Singaround members, based in and around Mid-Devon, visited their friends at Penmarc'h in Brittany for a weekend of traditional song, traditional tunes and traditional friendship in the wonderful company of the musicians and singers from Ireland, Isle of White, Cornwall and many other areas in the UK who regularly take part in the Bampton Folk Festival 'After the Fair' each year. (See some Breton friends playing bombardes in video above).

It was a truly memorable weekend that started as musicians, singers and their partners and friends converged on Saint-Guenole, Finistère, France in Southern Brittany. Cars had been shared, campervans had been dug out of storage and the destination accommodation and base for most was the local école for the weekend.

Friday afternoon, pushing my way through the melee of musicians and singers already in party mood at Bar Chez Cathy, St-Guénolé-Penmarc'h, Bretagne, I asked one of our French Breton hosts about the plan and he told me that it was to visit, play tunes and sing songs, drink and eat in all the local bars in turn over the weekend. 'C'est facile! Non?' There was also a visit to a local lighthouse and a local canning factory planned. So we did ... and it was wonderful!

Sadly, it all seemed to end too soon with a meal cooked by our hosts and laid on at a fish auction warehouse in Kérity, Bretagne, France nearby on Sunday, with speeches and a few songs full of soul and not a few misty eyes.

Parting may have been full of sadness but the wonderful thing is that everybody will be meeting again at the Bampton Folk Festival 2012, 'After the Fair' in the Autumn this year, as we do every year.

The other wonderful thing is that this is not an exclusive group of friends. Anybody who loves traditional music and song is welcome at the free Bampton Folk Festival 2012 which takes place after the horse fair in Devon each year. The pubs will be full to brimming with traditional musicians and singers singing and playing traditional tunes from Ireland, England, Brittany France and elsewhere around the world.

All are also welcome to join in too with the Pennymoor Singaround meetings for song and tunes that takes place throughout the year in and around Mid-Devon. Its aims are to encourage participation in folk arts, music and culture through singing, instrument playing, story telling, dance and folk theatre at all levels of ability. All that is required in a love of traditional folk song and music and the desire to participate in making music in a friendly environment.

So, if you have never experienced a singaround and don't live near Mid-Devon, why not check out your local folk club. Folk singarounds come in all sorts of shapes and sizes but generally involve acoustic musicians and singers meeting up in a local bar and taking turns to sing or play a tune, sometimes with the others joining in and sometimes solo.

Alternatively, folk music sessions, generally, are mainly instrumental and involve everybody playing a tune at the same time. After one tune is played, somebody starts another. Simple! They are ideal for beginners  just learning about the rich variety of traditional  tunes available to musicians in the UK, Ireland and around the world and for expert musicians and singers just wanting to have fun. All you need to do is turn up, buy a drink at the bar and join in!

Even if you can't find a  local singaround or folk music session near to you, there is always the free
Bampton Folk Festival 2012 this autumn where the pubs and cafes will be full to brimming with musicians and singers having a great time playing and singing the traditional songs and music they love together with their friends, old and new, from Brittany, Ireland, the Isle of White, Cornwall and elsewhere around the UK. At the end of the day, even though the music is great, it's being part of a wonderful community that have a shared passion that is what it is all about! Perhaps I'll see you there :-)