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).
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
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.
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 :-)