Morris Dance musicians…

Morris Dance musicians…

Hi! Apologies for this off topic posting!

I am the ‘Gaffer’* (person in charge of music) for a South London/ North Surrey Border Morris side.
We are looking to recruit melody playing musicians for our team: fiddle, box (any variety), flute, whistle, recorder, pipes (any variety), banjo, general melody playing strummyfings, trombone, melodica, ‘cello, viola, portable harmonium/ keyboard, anything! (Morris is very liberal as to instrument selection)
If you can play the simplest of Trad Irish you can surely play a Morris tune!

Must be prepared to play STANDING UP (!), all day or evening, outside, in rain, wind, minus five Celsius, baking heat waves, summer thunderstorms, hail and earthquakes. Probably enjoy a pint, perhaps dressing up, wearing hats and frightening dogs, frail old ladies and sprogs! NO DANCING INVOLVED! (for musicians!) It is great fun!!! Honest!

* other quaint titles in Morris are: ‘Foreman’- in charge of dancing, ‘Squire’- in charge overall

Re: Morris Dance musicians…

It is indeed great fun - I play for a Border side down here in Cornwall. Have you tried any of the Facebook pages?
Morris musicians Union
How many Morris Dancers on Facebook
Border Dancers of the Uk….

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Looks like fun - apart from playing in the rain!

Off, off topic - can you give examples of some Irish traditional tunes that are commonly played for Morris dancers?

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Garryowen, for Border and/or North-west sides. Dunno about Cotswold.

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Love it! But sadly too far away to be of any help, Yhaal House.
I get my annual "fix" of playing for Morris at Sidmouth Folk Week, where there is a "scratch" dance team and band who play every morning and evening: just turn up and play or dance. Tattered jackets essential if you want to be in the big processions on the Sunday and torchlit one on the final night, but otherwise anything goes. If it rains, they move to a handy bus shelter for the musicians, while the dancers continue in the rain.
Tunes? Winster Gallop, Bonny Kate, Brighton Camp, Uncle Bernard’s, Cuckoo’s Nest, etc and "Travesty" - i.e. Wild Mountain Thyme set into jig time!
We do play out of doors in Farmers’ Markets up here in and around Edinburgh, also almost all weathers. Fingerless gloves essential! And occasionally even play Morris tunes. (Most of the above + Harper’s Frolick, The Oyster Girl, The Seven Stars, Jamie Allan, Salmon Tails Up the Water.)

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fionán "can you give examples of some Irish traditional tunes that are commonly played for Morris dancers?"

There’s a Cotswold morris tune/dance called "The Captain with his Whiskers". It’s a variant of the melody of the well-known Irish song: "The Wearing of the Green"

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Here was me thinking that Morris dancers are all mad…. and then I read Yhaal House’s job description! What can I say?

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A great tune often played for Morris Dancing, The Princess Royal And don’t forget Portsmouth, not the Mike Oldfield version!

All the best
Brian x

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If I lived in England I’d be in the thick of it! I keep hoping to see some Morris dancing when my wife Kate and I go to Rottingdean each year, but so far we’ve just seen pubs with no dance. Just bitter and cider! Pint of Hogs Back anyone?
Alex.

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You have to dress up like flower-pot men and hit each other with big sticks.

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Yhaal House: "other quaint titles in Morris are: ‘Foreman’- in charge of dancing, ‘Squire’- in charge overall"

What, no "bagman" in your Morris side, Yhaal House ? 😉

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‘Irish trad tunes commonly played’ - North Eastern Rapper sides dance to fast jigs like Blackthorn Stick and the Tenpenny Bit - but maybe they arent classified as Morris?

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With Cotswold Morris there are a few tunes in common with Irish music such as Haste to the Wedding, Jocky to the Fair, Brighton Camp. I believe Old Marlborough to be very similar to The Old Orange Rogue. You can find many of the tunes collected from traditional Cotswold teams in the early 20th Century here https://themorrisring.org/music/handbook-morris-dances. In the era these tunes were picked to accompany the dances there was much more of an overlap of Irish and English music than there is now.

Many of the tunes used to accompany Rapper were taken from O’Neills and there were plenty of Irish musicians working in the pits of Northumberland where the dances developed.

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Mix O’Lydian: Yes! Our ‘baggie’ is called Sally!

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Hmm .. Bagwoman? Baglady? - Or maybe we need a new term "Bagperson"

Q. What do you call a female Squire?

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Q. What do you call a female Squire?
A. Shield Maiden

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Dorothy

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She has friends …

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It helps if the musician is tought to dance so he/she will appreciate what he/she is playing for.

Regards,

D. Dickie (Lead Musician of Victory Morris, Portsmouth; joined 1981 & playing melodeon since 1983)