Perhaps it’s down to living in a more-or-less successfully multicultural city, or perhaps my own bi-cultural roots (which, in spite of being mostly Anglo do at least span an ocean, a revolution and two different ways of pronouncing “tomato”), but I’ve always been suspicious of nationalism. To me it’s reductive and harsh: a way of simplifying and pruning identity, of promoting exclusion and narrow interests. Set against this is the fact that providing space for the voicing of different, even dissonant cultural identities makes for a wider, more inclusive broader culture. Music can be one of the easiest ways of doing this (although it can also be one of the first cultural tokens to be hijacked) and as part of the process of keeping myself interested and this blog more interesting, I’m trying to pick up on some of the more specifically nation-oriented music events that show up in London. (having covered Korean and Balinese-tinged events in the past), even if they might shade into more complicated or compromised political areas.
Despite my vague and wooly reticence above, I’m happy to say that the first of the two such events this month is as cute as chips (in keeping with the benevolent air surrounding Daylight Music, who are hosting it). This Saturday sees a performance of unrivalled Cornwall-ality as various people either from, or with roots in, or possessing some musical sympathy with the most westerly end of the British mainland show up to the usual Daylight corner of north London…
Daylight Music presents:
Daylight Music 218 – Kernow In The Chapel: A Cornish Celebration (with Colin Leggo + The Wreckers Singers + Hanterhir + others t.b.c.
Union Chapel, Compton Terrace, Islington, London, N1 2UN, England
Saturday 5th March 2016, 12.00pm – free/pay-what-you-like event (suggested donation – £5.00) – more information
“Saturday 5th March is St. Piran’s Day – Kernow (Cornwall)’s national day. To celebrate, we’re bringing a taste of Cornish culture, music, comedy and food to Daylight with ‘Kernow In The Chapel’, a sister event to the long-running Kernow In The City – London St.Piran’s celebration. There will be songs and comedy from Colin Leggo; a traditional Cornish ‘shout’ with songs in English and Kernewek (the Cornish language) from The Wreckers Singers; and Redruth-based Cornish-language psych-rockers Hanterhir playing an acoustic set. There will also be poetry, a soundscape of Cornwall sounds, proper pasties and a Cornish ‘cakey tea’. Tis gonna be ansum!”
Here are some ideas of what you’re going to get:
Sadly, the planned performance of Cornish classical music to round out the show has had to be abandoned due to musicians becoming unavailable, although some of the scheduled pieces may have been moved into the choral performance. Speaking of which, I can’t find a homepage or any embeddable audio/visual material for The Wreckers Singers. I suspect that they’re an illegal flashmob choir who issue forth from the Cornish underground whenever there’s a chance of enticing an audience over to a concert. They probably use some kind of sonic beacon, drawing hapless punters in with their roistering close-harmonies. (Oh, I don’t know. If you know who they are, send me a link, but don’t risk your life in doing so…)
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The second of this month’s events is a little more challenging. More on that shortly. It might have made for a more interesting juxtaposition with the Cornish event, but time is tight right now…