Cornwall Heritage Trust / Lowender Peran: Cornish Songs in Schools Project
Community singing, the Cornish “Shout”, is an important and popular part of Cornwall’s cultural heritage. This pack is designed to help teachers engage children with Cornwall’s singing heritage. There are eight songs in this pack, some are recently composed and some have been in the Cornish singing tradition for generations.
Each song in this pack has a recording of children singing; a recording of just the accompaniment for children to sing along with; words that can be projected on to a screen; music score with guitar chords; and music score with keyboard accompaniment. The teacher can choose which medium or combination best suit their children.
The links for the songs below can be streamed or used to download the files.
Children Singing (mp3) Camborne Hill - Children Singing (316 downloads)
Accompaniment only (mp3) Camborne Hill - Accompaniment only (181 downloads)
Children Singing (mp3) Cornish Lads - Children Singing (283 downloads)
Accompaniment only (mp3) Cornish Lads - Accompaniment Only (234 downloads)
Cornwall My Home
Children Singing (mp3) Cornwall My Home - Children Singing (405 downloads)
Accompaniment only (mp3) Cornwall My Home - Accompaniment Only (271 downloads)
Children Singing (mp3) Lamorna - Children Singing (250 downloads)
Accompaniment only (mp3) Lamorna - Accompaniment Only (249 downloads)
Children Singing (mp3) Little Lize - Children Singing (246 downloads)
Accompaniment only (mp3) Little Lize - Accompaniment only (186 downloads)
Song For Cornwall
Children Singing (mp3) Little Lize - Accompaniment only (186 downloads)
Accompaniment only (mp3) Song for Cornwall - Accompaniment Only (233 downloads)
Children Singing (mp3) Sweet Nightingale - Children Singing (227 downloads)
Accompaniment only (mp3) Sweet Nightingale - Accompaniment Only (218 downloads)
(Robert Stephen Hawker)
Children Singing (mp3) Trelawny - Children Singing (244 downloads)
Accompaniment only (mp3) Trelawny - Accompaniment Only (261 downloads)
Notes on the songs for teachers
The songs in this pack are all special to Cornwall. Some have identified composers and lyrics that celebrate Cornish identity; some have been absorbed into folk singing tradition from sources outside of Cornwall and substantially changed. It is important to understand folk tradition as a continuing process rather than something fixed and historic. The lyrics and melodies associated with the songs will change over time and there may be several different versions in circulation.
Camborne hill celebrates the story of Richard Trevithick and the invention of the steam engine. The exact origins of the song are not clear but it certainly travelled the world with Cornish miners and the appears in a collection called “Songs of the Butte Miner” published in “Western Folklore” in 1950. It was recorded in 1946 from the singing of a Cornishman called Richard Guest who had mined at Butte, Montana, for some 30 years. It was not was not identified by the 19th century folk song collectors in Cornwall but was clearly popular by the time Peter Kennedy recorded it in 1956.
Cornish Lads was composed by Roger Bryant in 1994 and inspired by closure of the last tin mines in Cornwall. It was featured in “Cry of Tin” a music drama and CD by Cornwall Songwriters in 2000.
Cornwall my Home and Song For Cornwall
Two examples of many songs composed by Harry (Safari) Glasson and popularised by the Cape Cornwall singers in the 1990s.
Lamorna started life as a Broadside called “Down to Pomona”. Pomona was a nineteenth Century Zoological park in Manchester with a notoriously expensive admission fee intended to discourage working class people, thus the twist in the last verse. It is thought that it was provided with a tune and a Cornish twist in the early 1900s by Charles Lee a novelist specialising in stories about Cornwall. He stayed in small Cornish village communities for long periods when researching his books and was a recognised expert in Cornish dialect. Certainly it was a well established part of the Cornish singing repertoire by the 1950s.
Little Lize / Little Eyes
This song originated as a Charles H Sheffer composition “Liza Loves You” for a Minstrel Show entitled “The Wrong Girl” that toured across the USA in 1885. The lyrics were revised by the Deep River Boys and in the form of “Honey Honey” used as the B side to their 1950s hit single “Deep River”. It became part of the repertoire of Cornish close harmony group the “Joy Boys” in 1955 and has since been adopted into the Cornish community / “shout” singing tradition with yet further variation of the lyrics.
The Sweet Nightingale
The Sweet Nightingale first enters written record in 1761 in popular musical by Isaac Bickerstaff and Thomas Arne Called the “Sailors Return”. It is a follows a common theme and was almost certainly plagiarised it from an older folk song. We do not know when it was absorbed into Cornish singing tradition but a much altered version of the words was noted from John Stocker, a Cornish miner working in Zell, in Germany in 1854 by James Dixon and Robert Bell. Rev Baring Gould published the version of the melody we know today in Songs and Ballads of the West in1892. He was was sent a version with the music by “E. F. Stevens, Esq” of St. Ives but makes clear that it was popular throughout Cornwall at this time.
Trelawny was written by Rev Robert Stephen Hawker in 1824. It was inspired by the expression “Here’s twenty thousand Cornishmen will know the reason why” together with the story of Bishop Jonathon Trelawny who was imprisoned in the Tower of London in 1688. It was published anonymously in a Plymouth Newspaper in 1826 and quickly captured the imagination of Cornish people the world over to become recognised as the Cornish National Anthem.
This was a joint project between Cornwall Heritage Trust and the Lowender Peran festival. Workshops were provided for schools to introduce children to the songs and prepare them for a concert performance. At the concert each school lead the community singing with words projected on a screen to help the audience join in. This concert was recorded live in order to provide the tracks used in the pack.
Wadebridge Primary Academy
The Bishops School, Newquay
Perranporth CP School
Newlyn East Learning Academy
Oll an Gwella, Newquay
Keith and Clarinda Truscott, Bodmin
For more information about Cornish community singing and folk traditions see:
Shout Kernow: Celebrating Cornwall’s pub songs
Hilary Coleman& Sally Burley, Francis Boutle Pubishers, www.francisboutle.co.uk
Gwerin: Folk Song Dance and Identity in Cornwall
Merv Davey, Francis Boutle Pubishers, www.francisboutle.co.uk
An Daras: Cornish Folk Arts Project: www.an-daras.com