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Souling time again

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SOULING SONG


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John J 31 Oct 01 - 04:22 AM
GUEST,Noreen no-cookie 31 Oct 01 - 06:16 AM
Edain 31 Oct 01 - 11:04 AM
GUEST, Cookieless, Allan C. 31 Oct 01 - 11:13 AM
GUEST,Animaterra-sans-cookie 31 Oct 01 - 12:08 PM
John J 31 Oct 01 - 12:18 PM
John J 31 Oct 01 - 12:24 PM
Madam Gashee 31 Oct 01 - 01:49 PM
John J 01 Nov 01 - 05:25 AM
Crane Driver 01 Nov 01 - 07:23 AM
John J 01 Nov 01 - 11:15 AM
Malcolm Douglas 01 Nov 01 - 12:48 PM
Noreen 01 Nov 01 - 01:21 PM
Linda Mattson 01 Nov 01 - 01:51 PM
Malcolm Douglas 01 Nov 01 - 02:22 PM
Noreen 01 Nov 01 - 02:33 PM
Malcolm Douglas 01 Nov 01 - 03:36 PM
Noreen 01 Nov 01 - 05:37 PM
John J 02 Nov 01 - 04:43 AM
Noreen 02 Nov 01 - 04:57 AM
John J 02 Nov 01 - 11:04 AM
Crane Driver 02 Nov 01 - 01:33 PM
Mrrzy 02 Nov 01 - 01:37 PM
Malcolm Douglas 02 Nov 01 - 03:22 PM
Jack the Sailor 02 Nov 01 - 03:32 PM
Malcolm Douglas 02 Nov 01 - 04:15 PM
Jack the Sailor 02 Nov 01 - 04:34 PM
GUEST,Les/ Manchester uk 03 Nov 01 - 04:02 AM
Penny S. 03 Nov 01 - 05:13 AM
GUEST,Les/ Manchester uk 04 Nov 01 - 04:26 AM
Crane Driver 04 Nov 01 - 06:06 AM
GUEST,John J, broken biscuit 05 Nov 01 - 04:14 AM
John J 05 Nov 01 - 06:49 AM
GUEST,Pete W. 05 Nov 01 - 06:37 PM
Dead Horse 05 Nov 01 - 08:50 PM
John J 06 Nov 01 - 04:53 AM
John J 07 Nov 01 - 04:27 AM
GUEST 07 Nov 01 - 12:52 PM
John J 08 Nov 01 - 04:26 AM
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Subject: Souling time again
From: John J
Date: 31 Oct 01 - 04:22 AM

It's nearly that time of the year when Soulers go out and strut their stuff around the pubs (and other venues) of England.

The Warburton Soulers will be out from 1st November until 9th November around Lymm / Warburton area of North Cheshire.

If you've not seen the play before......hold on to your pint, VERY tightly!

Please post here if you want to know when / where we're performing.

King George


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Subject: RE: Souling time again
From: GUEST,Noreen no-cookie
Date: 31 Oct 01 - 06:16 AM

Yes please, John/KG. I enjoyed my first Souling experience last year, and hope to get to see you all again.

It's been some year since then!

Noreen


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Subject: RE: Souling time again
From: Edain
Date: 31 Oct 01 - 11:04 AM

Never seen it myself but heard about it a few times and all the feedback was good so count me in if there is a date feasible.

Edain


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Subject: RE: Souling time again
From: GUEST, Cookieless, Allan C.
Date: 31 Oct 01 - 11:13 AM

Christmas is a-comin' and the lights are on the tree,
How about a turkey leg for poor old me?
If you haven't got a turkey leg, a chicken wing will do.
If you haven't got a chicken wing, may God bless you!

Wish I could attend or be visited by the Souling bunch. What a lovely custom!

The verse, BTW, is (if memory serves,) from a Bing Crosby version of the song.


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Subject: RE: Souling time again
From: GUEST,Animaterra-sans-cookie
Date: 31 Oct 01 - 12:08 PM

On Sunday I had the pleasure of seeing the Green Mountain Mummers; not the same as souling, but it was still great fun. They did their own brand of a mummers play, with John Roberts as king and Tony Barrand as Queen, it was quite a sight! The sword dance was spectacular. This year was in memory of their Fool, Steve Adams, who died in WTC2 on 9/11.


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Subject: RE: Souling time again
From: John J
Date: 31 Oct 01 - 12:18 PM

What a lovely reason to perform their Play, yet how very sad.

John (Just discovered he's only King George for one night (knight?) this year)


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Subject: RE: Souling time again
From: John J
Date: 31 Oct 01 - 12:24 PM

Got a broken biscuit Noreen?....or are you at uni?

We're out:

Thurs 1st (first performance @ Saracen's Head, near Partington) Fri 2nd (first performance @ The Old Number Three, Agden) Sat 3rd (first performance @ Church Inn, Urmston) Thurs 8th (first performance @ Bay Malton, Oldfield Brow, Altrincham) Fri 8th (first performance @ Stamford Arms, Bolington, near Altrincham)

O.S. map references can be supplied if required.

If you want to meet up Noreen, give me a shout. I was hoping to be at the ducie tonight, but I'm roped into going to visit the Antrobus Soulcakers, it's their first performance of the year.

John


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Subject: RE: Souling time again
From: Madam Gashee
Date: 31 Oct 01 - 01:49 PM

Any souling going on further West in Wales? Anyone!


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Subject: RE: Souling time again
From: John J
Date: 01 Nov 01 - 05:25 AM

Probably not, souling was a very English thing, concentrated mainly around Cheshire. Other areas have their own types of Play: Lancashire has Pace-Egging at Easter, other parts of England have Mumming around Christmas (all pre-christian festivals).

I know that Wales has a play, called something like the 'Mari' I think. I'm sure more knowledgeable people will put me right.

John


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Subject: RE: Souling time again
From: Crane Driver
Date: 01 Nov 01 - 07:23 AM

Mari Lwyd, the grey mare, a horse skull on a pole, taken round with singing at New Year. There's also the Crwmpyn John play from the Swansea Valley, an English type mumming play. This was performed, in English, in communities that spoke Welsh. In some cases, the words to Crwmpyn John were the only English known.

Gower also had a traditional mummers play of the English type, as did many other areas of South Wales. There has been so much movement back and forth over the Severn river in the past thousand years that it's pointless trying to establish a firm border for folk culture.

I've not heard of Souling in South Wales (the above are Christmas/ New Year customs) but North Eastern Wales has close cultural links with Cheshire, and I wouldn't be surprised if Souling took place there sometimes.


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Subject: RE: Souling time again
From: John J
Date: 01 Nov 01 - 11:15 AM

Thanks for that info Crane Driver. Just out of interest i spoke to an acquaintance who lives in Neath to see if was aware of the Mari Lwyd. I'm afraid he'd never heard of it.

I wonder if there are any current / revival performances of Mari Lwyd or Crwmpyn John?

John J (or should that be King George?)


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Subject: RE: Souling time again
From: Malcolm Douglas
Date: 01 Nov 01 - 12:48 PM

http://www.folkwales.org.uk/mari.html


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Subject: RE: Souling time again
From: Noreen
Date: 01 Nov 01 - 01:21 PM

Have fun tonight, King George, or whoever else you may be!

I think I can do next Thursday- desperately trying to write an essay atm (yes, I know you can tell!)

Edain/Nicky, when can you get down?

Noreen


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Subject: RE: Souling time again
From: Linda Mattson
Date: 01 Nov 01 - 01:51 PM

Hi Noreen! These sound like wonderful events. Can you or anyone explain a little of the history of souling? My friend recently sang a soulcake song in a pre-Halloween celebration and was castigated by a member of his band, for singing a "Christmas" song. She didn't believe that it was a Halloween season tradition. I have a calendar of English customs which relates Souling to All Souls Day or Samhain. Does it belong to both seasons?

Peace to everyone, -Linda Mattson (fondly remembering Llanstock 2000)


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Subject: RE: Souling time again
From: Malcolm Douglas
Date: 01 Nov 01 - 02:22 PM

Souling belongs to All Souls, not to Christmas/Midwinter.  Having said that, there has been some movement of traditions between the two festivals; in Cheshire, for example, the Old Horse (known in Wales as the Mari Lwyd) goes out at All Souls, though everywhere else it belongs to Christmas/New Year.


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Subject: RE: Souling time again
From: Noreen
Date: 01 Nov 01 - 02:33 PM

Hi Linda! Found some links for you. Souling is definitely associated with All Soul's Day (Nov 2nd) or All Soul's eve (Nov 1st) and therefore the Hallowe'en season, and only takes place in Cheshire, as JJ said above.

It is, however, closely related/virtually identical (apart from the horse's head?!) to other mummers plays, which are generally performed around Christmas, in other parts of the country.

I llke the quote from the first link here:
To use Boyd's words many of these chants were 'traditional if somewhat tuneless songs,' and he concludes 'The Souling songs themselves perhaps show a rather excessive interest in liquor, but after all the play's the thing.' This thought, however, was not necessarily shared by everyone, for in 1880 The Cheshire Sheaf reported that 'Three middle aged men, with a concertina, have just been Souling here. They began well but ended with very bad verses about ale and strong beer which, they said, was all for which they came.'

Article on the Cheshire tradition of Soulcaking: The Living Tradition Issue 25

Earl of Stamford Morris: Halton Souling Play (with pictures)

The Coventry Mummers: (short history of mumming)

Noreen
(enough to write an essay on, there- more interesting than what I am writing about!)


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Subject: RE: Souling time again
From: Malcolm Douglas
Date: 01 Nov 01 - 03:36 PM

Souling is certainly strongest in Cheshire, but isn't unique to that county; it took place in Shropshire until relatively recently, though as a children's custom rather than an adult one, and is still remembered in the Sheffield area, seeming to have survived longest aroud Dungworth, though I don't know if it's still observed; in most places it seems to have been forgotten in favour of "trick or treat".


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Subject: RE: Souling time again
From: Noreen
Date: 01 Nov 01 - 05:37 PM

Thanks, Malcolm, I didn't know that. Yes, trick or treat is taking over everywhere... no 'penny for the Guy' any more.

Noreen


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Subject: RE: Souling time again
From: John J
Date: 02 Nov 01 - 04:43 AM

The Play went VERY well last night, particularly considering it was the first night.

PM me if anyone needs details of our programme.

John (Groom at the moment, but not King George until next week)


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Subject: RE: Souling time again
From: Noreen
Date: 02 Nov 01 - 04:57 AM

Oh good- so I may get to meet King George?! :0)


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Subject: RE: Souling time again
From: John J
Date: 02 Nov 01 - 11:04 AM

Crane driver: My friend from Neath got home last night and asked his wife about Mari Lwyd, and she'd actually heard of it which was most gratifying. She has no contact / interest in folklore, but was aware of Mari Lwyd 'as something from carnivals, something with a horse's head'.

Noreen: Yup, I'm King George next Thursday, Groom tonight and tomorrow night. Let me know if and when you'd like to come and we'll sort it.

John


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Subject: RE: Souling time again
From: Crane Driver
Date: 02 Nov 01 - 01:33 PM

John J:

Friends of mine in Swansea perform both Crwmpyn John and the Gower Mumming Play every Christmas, taking CJ up into the valleys and GMP on to Gower, including the Gower Folk Club Xmas Party. Most years they collect a couple of hundred pounds for local charities.

There used to be an old Mari Lwyd horse head on display at Rhossili on Gower. Llantrisant Folk Club have revived the custom for their Christmas celebrations.


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Subject: RE: Souling time again
From: Mrrzy
Date: 02 Nov 01 - 01:37 PM

Hmmm - penny for the guy, isn't that the 5th of November, remember remember? Is it really the case that this isn't done any more? What about the "penny to bury the wren" custom in (I believe) Ireland, don't tell me that's gone too? That one was on the day after $mas, at least.


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Subject: RE: Souling time again
From: Malcolm Douglas
Date: 02 Nov 01 - 03:22 PM

The Wren Boys still go out in Ireland, I believe, but not very much nowadays; children tend to think it's terribly uncool.  It's not a solely Irish custom, and used to be observed in Wales, too, though it died out there earlier.


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Subject: RE: Souling time again
From: Jack the Sailor
Date: 02 Nov 01 - 03:32 PM

Would someone please tell me what you mean by souling?


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Subject: RE: Souling time again
From: Malcolm Douglas
Date: 02 Nov 01 - 04:15 PM

The links Noreen gave explain it.


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Subject: RE: Souling time again
From: Jack the Sailor
Date: 02 Nov 01 - 04:34 PM

There are descriptions but I still don't really understand. One of the was mostly a guy talking about himself. His point of reference was mostly comparitive and very difficult to follow.

Lets see if I have this right.

You go door to to and perform plays for cake? In the play someone has to play St. George and Slay a dragon? or a Turk? What does this have to do with all souls day? How is the devil involved?


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Subject: RE: Souling time again
From: GUEST,Les/ Manchester uk
Date: 03 Nov 01 - 04:02 AM

A lot of theses plays and assorted customs have 'good and evil' and many have 'death and resurrection' in that someone is killed and then brought back to life.

This has been variously interpreted by folkists with little historic knowledge or accademic rigour, infact any kind if accademic anything is probably fround upon, as pagan, pre-christian, viking, anglo-saxon, celtic, roman or anything you fancy.

The only relentlessly honest thing anybody ever says is we don't know.

A letter from Julian Pilling, himself an old folk custom, in English Dance & Song pointed out that one of the most common featues of Morris was its ability to be reserected. At least I think that was what he said and so I have contributed to the oral tradition!

I remember competeing in the 'All Cheshire Finals' of a Dwile Flonking competition at Chester Festival in the early 70s. how many people went away thinking this was an old folk tradition?

Who knows the origin of Dwile Flonking?

As for Cheshire and Souling one suspects its a bit like Chester. We all think its a Roman City. Most of the walls are what, 15/16 century and most of those black and white buildings are victorian.

Is Souling realy pagan or is it like morris mostly a victorian creation? To add to a previous winge of mine some folk customs are dramatic and exciting, I saw Antrobus in Ian Woods Folk club in Frodsham in the late 60s before it moved to ots current location and it was seriously weird but please save us from those am-dram performances with everybody from Geoffroy Boycott to the Spice Girls and yes I confess I have been in some of them.


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Subject: RE: Souling time again
From: Penny S.
Date: 03 Nov 01 - 05:13 AM

Wasn't dwile flonking on Michael Bentine's "It's a Square World"?

Penny


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Subject: RE: Souling time again
From: GUEST,Les/ Manchester uk
Date: 04 Nov 01 - 04:26 AM

yes, but how many festivals has it popped up at? cheers Les


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Subject: RE: Souling time again
From: Crane Driver
Date: 04 Nov 01 - 06:06 AM

All Saints or All Souls was apparently the pre-christian New Year - I wouldn't know, it was pre-me as well. The early christians took over lots of old festivals and made them their own - I suppose it was cheaper than starting new ones.

I read that the pagan Irish had a very democratic (?) custom every New Year - the King had to spend the night alone in a cottage out in the wild. If the people didn't like him, they stormed the place. Trick or treat?

But did these things come down unbroken from then, or were they revived by someone who read books? As Guest Les sez, we don't know.


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Subject: RE: Souling time again
From: GUEST,John J, broken biscuit
Date: 05 Nov 01 - 04:14 AM

From what I understand, Antrobus Soulcakers have performed more or less continually since who knows when. ie They're not a revival. The Play I'm in (Warburton) was performed until 1938, then revived in the 1970s.

BTW, change of programme for this Thursday: start at the Bull's Head, Mobberley. If anyone wants details of the evening, email me: john.jocys@btinternet.com

John


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Subject: RE: Souling time again
From: John J
Date: 05 Nov 01 - 06:49 AM

Check this out: http://www.folkwales.org.uk/mari.html Nowt to do with our Play, but very interesting.

John


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Subject: RE: Souling time again
From: GUEST,Pete W.
Date: 05 Nov 01 - 06:37 PM

My favourite theory about the origin of mumming is that the plays go back at least to the crusades and were performed by itinerate soldiers whio had returned from their journeys east and were performing un their neighbourhoods for food or money. Many mummers plays are based on the theme (ironically enough) of Christians vs Muslims with St.George, Prince George or King George has the 'hero' and the Turkish Knight (Turkey Snipe), Black Moroccan Doc or the Black Prince of Paradise as the 'villain'. These were the points of reference for the performers and plays became adapted by individual villages to reflect local characters and events.

The death and resurrection theme of mumming plays probably goes back earlier - as suggested - to pagan times. I believe this is meant to represent the passing of winter and the rebirth of the land in the spring.

I perform with the Coventry Mummers and we will be embarking on our annual round of Chrsitmas Plays from Dec. 19 to Boxing Day. We will perform each play in and around the Warwickshire village of its origin - in pubs, clubs, private houses, churches, cul-de-sacs, any place where a crowd will gather and provide mince pies and mulled wine. Any drunkenness that may ensue is a purely unavoidable outcome of preserving the tradition.

Wassail!!


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Subject: RE: Souling time again
From: Dead Horse
Date: 05 Nov 01 - 08:50 PM

No place for Hoodeners then;-) "Our Esteemed Leader And Master Of All Things" says we Hoodeners don't do a play. We have a script, we rehearse, we play in character, but we don't do a play. Hmmmm.....


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Subject: RE: Souling time again
From: John J
Date: 06 Nov 01 - 04:53 AM

We don't do a play, we do a Play :-)

John


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Subject: RE: Souling time again
From: John J
Date: 07 Nov 01 - 04:27 AM

Refresh


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Subject: RE: Souling time again
From: GUEST
Date: 07 Nov 01 - 12:52 PM

Antrobus Soulcakers are out this Saturday night in Antrobus, Cheshire, for their last play of the year.


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Subject: RE: Souling time again
From: John J
Date: 08 Nov 01 - 04:26 AM

Change of plan for Thursday: Bull's Head, Church, Chapel House (all Mobberley), Greyhound at Ashley, Railway at Hale.

John


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