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Origins: Mummer's dance

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GUEST,leeneia 02 Feb 05 - 08:59 PM
GUEST 02 Feb 05 - 10:37 PM
Dave the Gnome 03 Feb 05 - 06:25 AM
Susan-Marie 03 Feb 05 - 08:31 AM
Azizi 03 Feb 05 - 09:15 AM
GUEST,leeneia 03 Feb 05 - 02:31 PM
GUEST 03 Feb 05 - 02:41 PM
Dave the Gnome 04 Feb 05 - 04:00 AM
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Subject: Origins: Mummer's dance
From: GUEST,leeneia
Date: 02 Feb 05 - 08:59 PM

I've been following a different thread which uses the Mummer's Dance, as found on a Loreena McKennit (sp) album to discuss MIDI problems. I like this tune and would like to know where it came from. Does anybody know?

(I've searched the Forum.)


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Subject: RE: Origins: Mummer's dance
From: GUEST
Date: 02 Feb 05 - 10:37 PM

From the ancient, authentic, cyrpts of anitque Eyptinan hand servants?


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Subject: RE: Origins: Mummer's dance
From: Dave the Gnome
Date: 03 Feb 05 - 06:25 AM

Loreena McKennit is a Canadian singer/songwriter. Lots of her stuff is self penned although some of the earlier work was reworks of traditional songs. I think the Mummers dance will be by Loreena. Checkout her website for more information though I couldn't spot if the song in question was all her own work or not.

Take some of the stuff about Mumming and ancient traditions with a pinch of salt. Or read a number of works on the subject to get a more balanced view;-)

Cheers

Dave the Gnome (AKA Hector in the Abram Pace Egg (Easter Mumming) play.)


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Subject: RE: Origins: Mummer's dance
From: Susan-Marie
Date: 03 Feb 05 - 08:31 AM

leenia - here are the liner notes from the album:

January 1, 1985, Stratford:
I have just read an account of a mumming troupe which boarded a Polish ship stranded in the harbour in St. John's, Newfoundland, on New Year's Eve, to entertain the sailors. According to James Frazer in his book The Golden Bough, mumming has its roots in the tree-worshipping of the peoples who inhabited great regions of forested Europe now long gone.

Mumming usually involves a group of performers dressed up in masks (sometimes of straw) and clothes bedecked with ribbons or rags, and setting out on a procession to neighbouring homes singing songs and carrying branches of greenery. It's primarily associated with springtime and fertility, and it has a cast of stock characters, like The Fool, which recurs in some form or another from Morris dancing to the shadow puppet plays of Turkey and Greece and even the morality plays of the Middle Ages.

September 1995, Palermo, Sicily:
Friends have brought me to see one of the last of a long line of puppet-makers by the name of Cuticchio. We were treated to a delightful private performance of the story of Charlemagne in a puppet theatre across the narrow street from the puppet-maker's workshop.

October 31, 1996, Inishmore:
A friend has told me of an unusual version of Hallowe'en that takes place on the island of Inishmore, off the west coast of Ireland. As no one speaks at all, "mum" is definitely the word. Characters wander into the local pub, have a pint and sometimes a dance, but these everyday activities are made surreal by the power of their silence. Outside, the roar of the Atlantic provides suitably dramatic backdrop.

December 4, 1996, Real World Studio, Wiltshire, England:
I've incorporated the chorus of a traditional mumming song into "The Mummers' Dance." The lines, rich with reference to spring, come from a song traditionally sung in Abingdon in Oxfordshire.

May 1, 1997, Padstow, Cornwall:
As with many time-honoured events, Padstow's May Day festivities begin the night before. It's not surprising to find a celebration like this in one of the most historically Celtic corners of England; it begins with a ritual carol, sung a capella, rich with references to springtime and St. George. May Day morning's rendition of the song adds a full complement of accordions and drums which accompany a procession led by the "obby oss," a "horse" figure costumed in a large hooped skirting and an almost African-looking mask.

May 15, 1997, London:
Through a series of coincidences I refer back to Idries Shah's book The Sufis and am fascinated to read about a particular Sufi ritual associated with St. George which incorporates a hobby horse.

Copyright ©1997 Warner Bros. Records. All Rights Reserved.


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Subject: RE: Origins: Mummer's dance
From: Azizi
Date: 03 Feb 05 - 09:15 AM

Susan-Marie,
an excerpt from your post reads:
"Mumming usually involves a group of performers dressed up in masks (sometimes of straw) and clothes bedecked with ribbons or rags, and setting out on a procession to neighbouring homes singing songs.."

IMO, this is very much like the John Canoe {Kunnering} processions that was performed by people of African descent in the Caribbean and in the US South in the 18th century and are still performed by people in the Caribbean in the 21st century...

In 1720 an observer by the name of Long described the 'John Canoe' dancers as being "tall & well built men dressed in peculiar clothes , carrying wooden swords, and followed by a group of drunken women [!]. On the head of each John Canow dancer was a "pair of ox-horns, sprouting from the top of a horrid sort of visor, or mask, which about the mouth is rendered very terrific with large tusks.' This man, according to Long, danced at every door, bellowing out 'John Canoe' with great vehemence."
Source: Lynne Dauley Emery "Black Dance from 1619 to Today" p. 30

In my opinion, the standard explanation for the name "John Canoe" is bogus. See this quote: "The origin of the word "Junkanoo" is said to have come from the name John Canoe, an African prince and slave trader operating on the Gold Coast in the seventeenth (17th) century. To the slaves, he was a hero and was worshipped and idolized by them"
click here for one of many websites on a John Canoe Caribbean parade.


But here's my question: Why would enslaved people idolize and consider a hero a slave trader? Because he was an African prince???...Come on now. Get real....It's time for that simplistic, folk etymological explanation to bite the dust...

There are a number of processional, masked events associated with religion in West Africa..The two which seem most credible to me are the Moko Jumbies [spirits on stilts] and Egun {Egungun}worshippers of Southern Nigeria.{simmplisticaly summarized, Egun was [is] associated with ancestors & fertility}.

It seems to me that Junkanno is a prime example of African traditions merging with European traditions [mummering] to create something unique.


Ms. Azizi


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Subject: RE: Origins: Mummer's dance
From: GUEST,leeneia
Date: 03 Feb 05 - 02:31 PM

Thanks very much for the liner notes, Susan-Marie. The pertinent part seems to be "I've incorporated the chorus of a traditional mumming song into "The Mummers' Dance."" So I suppose the origin is just trad. British Isles.


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Subject: RE: Origins: Mummer's dance
From: GUEST
Date: 03 Feb 05 - 02:41 PM

Any relationship between Morris dancing and Mummer's dance?


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Subject: RE: Origins: Mummer's dance
From: Dave the Gnome
Date: 04 Feb 05 - 04:00 AM

There is in our tradition (Abram Morris), Guest. We perform the Pace Egg play to raise money for the Morris team! Direct correlation:-)

Cheers

DtG


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