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Discussions => General Discussion => Topic started by: risto on December 29, 2007, 03:13:19 AM

Title: What is Morris?
Post by: risto on December 29, 2007, 03:13:19 AM
Please explain to me (in simple words) what is Morris (dancing). I have always liked English music very much. One of my top favourites has always been the J.W. Duarte's English Suite as a composition for the guitar. Julian Bream is the guitar nerd of all times for me and Simon Mayor is one of my absolute heroes on the mandolin. But I have no idea what is Morris and what it is all about. Please enlighten me. Thanks.
Title: Re: What is Morris?
Post by: Steve_freereeder on December 29, 2007, 08:24:17 AM
Tee hee!  Risto - you've asked an emotive question there, otherwise known as a can of worms. ;)
I'll let some of the others take the lid off first!
Title: Re: What is Morris?
Post by: Lester on December 29, 2007, 08:44:29 AM
Morris is the ritual dance form indigenous to England. It comes in a number of forms dependant on where it was collected (click on the links for examples picked at random from YouTube):


Wikipedia  (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Morris_dance)give more detail which is to be trusted in the normal Wikipedia manner.

Musically and in my view (as a Cotswold dancer/musician) it works like this:

Title: Re: What is Morris?
Post by: C age ing on December 29, 2007, 08:47:33 AM
Risto,
Don't worry your Finnish head about it, you are much better off breeding excellent rally and F1 drivers. Talking about breeding, Morris is a totally unnatural sexual act that should not be mentioned in polite society.
Old Bill.
(We'll soon be round to check your hard drives.)
Title: Re: What is Morris?
Post by: C age ing on December 29, 2007, 09:03:14 AM
Lester,
English?
Then you go on to mention Border.
Are you telling us that such an indistinct border with Welsh names on both sides, Morris stopped dead at the border?
As I am Welsh and despite the season, where do we meet for the duel?
Suggest death star equipped single rows at thirty paces.
Old Bill.
Title: Re: What is Morris?
Post by: trombonetom on December 29, 2007, 09:28:22 AM
Hello,

Cotswold dancing (the type that comes from the cotswolds) is obviously the best type!
It involves a lot more technique than border and is therefore a lot harder.In my opinion (which is of course, always right) border looks messy, but is good for mass dances beause it is easy.

Cotswold uses bells on the legs, and sticks or hankies depending on which dance you are doing. It is split up into several different "traditions", each tradition coming from a particular village in the Oxfordshire/warwickshire area. There are perhaps 25/30 traditions, at a rough guess. The tunes used for Cotswold are generally EXCELLENT
Title: Re: What is Morris?
Post by: Lester on December 29, 2007, 09:33:07 AM
Lester,
English?
Then you go on to mention Border.
Are you telling us that such an indistinct border with Welsh names on both sides, Morris stopped dead at the border?
As I am Welsh and despite the season, where do we meet for the duel?
Suggest death star equipped single rows at thirty paces.
Old Bill.
I believe all the collected dances were from the English side of the border but I may be wrong but since you are Welsh I don't need to argue as I am obviously superior :-)

ps My mother comes from Bromyard, my father from Aberbargoed and my middle name is Gareth!
Title: Re: What is Morris?
Post by: Steve_freereeder on December 29, 2007, 10:36:10 AM
Molly Dancing tends to be found in East Anglia - particularly Norfolk, Suffolk and Cambridgeshire, although one of the best teams (Seven Champions) hails from Kent.

The elements of Molly dancing are heavy slow dancing, disguise (blacked up faces or other makeup), flamboyant kit (clothing), etc. Rather than trying to describe it further, have a look at some video clips on YouTube:

Ouse Washes Molly dancers here:
http://uk.youtube.com/watch?v=DSirQF_KCKY&feature=related

Gog Magog Molly here:
http://uk.youtube.com/watch?v=y-d_-tDC11I&feature=related

Pig Dyke Molly here:
http://uk.youtube.com/watch?v=QXs7cqt-4HQ&feature=related

Seven Champions here (note musicians joining in the dance):
http://uk.youtube.com/watch?v=pAXnLUWRfCs

Hope this helps!

Title: Re: What is Morris?
Post by: C age ing on December 29, 2007, 11:43:35 AM
As you can see, these learned gentleman have failed to cover the field. There are many female teams vide Old Palace Clog who occasionally perform Appalachian dances as well.
The most important tip is never fight a Molly dancer, their uppercuts are really something.
Where did it all start?
How long you got? Some sides will tell you that is is descended from Pagan/Leafiate Man ceremonies, all will tell you that Shakespeare mentioned it and some hold it is a Victorian 'fake Merrie England' invention. Whatever it is, it is good fun, very social and musicianed, if there is such a word, by persons as different as North Wood who have a Doctor of Music on soprano and sopranino recorder to sides like mine which dances to retired dancer/musicians with dodgy knees and frustrated jazzers like me.
Can anyone recommend a side that wants to dance to tenor sax blues and mainstream jazz?
Happy New Year Everyone and Gareth.
Gwilym ap Son.
Title: Re: What is Morris?
Post by: Tyker on December 29, 2007, 12:35:53 PM
What about Long Sword and Short Sword (rapper) . Aren't they counted as morris ?
Title: Re: What is Morris?
Post by: Lester on December 29, 2007, 12:39:20 PM
As Steve wisely remarked at the start of the thread:

(http://skugg.files.wordpress.com/2007/06/can-of-worms.jpg)
Title: Re: What is Morris?
Post by: Theo on December 29, 2007, 12:43:24 PM
What about Long Sword and Short Sword (rapper) . Aren't they counted as morris ?

No, I don't think they are.  Rapper seems to have originated in the coalmining areas of northeast England, and it also has an Irish connection somewhere in its past.  Virtually all of the tunes traditionally used for rapper in its home area are Irish jigs, played very fast.
Title: Re: What is Morris?
Post by: trombonetom on December 29, 2007, 12:43:54 PM
They are sort of counted, although you would get different answers if you asked different people.

Longsword: Danced with swords that don't bend, one end has a handle, the other doesn't. The music is slow compared to the some-what fast tempoed Rapper.

Rapper: Fast tempo, a fixed handle at one end, a swivel handle at the other. Very bendy to enable fast, complicated figures.
Title: Re: What is Morris?
Post by: TomB-R on December 29, 2007, 12:48:23 PM
This is going to turn into a general Morris discussion, isn't it! (Whilst staying on topic re the original question, of course.)
I guess longsword and rapper would come under the "morris" umbrella, if they wish to.
To my mind step clog isn't morris, although NW clog obviously is. (Although step clog sides belong to the Morris Federation.) (And get called sides.)
App*l*chian is American and therefore irrelevant!
Cotswold can fairly claim a continous tradition back into times "whereof the memory of man runneth not to the contrary."
Is it fair to say Border basically died, and was resurrected from a few fragments of DNA? What evidence is there of an actual Border dance tradition, or was it always more informal than Cotswold.
What's the traditional provenance of NW Clog Morris and Molly?
Title: Re: What is Morris?
Post by: Lin Erica on December 29, 2007, 02:42:21 PM
scooze me one an' all ...........

here we are, hiding up here in the Nottinghamshire/Lincolnshire border wild country, dont know if we are classified yet as we havent been discovered by Cecil  ;)

Risto Im sure you know that there is a wealth of information out on the www   all you have to do is google morris, or were you after the more personal point of view???

Happy New Year to you all   :-*
Lin
Title: Re: What is Morris?
Post by: Ollie on December 29, 2007, 03:09:23 PM
From Brewer's dictionary of Phrase and Fable

Quote
Morris Dance
A dance, popular in England in the 15th Century and later. It was commonly a part of the May games and other festivals and pageants, and the dancers were adorned in with bells. It was brought from Spain, in the reign on Edward III (1327-77) and was originally a military dancer of the Moors or Moriscos, hence the name.

This (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Morris_dance)may also help

Title: Re: What is Morris?
Post by: Old Leaky on December 29, 2007, 03:24:13 PM
And here's me thinking it was, er, FRENCH!
Title: Re: What is Morris?
Post by: Ebor_fiddler on December 29, 2007, 09:36:44 PM
I don't know where Brewer's got the definition from, but, from the content, it sounds more like 17/18th Century "dodgy reasoning" rather than sound research. I strongly suspect that our rite is called "Morris" because the dancers blacked up and therefore looked "Moorish" (in case I am accused of being non-PC, may I mention that in tribal societies of dark-skinned people, their dancers "white up" for anonymity).
We enjoy playing for it anyway!
Title: Re: What is Morris?
Post by: risto on December 30, 2007, 12:40:37 AM
Quote
Risto Im sure you know that there is a wealth of information out on the www   all you have to do is google morris, or were you after the more personal point of view???

Yes I know, but it's so much more fun to hear opinions and views from live persons (specially the melodeon ppl) than read an encyclopedia.  ;)

Quote
Happy New Year to you all   :-*
Lin

I'll second that.

(We'll be two hours ahead of you but the Aussies are going to win this. All Aussies out there, just don't ruin the New Year before it gets here!) ::) (Oh my, the Hardy's Bin did it again) ;D
Title: Re: What is Morris?
Post by: C age ing on December 30, 2007, 06:35:20 AM
Risto,
You come from a small country that was recently occupied. You fought and expelled the Russians. We Welsh work in a slightly more subtle manner. Now remember you heard it here first, Morris was invented by us Welsh in the late nineteenth century complete with a faked history to take the mickey out of the English. They fell for it hook, line and sinker but unfortunately some of us original occupants of this country still need to perform to encourage new English recruits.
It was the same with the Scots revival, it was Welsh tailors who triggered Sir Walter Scott into making men wear skirts, if you look carefully at the base of the Scott Memorial in Edinburgh, you will see a small 'Made in Wales' inscription.
Now go away and train some more WRC, F! and MotoGP drivers. Now there's a thought, Morris Side Racing.........................................
Gwilym ap Son.
Please note the soft mutation.
Title: Re: What is Morris?
Post by: risto on December 30, 2007, 11:58:54 AM
Quote
Risto,
You come from a small country that was recently occupied. You fought and expelled the Russians. ...

Nice story Bill, but you need to check your facts, Finland was never occupied. I'm a bit sensitive about this as it gets on my national bride, or what ever is left of it. In fact, it is estimated that about a million Russian soldiers died on the border trying to (and a quarter of million Finnish soldiers).  After we ran out of military supplies and other resources during the last massive attack we had to negotiate a peace losing Carelia, the South East side of the country. We were the only country to pay all of it's war indemnity (to Russia) in the WWII. Ask the Swedes and Estonians and some other nationalities, there were many voulunteers from there fighting on the border with the Finns, they will tell you.

You didn't read your story from a Welsh history book Bill, now did you?   ;)
Title: Re: What is Morris?
Post by: risto on December 30, 2007, 01:22:02 PM
To get back on the topic, which CD would you recommend to get a good grasp of Morris? If there is one representing many of the different styles that would be wellcome, the melodeon as the lead instrument of course.
Title: Re: What is Morris?
Post by: C age ing on December 30, 2007, 02:50:52 PM
Risto,
Go to Lester's site and download his Morris tunes, they're Cotswold but none the worst for that.
Old Bill.
Title: Re: What is Morris?
Post by: Ebor_fiddler on December 30, 2007, 03:42:15 PM
Risto:
            The "Morris On" CD is still good news.
Title: Re: What is Morris?
Post by: Ollie on December 30, 2007, 04:28:00 PM
I would recommend both 'The Magic of Morris' and 'The Magic of Morris 2'. Both are double CD's. There are some feild recordings (from actual performances), some morris music (like Morris On) and some morris recorded in a studio. It's a great set, and covers the music of Cotswold and Border, but not very much Nort-West clog, and no Molly.

Still a great set.

Also, for morris with a difference, Fairport Convention member, and morris man, Chris Leslie recorded Dancing Days in 2003. Quite a lot of his Buddhist influence in there, as far and sound goes, so it is quite different. Both of these are available from Talking Elephant, but the website is down at the moment.
Title: Re: What is Morris?
Post by: risto on December 30, 2007, 05:32:39 PM
Quote
I would recommend both 'The Magic of Morris' and 'The Magic of Morris 2'....

Searching those led me to these links:

http://www.concertina.info/shilling/music.html
http://www.themorrisring.org/more/tunes_examples.html
Title: Re: What is Morris?
Post by: GuyWyatt on December 30, 2007, 06:32:49 PM
Now go away and train some more WRC, F! and MotoGP drivers. Now there's a thought, Morris Side Racing.........................................

Some dodgy tv company recently staged a race between a Morris Dancer and a Morris Minor. The morris dancer was Steve Edgington of the World Famous Hammersmith Morris Men. He tells me that various versions were filmed including one where the car driver had to do a Le Mans style start. The one that was screened had the car winning by a narrow margin.
Title: Re: What is Morris?
Post by: Lester on December 30, 2007, 06:38:50 PM
Risto,
Go to Lester's site and download his Morris tunes, they're Cotswold but none the worst for that.
Old Bill.

That will be http://lester.bailey.googlepages.com/ (http://lester.bailey.googlepages.com/) then.

Recommend Magic of Morris if only because I'm on it :-)
Title: Re: What is Morris?
Post by: Old Leaky on December 30, 2007, 08:01:27 PM
Risto,
You come from a small country that was recently occupied. You fought and expelled the Russians. We Welsh work in a slightly more subtle manner.

Er, wasn't Wales "abolished" by Henry VIII, an act that has never been undone to this day. At least Finland has some more recent provenance...
Title: Re: What is Morris?
Post by: Andy Next Tune on December 30, 2007, 09:44:45 PM
To get back on the topic, which CD would you recommend to get a good grasp of Morris? If there is one representing many of the different styles that would be wellcome, the melodeon as the lead instrument of course.

Risto, listen to Plain Capers by John K. Re-issued recently after a gap of 20 or more years. He plays a wide variety of Cotswold Morris tunes from various traditions on his normal repertoire of squeeze boxes (mainly concertina and melodeon).

The Morris On family of albums are also good (I prefer the first few), although the occasional track veers away from being 'danceable'.

However there are a number of other 'english' morris traditions which have not been discussed - North West, molly, border, etc etc and the sword dance traditions....

I believe our colleagues in other parts of the United Kingdom also have traditional dances :)

Happy New Year,

Andy
Title: Re: What is Morris?
Post by: risto on December 30, 2007, 11:04:31 PM
Quote
Er, wasn't Wales "abolished" by Henry VIII, an act that has never been undone to this day. At least Finland has some more recent provenance...

Ok, but if talking about 'recent' the Finns are one of the oldest nations in Europe, they inhabitated the Scandinavia area long before the Swedes came here. (The world's oldest fishing net was found from Karelia dating back ca 10,000 years). Long back in the history the Finns were widely spread in the vast land and did not have organized armies to defend themselves, but the Land of the Finns clearly is not recent by any means. 

What really is interesting is that the origin of all us Homo Sapiens has recently been DNA dated back to Africa ca. 150,000 years ago, apparently to only 12 women. Besides that, the DNA tests show that there is only minor genetic variation between the peoples of Europe, the Finns included.  I know my roots coming from Hugenots escaping from France, also from Germany and Sweden a couple of centuries ago, but in the big picture where you live has very little value because in the end we all are black and Africans.  ;)
Title: Re: What is Morris?
Post by: Theo on December 30, 2007, 11:26:44 PM
but in the big picture where you live has very little value because in the end we all are black and Africans.  ;)

So the Morris dancers who black up are truly going back to their roots.

Title: Re: What is Morris?
Post by: Old Leaky on December 30, 2007, 11:48:02 PM
Quote
Er, wasn't Wales "abolished" by Henry VIII, an act that has never been undone to this day. At least Finland has some more recent provenance...

Ok, but if talking about 'recent' the Finns are one of the oldest nations in Europe, they inhabitated the Scandinavia area long before the Swedes came here.

Er, while Finns might rightly have a sense of (their long) history, like Americans (who have none, relatively speaking) it seems they have no sense of irony.  This was a dig at the Welsh (no biters yet), not Finns. Anyway, when did Finns identify with Scandinavia?
Title: Re: What is Morris?
Post by: C age ing on December 31, 2007, 07:42:27 AM
Risto,
You come from a small country that was recently occupied. You fought and expelled the Russians. We Welsh work in a slightly more subtle manner.

Er, wasn't Wales "abolished" by Henry VIII, an act that has never been undone to this day. At least Finland has some more recent provenance...
Young Mr. Edinburgh,
You have performed a great service for Wales and the United Kingdom.
You have proved that Charlie (Dumbo) Windsor does not exist.
Now back to Morris. Have a Look at Rattlejag Morris, they perform East Midlands dances to such esoteric instrumentation as Lincolnshire Bagpipes playing real East Midland Tunes (mostly).
Title: Re: What is Morris?
Post by: risto on December 31, 2007, 11:04:06 AM
Quote
Recommend Magic of Morris if only because I'm on it :-)

Ok, the next time I order CDs from Amazon I'll promise to take this one.

Quote
So the Morris dancers who black up are truly going back to their roots.

Haha, that was funny, but tell me why they really do that?


**********************

Quote
...it seems they have no sense of irony. This was a dig at the Welsh (no biters yet), not Finns.

They? Are you judging a whole nation by just one person and who isn't even an aboriginal?   ;)
Besides, I quite well understood you were digging at C age ing. 

Quote
Anyway, when did Finns identify with Scandinavia?

Yes, you are right of course, though these days nobody really uses the term 'Fenno-Scandinavia', except the scolars.
Title: Re: What is Morris?
Post by: Ollie on December 31, 2007, 12:18:02 PM
Traditional Morris Styles

Cotswold Morris - http://uk.youtube.com/watch?v=D2_NpHUiIdc

Border Morris - http://uk.youtube.com/watch?v=UQ_MpciWL7c

North West Clog Morris - http://uk.youtube.com/watch?v=iP-zK8OiXFM

East Anglian Molly - http://uk.youtube.com/watch?v=yDkVBaTHHww&feature=related

Rapper - http://uk.youtube.com/watch?v=TlUpzpb_dt4

Longsword - http://uk.youtube.com/watch?v=d1DfyTgFYxE

There are also new dances, that are a bit weird..


Wheatley Beer Tray Dance - http://uk.youtube.com/watch?v=VP3fZp4UM2E

Brittannia Coconut Dancers - http://uk.youtube.com/watch?v=sNbGYRSsV8g&feature=related
Title: Re: What is Morris?
Post by: Lester on December 31, 2007, 12:42:27 PM
There are also new dances, that are a bit weird..[/b][/u]
Brittannia Coconut Dancers - http://uk.youtube.com/watch?v=sNbGYRSsV8g&feature=related

Wouldn't let the nutters hear you saying their dance is new and not based on a long standing tradition (http://www.coconutters.co.uk/history.htm).

Their tunes are wonderful but the dances and dress sense is decidedly odd!
Title: Re: What is Morris?
Post by: Ollie on December 31, 2007, 12:53:30 PM
There are also new dances, that are a bit weird..[/b][/u]
Brittannia Coconut Dancers - http://uk.youtube.com/watch?v=sNbGYRSsV8g&feature=related

Wouldn't let the nutters hear you saying their dance is new and not based on a long standing tradition (http://www.coconutters.co.uk/history.htm).

Their tunes are wonderful but the dances and dress sense is decidedly odd!

OK, fair enough. I didn't know that. Thanks for that

Ollie
Title: Re: What is Morris?
Post by: Steve_freereeder on December 31, 2007, 01:16:58 PM
However there are a number of other 'english' morris traditions which have not been discussed - North West, molly, border, etc etc
Have a look at my reply No.7 near the beginning of this thread!
Title: Re: What is Morris?
Post by: C age ing on December 31, 2007, 03:19:37 PM
Oh come on Steve, you don't actually think that people read and digest the posts before replying? They reply to what they wish you had said, after all this is Melnet which means you should be interested in melodeons. That could earn you a Section 47 any time.
;D
Title: Re: What is Morris?
Post by: Bill Young on December 31, 2007, 04:08:48 PM
I have only one CD of what is maybe Morris music. It has a title something like "English Folk Dance Society - Cotswold Vol 1 - The Music of Cry Havoc". Can any knowledgeable English person confirm whether this is a) Morris; b) representative; c) considered good? I find it quite enjoyable, anyway.

Happy New Year to all!
Title: Re: What is Morris?
Post by: Dazbo on December 31, 2007, 04:50:38 PM
I have only one CD of what is maybe Morris music. It has a title something like "English Folk Dance Society - Cotswold Vol 1 - The Music of Cry Havoc". Can any knowledgeable English person confirm whether this is a) Morris; b) representative; c) considered good? I find it quite enjoyable, anyway.

Happy New Year to all!

Yes it's cotswold morris (doesn't fee of this parish play for them now?).  I've not listened to it in a long time but I think it's fairly representative of cotswold morris and you can even hear the dancing and calling.  A good representation I think.
Title: Re: What is Morris?
Post by: Waltham on December 31, 2007, 05:02:44 PM
In performance the dancers may be accompanied by a number of supernumery figures such as a fool, a betsy, a sword and cake bearer and one or more figures with melodeons strapped to their chests.  These are all purely ceremonial and none of them has any direct effect on the dancing.  It used to be thought that the melodeon bearers indicated when the dance should start with the traditional words "which one is it?" but field observation has failed to bear this out, and there is some evidence to suggest that the dancers are actually trying to dance in time to the cake.  This doesn't mean that the melodeons are silent however, they have an important sonic function, namely drowning out any fiddles or pipe-and-tabors that might otherwise disrupt the proceedings.  The melodeon bearers are traditionally classified as 'beginners' or 'experts' depending on whether their instruments come from Germany or Italy respectively. 

I hope this helps, there's a lot of misinformation about, you know.
Title: Re: What is Morris?
Post by: Steve_freereeder on December 31, 2007, 05:18:39 PM
It used to be thought that the melodeon bearers indicated when the dance should start with the traditional words "which one is it?" but field observation has failed to bear this out .....
Not sure where you are, but here in the Peoples' Republic of South Yorkshire, the traditional words of the musicians (especially melodeon players) are "Wot 'r we dooin' nah?", closely followed by "'Ow's it go? Singitus!" and "Izzitin dee or gee?"
Title: Re: What is Morris?
Post by: Ollie on December 31, 2007, 05:23:57 PM
This may also help  ;)  ::) or not....

The Morris dance is common to all inhabited worlds in the multiverse.

It is danced under blue skies to celebrate the quickening of the soil and under bare stars because it's springtime and with any luck the carbon dioxide will unfreeze again. The imperative is felt by deep-sea beings who have never seen the sun and urban humans whose only connection with the cycles of nature is that their Volvo once ran over a sheep.

It is danced innocently by raggedy-bearded young mathematicians to an inexpert accordion rendering of "Mrs Widgery's Lodger" and ruthlessly by such as the Ninja Morris Men of New Ankh, who can do strange and terrible things with a simple handkerchief and a bell.

And it is never danced properly.

Except on the Discworld, which is flat and supported on the backs of four elephants which travel through space on the shell of Great A'Tuin, the world turtle.

And even there, only in one place have they got it right. It's a small village high in the Ramtop Mountains, where the big and simple secret is handed down across the generations.

There, the men dance on the first day of spring, backwards and forwards, bells tied under their knees, white shirts flapping. People come and watch. There's an ox roast afterwards, and it's generally considered a nice day out for all the family.

But that isn't the secret.

The secret is the other dance.

And that won't happen for a while yet.

 ;)
Title: Re: What is Morris?
Post by: trombonetom on December 31, 2007, 07:14:21 PM
WHITE SHIRTS SHOULD NOT BE FLAPPING! GRRRRR! THEY SHOULD BE TUCKED IN.

"Which one is it?" seems to be a popular question in my morris side, along with "Is it in D or G?", the latter being almost exclusively asked by me.
Title: Re: What is Morris?
Post by: Lester on December 31, 2007, 08:21:04 PM
The melodeon bearers are traditionally classified as 'beginners' or 'experts' depending on whether their instruments come from Germany or Italy respectively..

Mines French where does it leave me?
Title: Re: What is Morris?
Post by: Ollie on December 31, 2007, 09:14:50 PM
WHITE SHIRTS SHOULD NOT BE FLAPPING! GRRRRR! THEY SHOULD BE TUCKED IN.


Um...you do realise that that was a Discworld quote....by Terry Pratchett...
Title: Re: What is Morris?
Post by: Lester on December 31, 2007, 09:18:08 PM
WHITE SHIRTS SHOULD NOT BE FLAPPING! GRRRRR! THEY SHOULD BE TUCKED IN.


Um...you do realise that that was a Discworld quote....by Terry Pratchett...

Maybe he should not shout then   :)
Title: Re: What is Morris?
Post by: Pushpull on December 31, 2007, 10:10:37 PM
WHITE SHIRTS SHOULD NOT BE FLAPPING! GRRRRR! THEY SHOULD BE TUCKED IN.


I would rather watch this lot, shirts flapping, than many "more traditional" sides with shirts tucked in.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=d1xrEfTbSZw&mode=related&search=

Roy.
Title: Re: What is Morris?
Post by: trombonetom on January 01, 2008, 11:27:30 AM
WHITE SHIRTS SHOULD NOT BE FLAPPING! GRRRRR! THEY SHOULD BE TUCKED IN.


Um...you do realise that that was a Discworld quote....by Terry Pratchett...

I do realise that. They're good books, but shirts should definitely be tucked in. Also, sorry about the shouting, I got a bit carried away :(
Title: Re: What is Morris?
Post by: trombonetom on January 01, 2008, 11:30:22 AM
WHITE SHIRTS SHOULD NOT BE FLAPPING! GRRRRR! THEY SHOULD BE TUCKED IN.


I would rather watch this lot, shirts flapping, than many "more traditional" sides with shirts tucked in.


Very good dancing, but I still think that their shirts should be tucked in. Of course, it's just my opinion.
Title: Re: What is Morris?
Post by: TomB-R on January 01, 2008, 11:52:14 AM
Comparing Pecsaetan (Youtube clip above) with other sides seems a bit unfair, after all, they're clearly not bound by normal rules of gravity....
http://www.pecsaetan.co.uk/gallery

(And anyway, surely you'd sooner watch a bunch of hairy old characters who are out of time and have half-forgotten the dance....)
Title: Re: What is Morris?
Post by: Lester on January 01, 2008, 02:40:33 PM
Comparing Pecsaetan (Youtube clip above) with other sides seems a bit unfair, after all, they're clearly not bound by normal rules of gravity....
That will be the rule that if you are 50+, 18 stone + and unfit it is hard to get in the air let alone stay there :-(
Title: Re: What is Morris?
Post by: TomB-R on January 01, 2008, 04:57:51 PM
That will be the rule that if you are 50+, 18 stone + and unfit it is hard to get in the air let alone stay there :-(

So simple when you put it as clearly as that....
Title: Re: What is Morris?
Post by: Pushpull on January 01, 2008, 09:35:12 PM
Comparing Pecsaetan (Youtube clip above) with other sides seems a bit unfair, after all, they're clearly not bound by normal rules of gravity....

Hmm. I think there's a lot more to Pecsaeten than how high they caper. Those of us on the wrong side (?) of 50 could possibly learn a thing or two from them about "ensemble".

Roy.
Title: Re: What is Morris?
Post by: TomB-R on January 01, 2008, 11:05:35 PM
Hmm. I think there's a lot more to Pecsaeten than how high they caper. Those of us on the wrong side (?) of 50 could possibly learn a thing or two from them about "ensemble".

Roy.

Aye, sure enough.
Title: Re: What is Morris?
Post by: BruceHenderson on January 03, 2008, 04:03:17 PM
Please explain to me (in simple words) what is Morris (dancing).  (snip) 

   No, no, Risto.  You don't want to know anything about Morris!  It's all about beerguts (and beerbutts), scraggly balding grey hair pulled back into ponytails, way too much beer at any one given time, greying beards and the sort of people who smoke little bent meerschaum pipes and talk too loudly because you're obviously not as smart as they are.  You don't want to have anything to with them.  And the men are worse.  ;)
Title: Re: What is Morris?
Post by: Theo on January 03, 2008, 04:21:46 PM
the sort of people who smoke little bent meerschaum pipes and talk too loudly because you're obviously not as smart as they are.

Bruce you forgot about the pewter tankards clipped onto the belt!

I don't play for, or dance Morris and for years I thought it was a load of twaddle (for the reasons Bruce gives) until I saw same really great, young, athletic dancers doing stuff in the Cotswold tradition.  That was a complete revelation.  Leaps so high the dancers seem to hang in the air, and the musicians have to pause while they wait for the feet to get back to earth.  Magic :D
Title: Re: What is Morris?
Post by: Ollie on January 03, 2008, 04:25:45 PM
Could someone please explain to me the Bampton hand movements. I need to know my Monday. You see, they taught me the footwork, but not the hands!

Cheers

Ollie
Title: Re: What is Morris?
Post by: Lester on January 03, 2008, 05:39:30 PM
Could someone please explain to me the Bampton hand movements. I need to know my Monday. You see, they taught me the footwork, but not the hands!

Cheers

Ollie
Even bigger can of worms there Ollie, the answer will depend on:


And don't start me on whether Bampton is single step or morris step and which is the correct leg to start on !!!   :P
Title: Re: What is Morris?
Post by: Ollie on January 03, 2008, 06:06:22 PM
Could someone please explain to me the Bampton hand movements. I need to know my Monday. You see, they taught me the footwork, but not the hands!

Cheers

Ollie
Even bigger can of worms there Ollie, the answer will depend on:

  • What year the specific Bampton your side dances was collected
  • Which of the village sides it was collecetd from
  • What the side have changed since then

And don't start me on whether Bampton is single step or morris step and which is the correct leg to start on !!!   :P

It was for the single step. I was semi-taught it and there is an instuction on CMM's website, but it doesn't make much sense to me. It says -

Quote
The forearms are held in front of the chest. The handkerchiefs flick upwards and
slightly forward, mostly from the wrist, on the last beat of a phrase of music and on the last
beat of bar 2, then fall gently on the first beat of bars 1 and 3.

It's the when they go up and down bit I don't get.

Ollie
Title: Re: What is Morris?
Post by: trombonetom on January 03, 2008, 09:16:19 PM
Hey guys.

I don't really do Bampton but I have had a jig taught to me before (which I can't remember how it goes). Hwever i can remember that it was single step.

Also, I think the hands ngo up on the anacrusis and down on the DOWNbeat once every 2 single steps.
Title: Re: What is Morris?
Post by: Ollie on January 03, 2008, 11:16:49 PM
Thanks to trombonetom and a very helpful youtube video, my problem is now solved.

Ollie
Title: Re: What is Morris?
Post by: Pushpull on January 03, 2008, 11:30:04 PM
Thanks to trombonetom and a very helpful youtube video, my problem is now solved.

Ollie

Don't know if you're still after help but the way I was taught was arms go up on 2 and a half and 8 and a half (counting 8 for the A music).

Roy.
Title: Re: What is Morris?
Post by: Pushpull on January 03, 2008, 11:32:22 PM
the sort of people who smoke little bent meerschaum pipes and talk too loudly because you're obviously not as smart as they are.

Bruce you forgot about the pewter tankards clipped onto the belt!

I don't play for, or dance Morris and for years I thought it was a load of twaddle (for the reasons Bruce gives) until I saw same really great, young, athletic dancers doing stuff in the Cotswold tradition.  That was a complete revelation.  Leaps so high the dancers seem to hang in the air, and the musicians have to pause while they wait for the feet to get back to earth.  Magic :D

We need to find some way of getting young lads interested. Newcastle Uni / Folkworks perhaps Theo?

Roy.
Title: Re: What is Morris?
Post by: risto on January 04, 2008, 01:04:41 AM
Quote
No, no, Risto.  You don't want to know anything about Morris!   ....  ;)

Even if I wanted I have now realized that it must be a codename.  :)

(EDIT: What I mean is that it is difficult for someone from the outside to understand what the Morris is all about.)

I could try some of the tunes the other day, but I will certainly not wear any of the dressed, no Sir. :) :)
Title: Re: What is Morris?
Post by: BruceHenderson on January 04, 2008, 02:09:29 AM
I could try some of the tunes the other day, but I will certainly not wear any of the dressed, no Sir. :) :)

   If you want to see what the well-dressed Morris musician is wearing these days, see my photo/avatar.  I'm playing for my women's Northwest side in the middle of US "Mid-Atlantic" heat in June!
Title: Re: What is Morris?
Post by: risto on January 04, 2008, 08:21:54 AM
Quote
If you want to see what the well-dressed Morris musician is wearing these days, see my photo/avatar.  I'm playing for my women's Northwest side in the middle of US "Mid-Atlantic" heat in June!

And if you want to see what the Helsinki Morrisers are wearing in the middle of Arctic cold, take a look at the Ice Dance video on this page: http://helsinki-morrisers.tripod.com/
Title: Re: What is Morris?
Post by: trombonetom on January 04, 2008, 09:48:58 AM

We need to find some way of getting young lads interested. Newcastle Uni / Folkworks perhaps Theo?


Excuse me. I morris and I'm 14


Also, Whites are the way forward!!
Title: Re: What is Morris?
Post by: Pushpull on January 04, 2008, 10:33:24 AM

We need to find some way of getting young lads interested. Newcastle Uni / Folkworks perhaps Theo?


Excuse me. I morris and I'm 14


Also, Whites are the way forward!!

Tom, maybe I should have said "MORE young lads". I'm extremely impressed how Earl of Stamford have attracted and kept many young lads and lasses. They should let the rest of us in on the secret. But sadly, you are in a minority.

Not sure about whites. I think I prefer black trousers (though I have to wear white breeches), they are less likely to get messy.

Roy.
Title: Re: What is Morris?
Post by: trombonetom on January 04, 2008, 12:00:37 PM
Tom, maybe I should have said "MORE young lads". I'm extremely impressed how Earl of Stamford have attracted and kept many young lads and lasses. They should let the rest of us in on the secret. But sadly, you are in a minority.

The secret is to get them when they're young. I started when I was six.
By the way, i am the only "young lad". The rest are girls. Although we do have a full set of six young people :):):)

Not sure about whites. I think I prefer black trousers (though I have to wear white breeches), they are less likely to get messy.

WHAT!! Whites are so cool although they do get very muddy, especially on festival campsites. The trick it to roll them up whenever you aren't dancing.
Title: Re: What is Morris?
Post by: Ollie on January 04, 2008, 12:12:12 PM

We need to find some way of getting young lads interested. Newcastle Uni / Folkworks perhaps Theo?


Excuse me. I morris and I'm 14


Ditto
Title: Re: What is Morris?
Post by: trombonetom on January 04, 2008, 12:32:55 PM

We need to find some way of getting young lads interested. Newcastle Uni / Folkworks perhaps Theo?


Excuse me. I morris and I'm 14


Ditto


YEAH!!
14-year-old Morris dancers ROCK!
Title: Re: What is Morris?
Post by: Lester on January 04, 2008, 01:13:17 PM
Don't you all realise that Proper Morris can only be done by fat, old, knackered, blokes, we don't want any of you young people showing us up with accuracy and athleticism etc.

Now go play with you computers and mobile phones and other stuff which confuses the elderly.  :)
Title: Re: What is Morris?
Post by: C age ing on January 04, 2008, 01:17:31 PM
Quote
If you want to see what the well-dressed Morris musician is wearing these days, see my photo/avatar.  I'm playing for my women's Northwest side in the middle of US "Mid-Atlantic" heat in June!

And if you want to see what the Helsinki Morrisers are wearing in the middle of Arctic cold, take a look at the Ice Dance video on this page: http://helsinki-morrisers.tripod.com/

Risto,
You little tease you. All the time you had a Helsinki side up your sleeve.
Believe I recognised the stepping on the 'Ice Dance' video, Marcus, Sweet Lamb stage, Rally GB, 2004 but the hand movements were different.
You are probably aware that some guy danced a jig from London to Norwich or the other way round. Is there an official Suomi Morris Langlauf record? ???
Title: Re: What is Morris?
Post by: Matthew B on January 04, 2008, 03:53:30 PM
I don't play for, or dance Morris and for years I thought it was a load of twaddle (for the reasons Bruce gives) until I saw same really great, young, athletic dancers doing stuff in the Cotswold tradition.  That was a complete revelation.  Leaps so high the dancers seem to hang in the air, and the musicians have to pause while they wait for the feet to get back to earth.  Magic :D
I'm not a Morris dancer either, but I love the tunes.  Particularly (strangely enough) the Bampton tunes.  And I'm a big fan of the dancing.  Judging by what's been added to this thread recently, its attracting some great new talent.  But without the "fat knackered old blokes" who kept it going for all those years the dances and tunes would all have been lost long ago, and there'd be no one left to teach the magic.  I raise my pewter mug in a toast to their continued health, such as it is. 

One of the aforementioned Old Blokes, shares some of his thoughts on this in an interview on the current (Dec 30, 2007) broadcast of Genevieve Tudor's radio show, to be found here http://tinyurl.com/23v6ur (http://tinyurl.com/23v6ur) for a few more days. 

As for whether or not Morris is a "real" tradition: Who gives a flying caper?  All the dancers I've ever seen seem to be having a really great time, which is surely the point.  And one of the finalists on the BBC Young Folk Musician contest this year was a London-based British-Turkish-Cypriot fiddler and morris dancer (and, I believe, aspiring melodionist).  Welcome to the 21st century! 
Title: Re: What is Morris?
Post by: BruceHenderson on January 04, 2008, 04:51:12 PM
Don't you all realise that Proper Morris can only be done by fat, old, knackered, blokes, we don't want any of you young people showing us up with accuracy and athleticism etc.

Now go play with you computers and mobile phones and other stuff which confuses the elderly.  :)

   Excuse me!  I morris and I'm 59!  (Guilty as charged, M'Lud, on the fat, old, knackered bit ...)
Title: Re: What is Morris?
Post by: GPS on January 04, 2008, 05:32:40 PM
One of the aforementioned Old Blokes, shares some of his thoughts on this in an interview on the current (Dec 30, 2007) broadcast of Genevieve Tudor's radio show, to be found here http://tinyurl.com/23v6ur (http://tinyurl.com/23v6ur) for a few more days. 

Not quite sure where on this BBC page to find the specific interview, Matthew - and I haven't got time to listen to everything there to find it.  But I have a horrible suspicion that the "Old Bloke" may well turn out to be younger than I am..... ;D
Title: Re: What is Morris?
Post by: risto on January 05, 2008, 02:17:59 AM
Quote
Risto,
... All the time you had a Helsinki side up your sleeve.

Actually someone from here kindly told me this, I never knew. They can all be from England as well.

Quote
Believe I recognised the stepping on the 'Ice Dance' video, Marcus, Sweet Lamb stage, Rally GB, 2004 but the hand movements were different.

Hehe, OK. Btw, Monte Carlo is now only three weeks away, I'm waiting a positive surprise from Latvala ...
Title: Re: What is Morris?
Post by: Mikefule on January 06, 2008, 09:10:06 AM
It's not a widely accepted explanation, but I like it: "Mores" (pronounced moorase) is a Latin word meaning (more or less) "a custom".  In mediaeval times, Latin was still used by the few people who could write: mainly churchmen.  Old customs such as dancing, plays etc. may have been called "Mores" and this could easily have evolved, via "Morrys" etc. to Morris.  Lots of Latin words have crept into general use (etcetera, vice versa, via) and some have been misheard and are now used in mainstream English in a distorted form.

Unless I missed it earlier in the thread, no one has mentioned the surviving traditions of Derbyshire, from the villages of Hayfield and Winster.  There are also isolated survivals like the Britannia Coco-Nut Dancers from Bacup.

In all cases, Morris dancing is a traditional dance form from England, and from the border area between England and Wales.  Teams (sides) were amde up of men from a particular village, and each village that had a side had its own distinctive style, and its own repertoire, ranging from one or two dances to 20 or more.

Morris dancing all but died out in the late 19th Century, and was then artificially revived.  It is now primarily danced as a hobby, by teams founded in the 20th century.  All or most of the "accepted wisdom" about it being a fertility ritual (etc. etc. blah blah) is sentimental nonsense, but those of us who do the dancing still value it highly for what it is - whatever it actually is!
Title: Re: What is Morris?
Post by: Lester on January 06, 2008, 09:53:31 AM
But those of us who do the dancing still value it highly for what it is - whatever it actually is!

I wish I had said that, in fact I probably will.
Title: Re: What is Morris?
Post by: Matthew B on January 08, 2008, 05:58:09 PM
Not quite sure where on this BBC page to find the specific interview, Matthew - and I haven't got time to listen to everything there to find it.  But I have a horrible suspicion that the "Old Bloke" may well turn out to be younger than I am..... ;D

Sorry for the slow reply D.  The interview is now gone.  It was buried in the middle of the 2 hour show (accessed by clicking "listen again").  Anyway, its substance was a guy called (I think) John Bedlam, who danced for a side called something like "The Shropshire Kirkpatricks", rattling on about where the drinks tent was, and what a remarkable number of men had started to show an interest in Morris dancing after the side had successfully recruited some young women dancers.  He seemed like a nice enough chap, but I'm not sure if anything he said would be of particular interest to a bunch of melodeon players. 
Title: Re: What is Morris?
Post by: GPS on January 08, 2008, 10:19:18 PM
Right...then he is younger than me!