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Author Topic: Question for Morris Women  (Read 982 times)

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Matthew B

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Question for Morris Women
« on: August 13, 2017, 05:59:19 PM »

My sixteen year old daughter has become involved with a summer camp here in Maine that is dedicated to fostering peace by bringing together kids from diverse backgrounds, warring countries, and different environments. 

One fundamental part of the work involves sharing music and dance.  My daughter is a fairly handy fiddler who has a pretty good repertoire of Morris tunes, mostly from the Cotswolds.  She'd like to put together a Morris outfit as part of her contribution.  I'm really at a bit of a loss here, as I don't know what's what, where to buy things, what can be made, who to talk to, or what's OK to "borrow" from the tradition.  We could really use a few pointers.

We'll be traveling in the UK in the next couple of weeks and any suggestions would be most welcome.
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John MacKenzie (Cugiok)

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Re: Question for Morris Women
« Reply #1 on: August 13, 2017, 06:05:26 PM »

Don't know how soon you will be in the UK, or where you will be located when you arrive, but all I can suggest is that yo find a handy Folk Festival. Whitby for instance starts next Saturday, and runs for a week, and there are Morris dancing displays, every day.

Sir John
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malcolmbebb

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Re: Question for Morris Women
« Reply #2 on: August 13, 2017, 06:25:37 PM »

If she's on Facebook she might like to search for a group called "Celebrating Cotswold Morris" and ask there. As here, there will be no shortage of advice.
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Thrupenny Bit

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Re: Question for Morris Women
« Reply #3 on: August 13, 2017, 07:16:52 PM »

With some sides, such as ours, the musician's kit reflect the kit of the dancers in our morris side.
Some simply use white trousers and white coat or waistcoat to designate they are not dancers......
As said, google morris sides or view morris on youtube. There is no official uniform!
cheers
Q
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Thrupenny Bit

I think I'm starting to get most of the notes in roughly the right order...... sometimes!

Tone Dumb Greg

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Re: Question for Morris Women
« Reply #4 on: August 13, 2017, 09:44:15 PM »

If she's on Facebook she might like to search for a group called "Celebrating Cotswold Morris" and ask there. As here, there will be no shortage of advice.

What Malcolm say and TB. Be aware there is no right. I have never seen two sides the same.
Sorry your answers don't seem to be coming from morris women, yet.
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malcolmbebb

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Re: Question for Morris Women
« Reply #5 on: August 13, 2017, 10:01:42 PM »

As a fallback, white long sleeved top, white trousers, black waistcoat, black belt and black or white shoes would fit in. Black trousers OK. The waistcoat could have some embroidery or a few badges.
Easy to find and worn by at least one female musician that I know (box player not fiddler though!).

PS one hesitates to point this out but white trousers, except maybe jeans, require white underwear. Goes for men too.  :-[
« Last Edit: August 13, 2017, 10:03:27 PM by malcolmbebb »
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Matthew B

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Re: Question for Morris Women
« Reply #6 on: August 14, 2017, 02:56:20 AM »

Thanks for the prompt responses gents. 

Its all in the finest spirit of melnet.

And its all taken on board.

Looking forwards to further input.
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Nick Collis Bird

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Re: Question for Morris Women
« Reply #7 on: August 14, 2017, 08:28:46 AM »

This is a great question Matthew,
 Because musicians are so valuable you can wear almost what you like. Cotswold is normally white.
Great Western Morris (which incidentally I'm an honary member" musicians wore plain painters jackets and if wearing a hat a blue ribbon.
My own team Bourne River Morris, again White with bowler hats never objected to the sometimes non- conformist stuff that I wore.
   See the thread "our very own Nick CB
Hope this helps.
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Thrupenny Bit

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Re: Question for Morris Women
« Reply #8 on: August 14, 2017, 10:09:40 AM »

Yes we are honoured by your presence Nick!
We over the years have changed from the early days you speak of.  I think the old white jacket and trousers were possibly influenced by old players such as Jinky Wells of Bampton.
It is now reflecting the dancers kit so white shirt, black cords and arm ribbons.
The rosette, sash and neckerchief may be worn.... Somewhere but not necessarily where you'd expect!.
I.e. Our box players choose to wear the sash as a comer bund, pinned to the hip with the rosette therefore not getting in the way of playing the box. My flute playing daughter ties her hair back with the rosette.
It's all there, just a bit rearranged!
.....as said no rules apply!
Q
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Thrupenny Bit

I think I'm starting to get most of the notes in roughly the right order...... sometimes!

Rob2Hook

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Re: Question for Morris Women
« Reply #9 on: August 14, 2017, 10:30:49 AM »

A little off topic, but being a box player I try to select my kit to suit playing the instrument. Quite a few of the musos I've played with like to wear tails or morning coat, but I find the arms a little tight and restrictive, so I prefer a waistcoat.  Happily one of our members works for a (soon to be defunct) railway company and found an old red waistcoat from an older livery which is perfect for our team's colours.  So far, the buttons don't seem to have worn the bellows noticeably, in fact the opposite - the buttons get ripped off! I was thinking of removing all the buttons and replacing them with pop fasteners, but can anyone have any ideas for another type of fastener?

In my lifetime, Cotswold musicians have gone from all white with a blazer style jacket, through a waistcoat replacing the jacket to more currently commonly all white in shirtsleeves with baldrics/sashes and badges.  Some have armbands in the teams colours to replace the baldrics, etc. so as to not snag on the instruments.  Strangely, very few of the ladies wear a skirt.  Indeed, in our North West side, the ladies in the band seem to prefer wearing trousers and have largely adopted the gents' bowler hats as well.

Rob.
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richard.fleming

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Re: Question for Morris Women
« Reply #10 on: August 14, 2017, 10:57:44 AM »

What about the outfits that one sees that seem more suited to belly dancing? I rather like that - a distinct improvement, so long as the blokes don't start doing it.
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Re: Question for Morris Women
« Reply #11 on: August 14, 2017, 04:54:42 PM »

My partner (female) and I dance in three mixed-sex Morris sides and we’ve seen many other sides in action. There are indeed few/no rules. It would be hard for you to disrespect the dress tradition more than Bunnies From Hell already do!
As Thrupenny Bit said, the musician’s kit often reflects that of the dancers – especially as some musicians are also dancers. Most Cotswold sides feature at least a white shirt/blouse but Chip Off The Old (for example) has every dancer in a different colour blouse, with decorated white skirts to tone in.
White trousers are common (black or white shoes), but so are black knee breeches (cut down from trousers/jeans) with coloured stockings (football socks or any other socks long enough) and black shoes. Belt black or to match socks. These would be the best options to look like a generalised Cotswold Morris dancer/musician.
If possible, attach bells and/or ribbons in some form or other. Just look on YouTube for dozens of examples and copy what you fancy. Hats are an optional extra, but if worn are decorated in some distinctive fashion. Tatter jackets are worn only by Border sides.
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GPS

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Re: Question for Morris Women
« Reply #12 on: August 14, 2017, 06:52:21 PM »

Just a quick observation - I think 10 years or so back all white would have covered the majority of Cotswold sides, but in recent years trends seemed to have changed; my side wears green trousers (and I know of at least one other [UK] side who do likewise). On a recent visit to the UK we dressed our guest musician in a white shirt and black trousers; we fitted him up with a waistcoat and arm ribbons in the side colours of green and gold, and with green and gold ribbons on his straw hat he looked every bit a regular part of the side.  Personally I don't think you can go wrong with black and white; you can always trim up with details in the side's colours.

Graham
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Lester

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Re: Question for Morris Women
« Reply #13 on: August 14, 2017, 06:56:13 PM »

This is one of the Cotswold sides which I play for now and again

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Helena

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Re: Question for Morris Women
« Reply #14 on: August 14, 2017, 08:56:34 PM »

I'm a member of *ahem* a handful of morris teams and unlike most of the previous respondents actually fit  the description of morris woman  ;)

As dancer and musician I can say that some sides insist that musicians wear exactly the same kit as the dancers while others have much more open rules for musos. Within the broad spectrum of available morris kits you really can take your pick on this one.  From a practical perspective one outfit you really can't go wrong with is black trousers, white shirt, black waistcoat and red neckerchief - or what I call the unofficial uniform of the tarting morris musician, although I accept that this is not the most interesting attire for the purposes of this project. 
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Thrupenny Bit

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Re: Question for Morris Women
« Reply #15 on: August 14, 2017, 09:24:13 PM »

.... Black trousers or breeches are really practical. The main reason we adopted black breeches when starting in ~ 1969 was that then everyone went for the standard Cotswold white trousers and shirts, but after sitting on the grass the trousers inevitably gas a green bum.!
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Thrupenny Bit

I think I'm starting to get most of the notes in roughly the right order...... sometimes!

Helena

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Re: Question for Morris Women
« Reply #16 on: August 14, 2017, 09:36:06 PM »

.... Black trousers or breeches are really practical. The main reason we adopted black breeches when starting in ~ 1969 was that then everyone went for the standard Cotswold white trousers and shirts, but after sitting on the grass the trousers inevitably gas a green bum.!
Q

*Off topic alert* Your kit matches Sharp's description of the original Longborough kit so closely it's almost impossible that the two are not connected - but I have it on reasonably good authority that they are not. 
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Thrupenny Bit

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Re: Question for Morris Women
« Reply #17 on: August 14, 2017, 09:40:38 PM »

I never knew that!
I did hear once it was the Duke of Marlborough's coach men's style, but it might have been dreamt.
Thank you I will pass it back.
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Thrupenny Bit

I think I'm starting to get most of the notes in roughly the right order...... sometimes!

MartinW

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Re: Question for Morris Women
« Reply #18 on: August 15, 2017, 12:34:34 AM »

Sheffield City have worn Kelly Green trousers for many years now, after deciding that cord breeches were too much hassle. Sometimes we get mistaken for bin men or employees of the Homebase DIY chain, but the trousers are cheap, washable, not too warm in summer, and make it easy to spot team members at a distance. We also believe they are the epitome of style and elegance,though not everyone agrees.
Martin
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Re: Question for Morris Women
« Reply #19 on: August 15, 2017, 01:31:41 AM »

This is one of the Cotswold sides which I play for now and again



Your original image on the linked site has a somewhat OTT resolution there Lester! 4,239px × 1,962px makes it difficult to view in its entirety on my typical screen ;)
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