Wednesday, October 10, 2007

English Rebel Songs

A few nights ago, I found myself sitting around a wheelbarrow full of burning twigs and cardboard with a few friends, including Miriam, who lives in the same house as Dom (the singer/guitarist who I met in the most remarkable circumstance) in Tyler Hill - another drama person. She sings, jazz standards mostly. She and Dom were in "Eric and the Acoustic Alliance" which had a residency at the Orange Street Music Club in Canterbury for a while, but then crumbled.

I had my saz and asked if she knew any folksongs. It turns out that some of the Kent University drama people put together a play about the Luddites (Ludd, I think) a little while back - Dom's not only been Puck, he's been Ned Ludd, too. The director chose to involve a lot of the songs from Chumbawamba's English Rebel Songs 1381-1984. She knew it as a CD, whereas I remember it as a 10" vinyl album with a rough card sleeve - quite an amazing cultural artefact altogether, and very much part of the scene I knew around Canterbury in the years following it's (1988) release - Poll Tax riots and all that... So she sang, and I played, "The Cutty Wren" (1381) and "The Bad Squire" (mid 1800's). A bit rough, as I hadn't heard them for years, but we got into it - excellent stuff.


Blogger babycondor said...

Hello Matthew,

Did you happen to be with a group of nomadic musicians in Palenque around 1997 who played by the pool at the Chan Ka hotel at an ethnobotany conference with Terence McKenna and others?

If so, I remember well the music, the night and the stars, and thank you.


6:26 PM  
Blogger Matthew Watkins said...

Hi Cathie,

That was indeed me (with friends Inge and Sven) playing by the pool that night in Palenque - I remember it well! Was it you who came over to chat?

Quite a bit of our music is now online for free download -


11:24 AM  

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