37054Re: Help me, dancers! Abbots Bromley Horn Dance
- Aug 27, 2003At 12:48 PM +0000 8/26/03, Joan Hall wrote:
>Does anyone know of any place, any video, any tv show, anything whereYup, it's September 8th this year.
>I could see the Abbots Bromley Horn Dance done? I've started working
>on the music as a harp instrumental and I've just fallen in love with
>it! The San Francisco Revels always does it, but the year I sang
>with them (which is the only time I've "seen" the show) I never got
>to see it. I was backstage during the Horn Dance trying desperately
>to _quietly_ drag my 240-lb. self up a flight of metal stairs to a
>hideous rickety catwalk above the stage for the following number.
>According to the notes in my music, it's almost time for the Abbots
>Bromley Horn Dance: "the Monday following the first Sunday of
>September that falls after the 4th of the month."
It's done fairly regularly at the (relatively new) Renaissance Faire
in Marin, which unfortunately is over for this year but will be back
next year: http://www.forestfaire.com The dancers who do it are from
Newcastle Country Dancers and Pipe & Bowl Morris (same people,
I don't know whether they are still doing the "big" Renaissance
Pleasure Faire or not (it's now in Gilroy and I believe is due to
start shortly). They were not made very welcome the last time I saw
it there (disclaimer: I no longer work at RPFN myself).
I've seen still pictures on websites, but not a video. Take a look at
http://www.abbotsbromley.com/horndance.htm for the best information.
Entering "Abbots Bromley horn dance" in Google (not in quotes) also
turns up a number of other sites with pictures.
A fact surprising to many Americans is that the eerie little tune
that's almost universally used for this dance in the U.S.(at
http://www.ramblemuse.com/abbots_bromley.html if anyone wants to hear
the melody) is _not_ used for it by the traditional dancers in
Abbots Bromley itself. They tend to do the dance to any favorite
traditional reel tune, such as "The Keel Row" or even "Pop Goes the
The tune used in the U.S., however, is not completely without links
to the dance. I can't find my copy of the source of my information,
an informative little booklet "Links in a Thousand-year-old Chain",
available from the Revels website (at
http://revels.bizland.com/store/page10.html ) but IIRC the tune was
collected in England by one of the folk-tune collectors of the late
19th or early 20th century (possibly Cecil Sharp) from an elderly man
who said it was the tune to "the horn dance." Whether he meant the
one at Abbots Bromley or some other, and whether he was correct in
this attribution, is now anyone's guess.
O Chris Laning
+ Davis, California
- << Previous post in topic Next post in topic >>