Sunday morning music

How about something new this morning?  Most Americans will probably never have heard of traditional English morris dancing.  It involves men and women dancing in traditional costume, with bells around their ankles, waving handkerchiefs and/or sticks.  It goes way back into pre-medieval times.  (Traditionally, only men danced morris;  women performed other folk dances.  Nowadays, both men and women are found in morris troupes.)

Here are three examples.  First, the classic dance ‘Princess Royal‘, performed by the Abingdon Traditional Morris Dancers.

Next, a modern rendition of the ancient Beltane Fire Dance, performed by the Beltane Border Morris Dancers.

And finally, the group behind the ‘Morris On‘ series of albums from the 1970’s and 1980’s, performing live at the annual Cropredy music festival, organized by Fairport Convention.  This recording dates from 2004.

Fun stuff, particularly if you’re into traditional dancing.

Now, if we can just persuade Lawdog and Old NFO to put bells around their ankles, and caper around the garden (in Texas, in 100°+ high summer heat) with handkerchiefs in one hand and sticks in the other . . . and if we can arrange to record it for posterity (and this blog, of course) . . .



  1. Isn't one of the key components of the Morris the copious use of a performance altering substance made from hops and malted barley? Perhaps that would help the process along. You'd have to break tradition to the extent of providing cold beer, though.

  2. I saw the Beltane dancers at a festival earlier this year, and they were really intense. Lots of Morris dancing is viewed in the UK as a bit genteel, but this lot really kicked ass.
    Rob in UK.

  3. (Lawdog + Ole NFO) + > (Performance enhancing liquids) + Morris dancing costumes =
    something worthy of recording for future blackmail.

  4. LOL, I would fork over a few coins to see the video of Lawdog & Old NFO dancing with bells and hankies….

  5. For a more upbeat one, try this :

    Beltane Border Morris again. I can see Nanny Ogg and Granny Weatherwax having a really good knees up to that one! >};o)

    However, Gentlemen, I must warn you that if you DO join a Morris Dancing Troupe or express an interest in it in the UK (and I would expect, anywhere else, for that matter) you will have fund the Kryptonite that repels women.

    You have been warned!

    Phil B

  6. Funny that you mention this now. I literally spent Sunday morning watching a few friends dance as part of a regional festival (called an "Ale") that takes place in my town every summer. Definitely a unique experience…

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