"FROM OLD ENGLAND TO NEW ENGLAND"
HELD AT THE WEYMOUTH PAVILION THEATRE
Monday 13th June
I have now created a YouTube site with video updates where you can see and hear more about this project as it develops. The Story and Background can be viewed by clicking the link below
and to hear some extracts from the original songs I've written for the Show, just click on the picture below
How this project came about
The story of those intrepid early Pioneers who left Old England bound for the New World in the sixteen hundreds has fascinated me for quite some time. In the Summer of 2020 while spending far too much time browsing the internet - due to the enforced lockdowns that had put a stop to live music - I discovered that the year 2022 would actually be the 400th Anniversary of the founding of the Town of Weymouth in Massachusetts. This seemed to be the perfect time to investigate this further, and so the "From Old England to New England" project was born. To date I have been delving into some of the principle characters who sailed with the Rev Joseph Hull from Weymouth England aboard the Ship Mary Goulde ( Mary Gold in modern usage) and trying to understand and put into words the motivations and expectations that led them to "up sticks" and throw themselves and their families into a full headlong adventure into the great unknown. I've also researched some of the market towns and villages from where these Pioneers came, many in Dorset but also from the county of Somerset a little further to the North.
Sam Lee, The Mercury Prize nominated English folk singer and conservationist who is part of the Nest Collective, made these comments in the BBC programme Open Country ‘Songs of England’ - made in association with the National Trust - about bringing the past to life through contemporary Folk Music interpretation.
“Telling the stories of the people who are woven into these historical landscapes, and not just Kings and Queens, but Weavers, Soldiers, Farmers and even Criminals. These are the stories we find in the oral tradition but are also still affecting and happening to us today.”
My challenge with the “From Old England to New England” project has been not just to tell the historical journey that those early pioneers went through, but to bring it to life through the voices and emotions of those brave Men and Women of the time. I see my role as being an interpreter, a committed contemporary English folk musician, giving those historical actors a real presence, not just dry words on a page in a history book or from a lineage drawn in an Ancestor Tracing website. History comes alive when we seek to explain and understand what drove those characters to live out those dramatic events in their lives. What were the conditions that they lived under? What were their hopes, their fears, and their passions? I believe The Human Story of endeavour, betterment and the striving to improve the lives of our children is Timeless.
I hope you will enjoy coming on that journey with me.