One of the subjects that we touched on at the Gorsedd was community singing. We were listening to a song by Show of Hands when one of our Scottish members remarked that no one was joining in the chorus. The implication was that if it had been a room full of Scots they would have been raising the roof! Of course there is the traditional English reserve to get over, but it was suggested the ‘Celtic’ nations had more of a history of song, perhaps because of events such as the Famine or the Clearances. All the English songs (if there had been any) seem to have been lost. Or it was suggested, buried, because in this multicultural age it was frowned upon to display too much Englishness.
With the new entertainment licence, which doesn’t allow singing in pubs and bars – but does allow large TV screens for football – the chance for more people to hear and learn songs is falling. Do they still sing in schools? But of course the real problem is that the English songs have been replaced by the modern music genre – which is not necessarily a bad thing – while the old songs have been relegated to the dusty back rooms of Folk Clubs. There have been plenty of protest songs over the centuries as my music buff work colleague, Bogart pointed out, and he has directed me to this album as an example!
The conversation moved on as to why with all the talented bards in the Order we haven’t got an official song … we weren’t sure we actually wanted one mind – ”OBOD we love you ….. OBOD we do…..” hmm. Especially as we do have lots of ‘unofficial’ songs that we love to sing along to at Eisteddfods. Damh the Bard can always get the room dancing and singing!