Wednesday, April 29, 2009

May Day 2009

May Day is the first day of summer in the Celtic calendar, hence the words in Hal-An-Tow, a traditional May Day song from Helston in Cornwall, "For summer is a comin' in, and winter's gone away-o."

You can hear the song in several videos:

May Day Celebration in the streets of Helston, Cornwall, 2007
You have to watch a bit to get to the song.

May Day Celebration, Cambridge, MA, 2005
This is where we spend our May Day mornings. A project for a video class, this video starts with Hal-An-Tow and mixes footage from three locations. The morning starts at dawn on the banks of the Charles, processes to a yard in Harvard, and ends at Holyoke Center in Harvard Square. There's singing, group dancing, and Maypole dancing to take part in and teams of Morris dancers to watch. The second song is the the May Morning Hymn which we sing in the yard at Harvard as the sun comes over the buildings. According to custom, it is sung by the choir at Magadalen College, Oxford at the top of the bell tower on the first of May at 6 AM.

The Waterstons
A slower version sung by the Waterstons in a pub in black and white video filmed in 1965.

The circular image is taken from And Just Revere, one of the Emily Dickinson Series. I will be showing the complete series next year in May at the Newton Free Library in Newton, MA.

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