Saturday, 2 May 2015

Cornish Bank Holiday Soundtracks

It's the first May bank holiday weekend and this signals the start of 'silly season' in Cornwall, when the city dwellers charge down in their shiny 4x4's panicking at the mere sight of a Cornish hedge and moaning about the lack of interweb signal just at the moment they were going to 'strike their next deal' whilst eating a plastic wrapped  'rustic' pasty from Ginsters that they bought from the 'genuine' Cornish pasty van at Exeter services.  Nuff said.

We drove in the opposite direction laughing at them.  Our laughing faltered slightly at Saltash when we hit roadworks and traffic jams before we had even crossed the border. Luckily our local knowledge (many years ago Scooby worked in Saltash), had us diving behind the back streets and out over the Tamar Bridge before you could even say 'dreckly'. It did however bring to mind a recent Cornish musical discovery to us; Bagas degol.

Bagas degol are a modern Cornish folk music trio who use a bagpipe and dub powered fusion to blend traditional tunes and modern rhythms.  We like a bit of dub so this unusual Cornish take on the genre really caught our attention.  As we drove through Saltash, one particular track sprung to mind as, by their own admission, it is a 'wry nod to the joys of summer traffic congestion'.

Whilst their music seems to have an embedded Cornish individuality to it, each track has a different mood and flavour. From the humorous 'Saltash Dubbing' we move to the more serious, haunting yet warm 'Descending Dub' which incorporates a hint of Cornish Moroccan guitar vibe.  Its simplistic beat draws you into a foot tapping, eye closing moment of reflection.

Next up is a cheeky little number which demands even the shyest of dancers get up and at least have a self conscious wiggle in full dub 'stylee'.  Only last night we planned and booked our next trip in Miles the Camper to take us to the shores of Brittany.  If there was any song that held the excitement and promise of what Breton treats might lay in store in July, then this is it.  

Back to the shores of Cornwall but still with a slight hint of our Celtic neighbours.  You get the feeling that they don't take themselves too seriously; there is a real sense of enjoyment, fun and play within their music that at the same time embraces all that is individual and independent about Cornwall.  

We will be exploring and looking out for more music from Bagas degol in the future.

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