You can download our November 2018 newsletter and earlier newsletters here.
The International Congress 25th to 30th April 2019 - Tewyn Por’Lystry / Newquay
The Cornish branch were pleased to be able to hold the Congress this year at the Hotel Bristol, Newquay, also the venue for the Lowender Peran festival. Service from the hotel was excellent.
About 70 delegates entertainers and speakers attended to listen to speakers on the theme of Recording Our Past to Inform Our Future. To coincide with this theme two visits were arranged for delegates, the first to the Wheal Martyn China Clay Museum near St Austell and the second to the new Cornwall Archive Centre at Redruth. Speakers to the theme were:
David Thomas, the Archivist at Cornwall Record Office, gave an outline of the many different objects in the Cornish archives and spoke about the new archive centre under construction, which has 14 miles of shelving. David Thomas also focussed on an interesting archive of J C Burrows’s photographs of Cornish miners and mining underground in the 1890s. This was the first time that such photographs had been taken.
Both Brigitte Kloareg of Brittany and Cathlin Macaulay of Scotland looked at the recording of music. Brigitte showed how lyrics are subject to change as references are lost and alternatives come in to try to make sense of them. Works may be subject to bowdlerisation, even where considered worth collecting. Lyrics often take precedence and tunes are lost. Some sound recordings had limited durability and many have been superseded, leaving redundant archives. Folk music had been recorded using classical music scales and often something of the style has been lost. Cathlin focused on the work of individual collectors, and went on to the development of technology which enabled the School of Scottish Studies, particularly under Hamish Henderson, to make exact transcriptions of a range of songs and spoken material and music in the field. Pieces from the archives have been published in modern formats.
Kerron O’Luain, the speaker from Ireland, sounded a note of caution. He spoke of the danger of revisionism. The suppression of ‘inconvenient’ facts and the promotion of preferred but spurious links could lead to an historic event being viewed in a distorted way, but may become the starting point for future reference. He used the term ‘Gas Lighting’ which refers to crowding out the narrative of the weak by the powerful. The case of Cornwall came to mind when he said that working people in occupied countries are doubly oppressed.
Sue Fielding, the Senior Buildings Investigator at the Royal Commission on the Ancient and Historical Monuments of Wales demonstrated that the development of modern technology has enabled ever more precise information to be recorded and to be presented in striking ways, such as moving through historic environments in virtual reality. Modern technology also helps to identify the best means of preserving sites against erosion and other problems. She also spoke about the importance of recording non-conformist chapels in Wales, past and present.
James Franklin of Culture Vannin spoke on behalf of the Manx Branch. His copiously illustrated talk provided a practical summary, not just of how information could be recorded and presented, but of how it could be done in ways which intrigued and drew people in to find out more and particularly to become involved. Former International President, David Greaney of Wales, said that James’s talk had given him and a colleague positive ideas to implement in Wales. Grateful thanks are due to Culture Vannin for support in enabling James to travel to Newquay.
Entertainment was provide by Oll an Gwella, who sang in the bar on Friday evening.
Further song came on Saturday evening with Cornish mixed choir Halwyn a Gan and Cornish dance music for the modern style Nos Lowen (Noze Looan) by Bagas Crowd on Sunday. There were also songs and the occasional tune from the Celtic countries at what were described as ‘informal’ sessions.
The final evening brought the International Concert. It was opened with aplomb by young Irish fiddle player and singer, Lauryn Bhreathnach, with a mixture of slow airs and dance tunes. Songs of Brittany were beautifully performed, individually and as a duo, by Sylvie Guiner and Brigitte Kloareg. A taste of the instrumental music of Wales was given by Rhiain Bebb on accordion and triple harp.
Tony Kearney is well-known for his appearances on Scottish TV, but he brought Gaelic song from his native Barra and some bouncing puirt à beul to Newquay. At least one Cornish member of the audience was well acquainted with Tony’s work and relished the chance to speak to him after the concert. Mannin was beautifully represented by the award-winning harp playing of Mera Royle who played a mixture of modern compositions and traditional pieces. The concert was brought to a close by young Cornish quartet The Woodcarts, who perform songs by guitarist Martha and her sister, fiddle/flute player Rosa, with friends Dan on percussion and Marcus on bass. We were grateful to the band for playing for us in the middle of their exam studies.
Storm Hannah was rather against a guided walk along the cliff tops, so Len Sheppard of the Old Cornwall Society’s Newquay Heritage Archive and Museum was a fount of knowledge in presenting an illustrated talk about Newquay and the area.
An ecumenical church service with an Easter theme was conducted by the Gorsedh Chaplin, Jane Kneebone, on the Sunday. Singing was supported by the Cornish language Church Choir, Tereba Nessa.
Overall the Congress was deemed to be a success and we look forward to next year’s in Aberystwyth.
Photos of Gorsedh Kernow's special Proclamation ceremony at the International Celtic Congress in the Hotel Bristol in Newquay this April can be seen on Gorsedh Kernow's website here. Congress members David Greaney and Yann Guillamot were made honorary Bards at the ceremony. There is also a video: http://gorsedhkernow.org.uk/videos.html
Some more photos of the Congress itself...... If you have any photos you'd like to contribute, please contact Pat at firstname.lastname@example.org.
|At the Congress service at St. Michael's Church in Newquay. Photo: David Greaney||Outside the Wheal Martyn Clay Works. Photo: David Greaney|
|Wendy giving David a helping hand with those pesky blue overshoes at Kresen Kernow! Has Cornish bardship given him delusions of grandeur?|
You can download higher resolution versions of all the photos apart from the last three by right-clicking the thumbnails and selecting 'Save Link As'.
The Celtic Congress Cornwall had a stall at Redruth's St PIran's celebration on Saturday 2nd. March.
Wheal Martyn - Cornwall's China Clay Museum. Pictures taken by Cornwall Celtic Congress members on a recent visit. Delegates at the International Celtic Congress in 2019 will have the chance of enjoing the unique and historic Wheal Martyn Clay Works in April.
Some members of the Cornwall Branch attended the 2018 International Celtic Congress held in Kemper (Quimper). Interesting talks were held on the theme of Social Media. Visits during the week were to the Locmaria part of the city and we had a guided tour of the Faience Pottery Museum. We also visited Landevennec Abbey and Museum and looked around a rebuilt windmill.
|Delegates led in Breton through the old Landevennec Abbey ruins||Branch Secretary at the confluence of the rivers (kemper = confluent)|
|Breton Pipers at the opening of the Congress||The Cathedral in Kemper|
On Saturday 26th. May a very successful Celtic Market was held in Phillack Hall, Copperhouse, Hayle. Our thanks to all members for their help and contributions.
On Friday 18th. May we held the annual Jenner Event at the Heritage Hall in Lelant. A bi-lingual film about Henry Jenner and his wife Kitty, made by by Charlie Fripp and John Gray from Falmouth University's Penryn Campus was shown. This was followed by a dinner at the Badger Inn, Lelant.
Bude Congress mugs for sale
A bargain at £4.00 each including postage. These are some mugs we ordered for the Bude Congress in 2000. If you would like to buy a mug (or more!) please contact Denise Chubb at email@example.com.