Our Song of the Day is taken from the forthcoming Show of Hands album The Long Way Home due for release on January 15, 2016. Breme Fell At Hastings is a great song which contains an interesting history lesson for those unfamiliar with their Anglo-Saxon history. It opens with the voice of Michael Wood (speaking Anglo-Saxon), of the BBC series ‘The Great British Story’.
The character of the song ‘Breme’ formed a focus for Wood in an episode of ‘The Great British Story’ when he headed to Dagworth in Suffolk researching an Anglo-Saxon farmer. The name Breme in Anglo-Saxon means ‘the renowned’ or ‘famous’, a name he lived up to – some believe the name, which features in the Domesday Book, was given to him after the historic events mentioned below as a tribute to him. He owned 150-200 acres of land and was a free man, as such he owed military service to his king (King Harold), so if war did break out, which it did in 1066, then he would have to fight. When the Normans invaded with their powerful Calvary, Breme was one of the many that fell in battle. His name was notably recorded alongside the nobles that died and he is still regarded as something of a hero. October 14th, 1066 was a disaster for England not just for the loss of life but for the brutal occupation by William the Conqueror that followed. The song tells a little of the struggle to survive after occupation, “in forest taken by the crown we hunt our game in fear, for if we’re found they’ll ride us down and trap like common deer”.
I may well need to dig out a history book or two…
The Long Way Home sees the Devon duo returning to their musical roots, firing the ignition on a 12-track album that has “England” running through it like letters through a stick of rock.
Travelling full circle to the songs and tunes that inspired them to start playing as a duo back in 1991 it revisits all the classic ingredients of traditional folk themes – songs of war, exile, invention, seafaring and loves lost and found. It features five new songs from the prolific pen of Steve Knightley, new twists and arrangements of quintessentially English traditional numbers and songs by collaborator Chris Hoban, a music teacher in the duo’s home town of Topsham.
Produced by Mark Tucker in Devon it gathers together a clutch of West Country guest musicians including double bassist Miranda Sykes, who has enhanced the Show of Hands sound for over a decade, BBC Radio 2 Folk Award winners Phillip Henry & Hannah Martin and fiddle singer Jackie Oates, Somerset singer songwriter Ange Hardy and Knightley’s own 13 year-old son Jack Knightley on cajon.
Show of Hands are also currently on tour but book quick as these tickets tend to sell out fast.
2015 TOUR DATES:
11 Nov AYLESBURY, Waterside Theatre – 0844 871 7607
12 Nov BATH, The Forum – 0844 888 9991
13 Nov STOKE ON TRENT, Victoria Hall – 0844 871 7649
14 Nov CHESTERFIELD, Winding Wheel – 01246 345222
18 Nov DORKING, Dorking Halls – 01306 881717
19 Nov MANCHESTER, Royal Northern College of Music – 0161 9075555
20 Nov HALIFAX, Victoria Theatre – 01422 351158
21 Nov SALISBURY, City Hall – 01722 434434
25 Nov PORTSMOUTH, New Theatre Royal – 02392 843979
26 Nov BARNSTAPLE, Queens Theatre – 01271 324242
27 Nov TRURO, Hall for Cornwall – 01872 262466
03 Dec EXMOUTH, Pavilion – 01395 222477
04 Dec EXMOUTH, Pavilion – 01395 222477
05 Dec EXMOUTH, Pavilion – 01395 222477