Corey and his Great Grandfather

This is my eldest son Corey now, and his great grandfather, John Valentine Britton, over 100 years ago. As a mum it is strange looking at a photo that is over a century old and seeing the face of Corey peer out. Quite uncanny…and fascinating.corey-and-great-grandfather
Corey wrote and played the guitar part on our ‘My Ancestors were?’ project song, the closing track on the Auricula Suite album – My Ancestors were French. You can hear it here…

The Auricula Suite is an album of songs telling a re-imagined story of a historical journey to a new land. Inspired by folk tales of the alpine flower – the Primula auricula – and its 16th century journey to England with the Huguenot refugees, it is a tale of love and loss, persecution and a new beginning.

The Auricula Suite Album is released on the DHM record label on March 6th 2017 and will be available to download on all the usual digital outlets.

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Taking a break

Now that the first stage of our My Ancestors project is complete we are taking a break from this blog while we plan out the next stage. But there is lots going on over on our Rich & Lou’s Loudhailer website, so you can follow our blog there Loudhailer Blog http://loudhailer.net/

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Thanks! Rich and Lou Duffy-Howard Visit our Loudhailer website

Our Music For New Film

Death is no Bad Friend UK Screening
Death is no Bad Friend UK Screening

We are delighted that our My Ancestors were French Auricula Suite music is featured as the soundtrack for Sirens Gaze Productions short film trailer about Robert Louis Stevenson – Death Is No Bad Friend. It had it’s first UK screening – to a fabulous audience – at the PoP Gallery launch in Hull’s Princes Quay last week.

You can see the trailer and read about the cast and crew on the Indiegogo campaign page. Click on the link to see the film clip and hear the music on the Bandcamp player:

Visit our Loudhailer Blog and follow us there: Rich & Lou Duffy-Howard

Team Photo

Here we are, the My Ancestors were French team, Richard, Louise, Quentin and Amanda at National Trust Calke Abbey, the home of the oldest surviving Auricula Theatre in England.

Richard, Louise, Quentin and Amanda at Calke Abbey

Richard, Louise, Quentin and Amanda at Calke Abbey

It was an amazing venue was for The Auricula Suite concert. A beautiful setting, superb acoustics, a sunny day at last, and a lovely audience. Thanks to all.

Olivia’s Poems

 

Olivia B
Olivia B

Foreign Land

Baking in sunshine
Rolling green hills
Wind taking me
Toward my destiny

Skill to acquire
People to meet
Strange new world
Walked on by
My own feet

Beautiful new land
Breath taken away
As I’m walking
I’m led astray

Primula auricula Lincoln Bullion (a haiku)
Flower found in France
Of many colours and shapes
Full of history

By Olivia Batt

 

My Ancestors were French

One of the themes of My Ancestors were French is the impact of faith on people’s lives throughout history. Today, because of migration and travel, the world seems smaller, and there are many choices – but not necessarily answers to all our questions. The closing song is that of a young woman living in northern England today. She doesn’t know much about her family history, but like many English or American people she is of Huguenot descent. This young woman starts to look back into her family history and begins to find the faith to help her through the pitfalls of life. She learns stories from her family, and discovers that the scent of the auricula has a special quality, which takes her back to childhood memories. Memories of grandparents’ potting sheds…and even further back…when you suddenly think ‘how can this memory be older than me…?’

My ancestors were French,
And, for what it’s worth, faith ruled their lives.

Me, I’ve never been to church, and I haven’t been good.
But I’ve made my mark,
And I got in trouble,
Listening to my devil in the dark.

Y’know I’ve always landed on my feet,
And I’ve got a sense of history.
Yeah I’ve always landed on my feet,
And those flowers take me back…

The devil inside, he’s sittin’ on my shoulder,
Pushin’ me out so I’m sittin’ on a boulder
In the middle of the lake.
And the devil can’t swim,
So I’m feelin’ brave and I’m gonna get him.

It’s gonna get colder, if he falls in the lake.
He’ll be off my shoulder, off my back.
There’ll be no more trouble,
Gonna make a fresh start.
Stop listenin’ to the devil…
Gonna listen to my heart.

Gonna listen

To my heart.

© 2012  Lou Duffy-Howard, Corey Clough-Howard

Stingray Lou

Dressed in Blue

A love song, and tribute to the beautiful little flower, it’s continuing endurance throughout history, and the unusual but traditional way of displaying it, on an Auricula Theatre. As is the way with flowers they don’t last long. But they come back again. We discover more beautiful varieties every year.

She’s my beautiful flower
I’ll be her sun and her rain
What colour will she wear
When she comes back again?

Behind the veil
I can see her glow
What colour will she wear
When it’s time to show?

When April’s flowers
Stand tall and proud in line
You raise the curtain
I see you shine
You raise the curtain
I see you shine!

I was dressed in blue
When I married you
I wore your flowers in my hair
And kept your love in my pocket

On a beautiful day
At the end of May
My heart leapt out to you
My wild-fire-rocket

My heart leapt out to you!

So take it slow
Sing it long and low
What colour will she wear
When it’s time to go?

© 2012 Lou Duffy-Howard
Auriculas grown and photographed by Richard Duffy-Howard

In the Greenwood

Valentina is in England. In folklore the full moons have evocative names which are connected to the season such as Wolf Moon & Sturgeon Moon. The spring moon, when the Auriculas are in bloom is known in as The Flower Moon, and sometimes the Full Corn Planting Moon. Moons come and go and Valentina finds solace in the nature and the English woodland; in the trees and animals in the wood. The seasons turn, the full flower moon comes around again, and the Greenwood is good.

The flower moon is rising
Deer startle up on the hill
It reminds me that I’m far from home
When the clear night air is still
And cool is the spring here
When the hare runs along the hedge
My pretty flowers still bloom for you
With a green and silver edge
And the flower moon is full

The flower moon looks bright tonight
And the flower moon is full

Now I sleep alone I lay down in the greenwood
Now I sleep alone I lay down in the green leaves

By the time the harvest moon comes around
And the fox hides down in the field
There’s fire in the air and there’s storm in the hills
But my heart is still not healed
And it hurts deep down inside
When I think of the love that we lost
Oh my broken heart is still not healed
I lost love’s battle without a shield
And the harvest moon is full

Yeah the harvest moon looks bright tonight
And the harvest moon is full

Now I sleep alone I lay down in the greenwood
Now I sleep alone I lay down in the brown leaves

When the planting moon comes round again
And the badger hunts in the wood
I remember the beautiful flowers of home
But life out here is good
And the planting moon is full
Yeah the planting moon looks bright tonight
And the planting moon is full
The flower moon is high tonight
The flower moon looks white tonight
The flower moon is bright tonight

And the greenwood is good! 

© Louise Duffy-Howard 2012
Auriculas grown and photographed by Richard Duffy-Howard
primula-auricula-rosebud
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Come to a free, fun workshop

Clouded YellowMandi and I are running a free, fun and engaging workshop next Sunday 3rd March at Willerby Methodist Lounge 2pm – 4 pm.

We will be using music, poetry, local film and storytelling to explore the themes of the My Ancestors were French project. It will be easygoing, no pressure and there will even be tea and biscuits. If any of Richard’s auriculas have flowered early they will make a guest appearance!

It’s all part of the Heritage Lottery Funded All Our Stories scheme, in support of BBC2’s ‘The Great British Story – A People’s History’

Willerby Methodist Church Lounge
Sunday March 3rd 2013 2.00 pm – 4.00 pm

All welcome!

Places are limited so please get in touch message me, or email loudhailer@duffyhoward.karoo.co.uk to book your place as soon as possible.

Lou D-H

Have a listen to the title track of the project album…

Work produced at this workshops, and at Wolfreton School and other illustration workshops will be displayed at our local event on May 4th (put it in you diary, esy to remember, it’s international Star Wars Day) 2013 which will celebrate the stories uncovered and work created for the ‘My Ancestors were French’ project.

Dilzar creating a soundtrack for the film
Creating a soundtrack for the film

The celebration event and concert will be filmed and will contribute to a digital archive of the Heritage Lottery Fund’s All Our Stories project, in support of the BBC’s The Great British Story – A People’s History.

My Ancestors were French… a tale inspired by the lovely little alpine flower, the Primula auricula and the story of how it came to be grown and displayed on Auricula Theatres here in England.

The Same Sky

The lovers in our story, Valentina and Raoul, have been torn apart when Valentina escapes from persecution during the Reformation and comes to live in England, while Raoul stands by his faith and stays in France, facing an uncertain future, possibly death. 

This song is Raoul’s story. He is so sad now that his lover has gone, but looks up at the heavens and feels comfort in knowing that wherever she is, she’ll look up and see the same moon, the same stars…The Same Sky.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

I don’t know where you are
But I guess where you’ll be
Under the same sky as me
Where you’ll be, well I guess
‘Cross the cold northern sea
Follow the same star as me

Now you’re gone

In a strange land you are
But not alone refugee
Under the same moon as me
Where you’ll be, well I guess
But I know what you’ll see
See the same sky as me

Now you’re gone

I don’t know where you are
But I guess where you’ll be
Under the same sky as me
Where you’ll be, well I guess
Growing flowers for me…

I feel the same sun!

Under the same sky

© 2012  Rich & Lou Duffy-Howard

Auriculas grown and photographed by Richard Duffy-Howard

Into the Sun

Here begins Valentina’s tale. Young lovers, Valentina and Raoul separate when she escapes persecution and comes to England as a refugee. Valentina boards a boat for the East Coast of England, leaving her lover behind to an uncertain fate, possibly death.

She brings Primula auricula flower seeds and the skills to grow the little flowers here as a reminder of home. The Huguenot people were skilled artisans and were well accepted in their new land. Although Valentina misses her loved ones she is relieved to be travelling over the sea into the unknown and a new life. Valentina says she’ll never forget Raoul…

I’ll be heading down to the harbour
Gonna be setting sail on the next high tide
You know the world may seem much smaller now
but it feels too big to me
I’m gonna be far away from here
by the time it’s light

Gonna be thinking ‘bout you baby
when I’m back on the ground
How we were heading
straight into the sun
With my flowers tucked up
and all safe and sound
I’m gonna be missin’ you baby
when I’m gone…

….The waves are so high
that I get vertigo
And seagulls swoop down
I’m spinning round and round and wonderful
And so high
up on the northern sea
And we are drenched
spray like waterfall
Our river flows to meet us
in East Anglia
And I get vertigo

The waves so high

I don’t know where I’m going
But I know where I’m from
Heading out to the sea
I’m looking into the sun

Into the sun, into the sun

C’mon

Round and round and round and round…
…and wonderful

© 2012  Lou Duffy-Howard

Auriculas grown and photographed by Richard Duffy-Howard

primula-auricula-reddown-tickled-pink

Kings and Weavers

A huguenot
A Huguenot by John Everett Millais

Kings and Weavers is the next song in The Auricula Suite. It introduces the history of the flower, the Primula auricula, whose origins are in the Alps. Imagine how it will have been trampled underfoot by the Roman Legions travelling across the continent two thousand years ago. By the 16th century the auricula became a symbol of wealth and was grown in what is now France and Belgium by the first people to be known as ‘florists’ – The Huguenot people. They were also craftsmen and women, weavers and silk workers. In our tale the Huguenot people made auricula growing popular in England when they came here as refugees in the 16th century.

‘Kings and Weavers’ introduces the young couple in our story, Valentina and Raoul. Although Valentina and Raoul are fictional, they represent many people fleeing persecution and making a new life in a new and strange land, even here, today. I imagine Valentina and Raoul are similar to the couple standing in the walled garden in Huguenot Victorian artist, John Everett Millais’ painting, A Huguenot on St Bartholomew’s Day.

Flower of kings and of weavers
Crushed underfoot on the mountainsides of Gaul
Leaves of green for a queen and a thousand different colours
Comfort of the soldier on the wall
.
I will come for you
I will find you…
.
Your flower theatre will remind me
Of the gardener and the skillful artisan
Of Reformation time, and the people
On a journey to find a new homeland
.
I will come for you
I will find you…
.
The flower of kings will live forever
The flower of weavers will go on
Spell or cure on a starry night
The moon in the middle of the flower shines bright
I can see it too babe
.
I will come for you
I will find you…
.
Flower of kings
Flower of weavers
Green leaves for a queen
And colours for all
From high in the mountains
To the Huguenot gardens…
I’m thinking of you…standing by the wall

Valentina and Raoul, in the Huguenot garden,

Valentina and Raoul, by the wall…

© 2012  Lou Duffy-Howard

The Same Sky Overture

We have recorded a set of songs written to complement the project story.  You can hear the first one here. It’s the only instrumental in The Auricula Suite,  featuring guitars, hammer dulcimer and a beautiful lonesome hurdy gurdy solo; The Same Sky Overture.

The Auricula Suite is our set of songs telling folk tales of a journey to a new land; a story of love and loss, persecution and a new beginning – inspired by the small alpine Primula auricula and the folk tale of its 16th century journey to England with the Huguenot refugees.

The Same Sky is Raoul’s lament. His lover, Valentina, has escaped persecution on a ship to England, but Raoul stands by his faith and refuses to go.   It’s a sad song, now that his lover has gone. He looks up at the heavens and feels comfort in knowing that wherever she is, she’ll look up and see the same moon, the same stars……The Same Sky

© 2012 Duffy-Howard