Your Ancestors were…?

It’s a poem, set to music, have a listen…

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  L. Duffy-Howard, Corey Clough-Howard

Home - anon
Home – anon

Lincoln Uni Film Crew

Thanks to the team at Lincoln University Media School (Janice, Adam and Rob) for documenting our My Ancestors were French celebration event last Saturday.  

They filmed the exhibition of workshop poems and art, auricula display and the concert as well as interviews. We’re looking forward to seeing the film and photos.

Here’s Janice and Rob setting up to interview Robin Graham of Drointon Nurseries  by his Auricula Theatre.
crew

Thanks to Jenny Dagg and Leslie Hicks at Lincoln University for working with the project and arranging the film crew for our event.

All welcome to our next workshop

Come and join us…

Would you like to come to a free, fun, no pressure workshop Saturday May 4th at Willerby Methodist Hall, Carr Lane/Willerby Square HU10 6JP 4pm – 5.30 pm

We will be using music, poetry, local film and storytelling to look at what it feels like to come to live in a strange land, and how music can bring people of different cultures together, overcoming adversity and creating something good and new.

Free of charge. It will be easygoing and there will be tea and biscuits.

Roger reads 'Norfolk farm boy will go far'
Willerby Workshop – Roger reads ‘Norfolk farm boy will go far’

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’

All welcome

Find out what went on last time – you can see reviews and photos of our previous workshops here

Part of a series of workshops, which will contribute to the archive of stories and work created for the ‘My Ancestors were French’ project. 

Not alone, Refugee…

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

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

The Transit of Venus

© 2012 Duffy-Howard

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.

English Garden

The next chapter of our Auricula Suite tale…

primula-auricula-taffeta

In our next song, many years have passed by, and Valentina embraces life in England, growing roses in her English garden. Millais’ painting is full of coded messages – the Victorian concept of ‘the language of flowers’. Red roses symbolise passion. In Millais’ painting of the lovers standing by the wall the young woman is trying to make her lover wear the white scarf that would protect him from persecution and possibly death, and he, despite his love for her refuses to renounce his faith. Here Canterbury Bells signify faith; and Nasturtiums, patriotism. Valentina settles in the East Coast of England, she marries and has a family. But she never did forget Raoul.

I work the land here, I rise each morning
I thank the Lord and reap what I have sown.
I left my homeland, but kept my God-fear
I looked up to him when I set off alone.

I’m long since married; I have three daughters,
I love them dearly and we are family
And my garden is full of roses
I give them water and feed them tenderly.

My husband loves me; we work together
And spend the evenings until the fire burns low.
But when my candle is pale and smoky
I think back to you, I never let you go.

.
Our last embrace by the wall,
You kept your faith, you would not lie
The broken bell signalled your fall,
I never knew if you would live or die

In the darkness we lay down in the heather
One kiss to last forever, before I went to sea.
My eldest daughter, she looks so like you.
But home is here now, what is and what will be.

.
I made my life here; I rise each morning
I thank the Lord and reap what I have sown
I left my homeland but kept my God-fear
I looked up to Him when I set off alone

.
I made my life here; I rise each morning
I thank the Lord and reap what I have sown
And in my garden, my English garden
I tend my roses, and water them…alone.

© 2012  Lou Duffy-Howard

Auriculas grown and photographed by Richard Duffy-Howard

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

Chapter 4 The English Garden

Years go by, and Valentina embraces life in England, growing roses in her English garden. Millais’ painting is full of coded messages – the Victorian concept of ‘the language of flowers’. Red roses symbolise passion. In Millais’ painting of the lovers standing by the wall the young woman is trying to make her lover wear the white scarf that would protect him from persecution and possibly death, and he, despite his love for her refuses to renounce his faith. Here Canterbury Bells signify faith; and Nasturtiums, patriotism.

A Huguenot by John Everett Millais
A Huguenot by John Everett Millais

Valentina settles in the East Coast of England, she marries and has a family. But she never did forget Raoul.

I work the land here, I rise each morning
I thank the Lord and reap what I have sown.
I left my homeland, but kept my God-fear
I looked up to him when I set off alone.

I’m long since married; I have three daughters,
I love them dearly and we are family
And my garden is full of roses
I give them water and feed them tenderly.

My husband loves me; we work together
And spend the evenings until the fire burns low.
But when my candle is pale and smoky
I think back to you, I never let you go.
Our last embrace by the wall,
You kept your faith, you would not lie
The broken bell signalled your fall,
I never knew if you would live or die

In the darkness we lay down in the heather
One kiss to last forever, before I went to sea.
My eldest daughter, she looks so like you.
But home is here now, what is and what will be.
I made my life here; I rise each morning
I thank the Lord and reap what I have sown
I left my homeland but kept my God-fear
I looked up to Him when I set off alone
I made my life here; I rise each morning
I thank the Lord and reap what I have sown
And in my garden, my English garden
I tend my roses, and water them…alone.