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
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Valentina and Raoul, standing by the wall…

Abby Wright has created this exquisite illustration inspired by the famous painting of A Huguenot by John Everett Millais. Millias’ painting was an inspiration for the story which we tell in our set of songs ‘The Auricula Suite’

Small My_Ancestors_Were_French_Abby_Wright Web Small

A Huguenot, on St. Bartholomew’s Day, (1852) by John Everett Millais: Set in the French Wars of Religion, the young woman is trying to make her lover wear the white scarf which would protect him from persecution and possibly death. He, despite his love for her refuses to renounce his faith.

Painted in Victorian England, the picture uses The Language of Flowers, showing Canterbury Bells and Nasturtiums to express faith and patriotism.

a huguenot biggest
“They wrap each other up, but also pull in opposite directions” S.P Casteras

Abby’s special illustration is very nearly ready to be unveiled

A story of love, loss and faith

Abby Wright is creating a brand new contemporary illustration, inspired by Millais’ painting which we will show and use at the MAWF workshops. Keep an eye on the website, we will unveil it very soon now. In the meantime, here is Millais’ painting…

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

A Huguenot, on St. Bartholomew’s Day, (1852) by John Everett Millais. Set in the French Wars of Religion, the young woman is trying to make her lover wear the white scarf which would protect him from persecution and possibly death. He, despite his love for her refuses to renounce his faith.

Painted in Victorian England, the picture uses The Language of Flowers, showing Canterbury Bells and Nasturtiums to express faith and patriotism.

“They wrap each other up, but also pull in opposite directions” S.P Casteras

 

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

Chapter 3 The Same Sky

Following Valentina’s tale is Raoul’s story.

Raoul stands by his faith and stays behind. 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

The Transit of Venus

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 Duffy-Howard

Chapter 2 Into the Sun

My Ancestors were French…a tale inspired by the little alpine flower, the Primula auricula and the story of how it came to be grown and displayed on Auricula Theatres here in England. A fascinating folk tale of love, loss and new beginnings, exploring the significance of ancestry and identity, drawing on the influences of the first refugees to come to England in the 16th Century – the Huguenot people…

Fleet Street cropChapter Two – 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…but as is often the case, madness and the wind are blowing over the sea…

Chapter 1 Kings and Weavers

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 – a fascinating folk tale of love, loss and new beginnings.

There are seven musical chapters to the story.

Chapter One – Kings and Weavers 
The Primula auricula is a little flower 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. It is believed to be the Huguenot people who made auricula growing popular in England when they came here as refugees from the French wars of religion 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 of a Huguenot on St Bartholomew’s Day.

A huguenot
A Huguenot on St Bartholomew’s Day

“They wrap each other up, but also pull in opposite directions” S.P Casteras

© 2012 Duffy-Howard

My Ancestors were French

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