North-west morris sides traditionally use a common repertoire of tunes, typically military marches, lively hornpipes and polkas. Musicians from one side can often join those for another, or help out when a regular musician is unavailable. Ringheye decided to be different!
Ringheye's first chief musician was Trevor Shaw, who didn't read music and refused to dance but played wonderfully. He set the dances to tunes which are less familiar. They are still traditional, some from 17th/18th century collections, but not always well known to passing musicians. In addition Trevor also wrote the tunes used for Horwich (Jack the Pinch and The Tenth Skep)*. Trevor played accordion and was accompanied by fiddles, a tuba, and drums.
Ringheye is very proud of the original music, but its individuality has caused some difficulties. We have been fortunate enough to have excellent musicians play for us over the years, but many of them say that the music demands respect! We don't practice to standard tunes, and musicians who play for us at short notice can rarely play our own music. Occasionally we make efforts to find more familiar tunes to which we can dance, with mixed success. A past fiddle player, Will, introduced a couple of new pieces which we use - but one of those is from Sweden and even less well known than its predecessor! So we continue with our own music, which promotes our own style, and thank heavens for our hardworking musicians!
*) Jack the Pinch: A former pub on the Ashley Road in Mobberley, named after a local locum preacher
The Tenth Skep: Refers to the tithing of honey from the tenth skep (wicker beehive). According to a local tale, one bee-keeper resented the tithe system and one day placed the entire skep inside the rectory - complete with bees.
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