Singing

Singing (mostly of English folk songs) has always played an important role in the apres-
morris conviviality of the Hong Kong Morris.  Jim Carter, Hilary Blythe and Phil Pimentil, three of the side’s early members, were noted singers on the local folk scene as part of the group Mulled Ale, and launched a tradition of powerful singing.  
 
Generally speaking we like to sing all varieties of folk songs (and music hall is popular too) apart from those that generally involve strumming guitars and moaning about how depressed people are. 

Some folk songs that have been sung with a Chinese connection are the late nineteenth century: I’m off to be a Chinaman, to Hong Kong I’m bound’,  and 'The Chinese Bumboatman Song', also known as The Ballad of Wing Chang Lu, and which has become a side favourite that is sometimes delivered with an horrible oath’ (as the song requires) in Cantonese, depending on the company.
 
Commonly-Sung Songs
 
The song I Like to Rise is traditionally sang by the Hong Kong Morris on May Day:
 
I like to rise when the sun she rises,
Early in the morning;
I like to hear them small birds singing,
Merrily upon the dawning;
And hurrah for the life of the country boy,
And to ramble in the new-mown hay.

In spring we sow at the harvest mow,
And that is how the seasons around they go;
But of all the times to choose I may,
Twould be rambling through the new-mown hay.

I like to rise when the sun she rises,
Early in the morning;
I like to hear them small birds singing,
Merrily upon the dawning;
And hurrah for the life of the country boy,
And to ramble in the new-mown hay.

In winter when the sky is grey,
We hedge and we ditch our times away;
But in the summer when the sun shines gay,
Well be rambling in the new-mown hay

I like to rise when the sun she rises,
Early in the morning;
I like to hear them small birds singing,
Merrily upon the dawning;
And hurrah for the life of the country boy,
And to ramble in the new-mown hay.

 

Calling On Song

A song sang at the start of a morris performance by the squire or musician, to attract the attention of the audience.

Good people give ear to my story,
It seems that we’ve come here by chance,
And we bring you six souls blithe and bonny,
Intending to give you a dance,

Old England is our habitation,
The place we were all born and bred,
There are no finer stars in the nation
And none are more gallantly led.

So now you have seen our six actors,
You’ve seen our six actors so bold,
And they each bear as fine a character,
As any six actors of old.

If they be as good as their captain
Their glory no fame can enhance,
And all that this company desires,
Is to see how they fare in the dance.


Some resources are available on our links page and the Squire has some music resources that he may share via Dropbox if you get in contact with him (but not all and sundry will be able to have access due to respecting certain copyright restrictions).