Emma and I performed this set in Penzance a couple of weeks ago when we supported Martin Carthy at St Mary’s Church, at a gig arranged by Inn the Bath Productions.
Times are Hard is an adaptation of a song collected in Canow Kernow – Songs and Dances from Cornwall, edited by Inglis Gundry. The book is a wonderful and well-used source for traditional Cornish songs and tunes, and it can be a challenge to find something new in such a well-known collection.
This song caught my eye because it begins in 5/4, a popular dance time for the kabm pymp in Nos Lowen dancing, although in the original transcription it quickly diverts back to 4/4, swapping to 5/4 again for a bar here and there throughout. However changeable the time signature, the sentiment remains current – times are hard, particularly in Cornwall, in the current economic climate. Here is the original from Canow Kernow:
I adapted the tune to make it minor, more fitting for the lyrics, and made the rhythm a consistent 5/4 throughout.
The tune which follows is Dozmary Five, written by Emma Packer. Dozmary Pool is on Bodmin Moor, the tune was inspired by hearing her granny talk about how she became engaged to Emma’s grandfather.