Sonic Tour of England
Hear sounds, music and stories from Cornwall with the Fisherman’s Friends singing group in the village of Port Isaac as well as a soundscape of the maritime town of Greenwich and an historic social engagement place in Hyde Park in London, England. An international edition of Stage & Studio!
First up, hear about a tradition of open public speaking and debate in Hyde Park in London.
Since 1872, Londoners can lawfully make speeches on Sunday to anyone who will listen. Speaker’s Corner is a tradition that still lives on encouraging public discourse and spirited social engagement.
Dmae walked around the park and recorded different speakers in May. Hear the original social media hub at Speaker’s Corner.
Next, we’ll hear a Lloyd Edmonds tell his story. He’s a street musician who plays at Marble Arch at the entrance of Hyde Park.
Edmonds loves the blues and plays his guitar for passers-by. He tells us how the 2012 Olympics in London is making it difficult for street musicians.
Then we go to Greenwich, England steeped in maritime history. The town once housed the royal palace but after a civil war, it fell into disrepair so the palace was rebuilt as the Royal Naval Hospital for Sailors. It’s also the home of the Trinity Laban Conservatoire of Music and Dance.
Dmae took a walk through the courtyard in the middle of all the rehearsal rooms and created a sound piece.
Finally, we travel to Port Isaac, Cornwall where the PBS show Doc Martin is filmed. There we meet the Fisherman’s Friends, a group of 10 men who grew up together in the same little village.
For more than 15, the Fisherman’s Friends have been singing sea shanties as a group in Port Isaac, Cornwall (pictured, top left)
During the summer, the ten men give free concerts in the old harbor drawing crowds of 3000 or more.
The picturesque village has been highlighted in films and TV shows—mostly recently the popular Doc Martin series. But the Fisherman’s Friends with their masterful harmonies and lively performances remain the heart of local culture.
They started singing sea chanties and Christmas carols to raise money for charity but soon became so popular they got a major recording contract and now have a busy touring schedule.
Dmae talked with them at their ‘headquarters’ at the Golden Lion Pub in Port Isaac about what makes their style of singing unusual.
This story originally aired nationally.
You can hear it here on PRI”s The World and see a slideshow of photos by Richard Jensen.
And as an audio “extra” we hear from the Fisherman’s Friends about their love of the Cornish language and how it’s in danger of being forgotten.
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