SONGHIVE (Online Edition)

by Various Artists

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1.
Bees! Bees! Hark to your bees! Hide from your neighbours as much as you please, But all that has happened, to us you must tell, Or else we will give you no honey to sell! A maiden in her glory, Upon her wedding-day, Must tell the bees a story, Or else they'll fly away. Fly away - die away - Dwindle down and leave you! But if you never grieve your bees, Your bees will never grieve you... Bees! Bees! Hark to your bees! Hide from your neighbours as much as you please, But all that has happened, to us you must tell, Or else we will give you no honey to sell! Marriage, birth and buryin', News across the sea, All you're sad or merry in, You must tell the bees. Tell 'em going in an' out, Where the Fanners fan, 'Cause the bees are just about As curious as a man... Bees! Bees! Hark to your bees! Hide from your neighbours as much as you please, But all that has happened, to us you must tell, Or else we will give you no honey to sell! Don't you hide where the trees are, When the lightnings play, Nor don't you hate where bees are, Or else they'll pine away. Pine away - dwine away - Anything to leave you! But if you don't deceive your bees, Your bees'll not deceive you... Bees! Bees! Hark to your bees! Hide from your neighbours as much as you please, But all that has happened, to us you must tell, Or else we will give you no honey to sell!
2.
I'm a worker by nature I freely admit And I spend all my days in the fields At a tiring old trade which may well be unpaid, But it brings all the farmers their yields. When the sun has dropped down I will take to my bed In the cell that my own toil has made To arise again early and tend to the gardens Of folks who are in their beds laid... Oh for Queen and Country, Though the latter is no thought of mine, I work for all and sundry, I'm a labourer come rain or shine. Gone are the days when on jelly I dined A bumbling old fool I've become, And I hum as I go the old chants that I know From our glory days spent in the sun. Well the people are swarming for honey & milk And that land that was promised of old, But they don't understand that the crops are unmanned And the colonies now all stand cold. Where there once was a gate to palace of gold Flanked by guards in their striped livery You'll find corpses piled high 'cause the honey's run dry To pay those from the mortuary...
3.
So immense yet intricate, Fiercely wrought, still delicate, All parts sensed as separate In one sphere conjoin; For each phase and season wait That in turn regenerate The pure instinct to create From current, film and comb. Pods erupt and waters break, Quick shapes spring, sharp breaths take, Revelling in all they make Spun round a radiant sun Come listen to my song Our time here isn’t long... Through shrouds that cover mound and field By shade distinct and scent revealed New blooms shoot and spread to yield, Secrets to unfold Borne where carriers float and fly Dispersed between the earth and sky Fragments of pure industry Thrust into their hold Through a dance inspiriting, Giving up and gathering, Limb and fibre, seed and wing, Figures fuse and mould. Oh, listen to my song Our time here isn’t long But what brute force looms over briar and bower, And drives a bitter course to lodge in shaft and tower; Armed with the curse of thought, bent to take power, Break fruit from branch and cut root from flower? While it obscures, yet it grows clear How element and fabric tear, Streams are poisoned at the core By sheer recklessness At each cusp where cells should tie And fine lines of balance lie What cannot connect must die In a drear wilderness Forms so lovingly evolved, By warm, hard rain are dissolved, Hub and hive and swarm resolved Into mere emptiness Now listen to my song Our time here isn’t long No efflorescence can escape The scarred scene of this rape For the fuse that gives it shape It cannot defend Nor the gut cut by its sting Resist the withering That wreaks on each living thing Wounds it cannot mend So at last the tainted dart Penetrates into the heart Of the nest it breaks apart And I meet my end Oh, listen to my song Our time here isn’t long
4.
5.
When dusty is the cider still And the apple tree's in blossom Workers fly to the house on the hill To collect their sacs of pollen. These tiny creatures toil away In tree, in bush, in briar They give us fruit & comb & grain And drone in joyful choir. We'll gather in the orchard grass And feed the trees with song We'll wassail with our bowls and bells In all our buzzing throng. When winter's cold leaves frozen mould And we flock around our fires We'll toast the bees and the apple trees Full filled with heart's desires.
6.
Two brothers in the north country Sat down to rest beside a wall ​The eldest slept, the youngest wept As rain began to fall... A humble bee disturbed him then Some shelter from the damp it sought And winging to a hidey hole A melody it brought. The young man he took up his staff And with it blocked the creature's lair But could not rouse his brother then As if he was not there. "Wake up, oh brother, rest no more This is no time for joke or jest!" And turning to his willow wand He snatched it from the nest. At once the bumbling bee flew out And on the eldest did alight Who from the deepest slumber then Woke up in dreadful fright. "Oh brother dear tell unto me What did you dream about?" "I dreamt you shut me in a tomb And would not let me out..."
7.
8.
We Must Away 03:29
9.
We sing you of our master As wise as he was old All family happenings To his bees he told. But now he's a-bounden Bounden by the cold Our mistress mourning His death knell told. ​She must to the garden The high queen to implore As it is written All among the beelore So dress the hives in black As in the days of yore Then as we mun singen: Keep once more Fly not hence and keep once more... ​Now knock upon the hives As we march along the way Set them on the coffin On his funeral day Our master has retired To rest under the clay But with an offering His bees may stay We'll raise our voices now Our high hymns to intone Joined in our keening By fierce apiaran drone So dress the hives in black As in the days of yore Then as we mun singen: Keep once more Fly not hence and keep once more...

about

NB: For licensing reasons, two tracks from the original CD are not available in this online download.

However, you can find "The Honeybee" direct from the The Rheingans Sisters here: therheinganssisters.bandcamp.com/track/xaviers-the-honeybee

And "Dark Honey" on Murmurs here: www.amazon.co.uk/dp/B00WFLRIJ8/ref=cm_sw_em_r_mt_dp_U_zKrGEbJ2JRBGK

SONGHIVE is a folksong project concerned with raising awareness of the current plight of our native bees. Bees are responsible for 80% of pollination in the UK, are essential to biodiversity, and ultimately the future of humanity. Despite all this, we continue to obliterate the pollen-rich plants they depend on, and our governments insist on legalising pesticides that do them harm.

Folk music has long been fraught with political dissent and attended by social change; perhaps this collection will serve to highlight how the decline of bees has entered the public consciousness. Here isn’t the place to wax lyrical, but hopefully this small project can raise some money for our friends; “the little musicians of the world”...
​(The King & The Hermit, 10th c. Irish Verse).

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released March 29, 2020

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Rowan Piggott Sheffield, UK

Rowan is a fiddle-singer, writer and tunesmith who grew up in the foothills of the Burren on the west coast of Ireland, surrounded by traditional music. The author of two successful tunebooks, he has also written articles for The Living Tradition magazine and led fiddle workshops at festivals all over the country. In 2016, he won the Future of Young Folk Award at Bromyard Folk Festival. ... more

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