Pennbucky to Llangenny, new songs of old times

McKay and Etherton

McKay and Etherton

A couple of weeks back I was introduced to a local group (from the Gower, near Swansea) who have produced a fabulous CD of folk songs in tribute to Swansea’s sailors and coppermen. It is called Pennbucky to Llangenny by Andrew McKay with Andy Baker, Tony Beddow, Joe Parsell, Dave Robinson and Ken Simpson.┬áThe 18 track album is a treasure of history explored in song. One of my favourites is Dead Reckoning (hear a sample), a song about old skills made redundant, particularly regarding the change from shipping by sail to steam. Others sing about the art of the ship’s carpenter (Made of Wood), about Swansea’s wealth deriving from brass and copper (Bronze and Brass) and intrepid journeys Welsh mariners made around Cape Horn (they were known as Cape Horners) on their way to Chile and Cuba to collect copper ore to bring back for smelting (Drinks at the Cuba, Pennbucky to Llangenny). The album also includes a nod to the traditional with a set of hornpipes from Mumbles and Greenholme / The Ivy House.

At the moment I am working on a project on the heritage of Welsh copper at Swansea University and in amongst the research, the liaison with other organisations and people, my heart fills with joy when I come across things like this. That history has inspired beautiful music or art or words from people means it is worth remembering and telling to others. I wonder that people won’t learn more from these songs than they will from a run of the mill history book …

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One Response to Pennbucky to Llangenny, new songs of old times

  1. Andrew McKay June 26, 2011 at 9:59 am #

    Hi Tehmina

    So glad you enjoyed the CD. Our new CD ‘Silver, Stone & Sand’ is now available from the website, with more songs about Swansea’s history and legends. A couple of songs from ‘Pennbucky’ have been brought forward on the new CD as we now do them differently (Pennbucky was 2004), but there are still 15 completely new songs,

    Good luck with the banjo, BTW. Many of the same jokes get made about concertina!


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