Cornish Dialect Songs

Title

Cornish Dialect Songs

Description

Cornish dialect is sometimes called "Cornu-English" to emphasis that, like Scots and Ulster Scots, it is has a vocabulary and grammatical structure which sets it aside from standard English. It is more than just an "accent", despite what popular TV shows would have you believe! It carries some elements of vocabulary and grammar from Kernewek, the Celtic language of Cornwall but is strongly influenced by the culture and industries of 18th and 19th Century Cornwall. It has continued to evolve and has many variations throughout the Duchy.

For many people the heyday of Cornish Dialect was the late 19th Century when it enjoyed much attention from folklorists and enthusiasts. It is a moot point whether the dialect is now dying out or simply continuing to evolve and change whilst remaining distinctively Cornish.

Collection Items

Adams Fall
Humorus ballads and tales are part of the Cornish dialect tradition. Adams Fall was set to music by Ralph Dunstan in Lyver Canow Kernow, the Cornish Songbook. It was also published in Sengen Fiddee by the An Daras Cornish Folk Arts Project in 2003.…

Alphabet Song
Cornish version of an Alphabet Song recorded from the singing of Jim Thomas of Camborne by Ralph Dunstan in
1931. Alphabet songs were a popular Music Hall format and George Formby recorded one, with his usual innuendo in 1938. Peter Kennedy also…

Sengen Fiddee - 30 songs in Cornish Dialect
30 songs in Cornish dialect from the Sengen Fiddee Project 2003. Downloadable E-Book

Alphabet Song
Cornish version of an Alphabet Song recorded from the singing of Jim Thomas of Camborne by Ralph Dunstan in 1931. Alphabet songs were a popular Music Hall format and George Formby recorded one, with his usual innuendo in 1938. Peter Kennedy also…

Jan Knuckey
Writing under the pseudonym " Uncle Jan Trenoodle", William Sandys included Jan Knuckey in his"Specimens of Cornish Provincial Dialect" published in 1846 as a Dialect narrative of 3 verses but without a melody. By 1887 it was known to Cornish…

Morvah Fair
The version of the lyrics for Morvah Fair provided here is from a music manuscript in St Ives Museum. This song is also included in Lyver Canow Kernewek with four part arrangement by Dunstan but the dialect is more limited. Robert Morton Nance offers…

Tom Bawcock's Eve
Tom Bawcock's Eve is held in Mousehole on 23rd December. Robert Morton Nance learned a number of different stories about the origins Tom Bawcock's eve from the fisherfolk of the village in the early 20th Century. In some stories "Tom Bawcock" rescued…

The Old Grey Duck
The Old Grey Duck was published in Ralph Dunstan's in Cornish Dialect & Folk Songs, Ralph Dunstan, Cornish Dialect and Folk Songs, (Truro, Jordan's Bookshop, 1932) where he says “This song is known in all parts of West Cornwall, and is sung to…

The Keenly Lode
This one of the few dialect songs that Baring Gould recorded and published. He was given
this song by an old miner n the Lugger Inn, Fowey in 1894 But reconstructed it for publication. It is clearly based on William Bentick Forfar’s “The Bal – tis a…
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