Whilst down in Cornwall Tehm and I visited Falmouth where we saw a shop called The Cornish Store, selling all things Cornish – including a fine selection of Cornish music. Being Cornish myself, my experience of Cornish music was one that is very ‘traditional’ – that is accordian-based folk and dance tunes at country dances. Whilst this is not at all a bad thing, the shop was playing some Cornish music quite unlike anything either of us had heard before – a band called “Bagas Degol“. Their album “Party Like it’s 1399” really grabbed me. It is a jaw-droppingly stunning interpretation of Cornish music, with a twist…
My first thought was “my gods – Cornish folk-dub!”. And it is, to a degree. Why not toddle off to Top of the Hill Recordings to have a listen to some samples from the album – an mp3 of “Bodmin Dubbing” is available for download.
Bagas Degol appear from their website to be a traditional dance band, with pipes, tabor etc. They are, but they’re also talented dub musicians too. The more you listen to the album, the more you pick up – old dancing tunes echoing in the background, samples of the Cornish language, what sounds like interviews with people about the sea and the ‘little people’ (Zeak Dub), traditional tunes played incredibly well on a melodion… The haunting “Mar Euhall Yw An Dub” has beautiful singing entirely in Cornish, and one of the best basslines I’ve ever heard.
The energy, imagination, passion, and musicianship make “Party Like it’s 1399” one of my all-time favourite albums. Go an buy it!!