The City Waites - The Musicians of Grope Lane

RICHARD PARR King's Lynn Town Hall (King's Lynn Festival)

RICHARD PARR

King's Lynn Town Hall (King's Lynn Festival)

They were the 17th century version of today's pop songs and what skittish fun this evening proved to be as The City Waites sung, played and jested their way back in time.

From a sentimental Restoration love song to the tuneful cries of street traders or the jollity of a village-green knees-up, the music performed by this quartet on a variety of instruments were all broadside ballads - the popular music of their day.


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The fate of some of these lyrics, often containing earthy humour, was strikingly mixed. Some found their way into the libraries of Samuel Pepys and the Earl of Oxford while others ended up as toilet paper!

The quartet of Lucie Skeaping, Douglas Wootton, Nicholas Perry and Roderick Skeaping brought these ballads to life in song and a variety of instruments including the lute, cittern, bagpipes, viola and drums.

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We were treated to such gems as Tomorrow the Fox Will Come to Town, Over the Hill and Far Away, Seldom Cleanly, the Wooing of John and Joan and a hilarious tale of a gall stone removal operation.

A thoroughly entertaining evening.

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