Song is at the heart of this project, as the initial inspiration for the project's thematic focus*, and as the main characteristic of the local folkways that we're experimenting with. Singer-songewriter Jim Causley, with whom I has previously collaborated in 2014-15, has taken the lead on writing not only the wassail song, but also songs for other events in the cider-making year: we draw on Maying traditions, beating the bounds, and work-songs, among other conventions, to produce a suite of songs for the microbes on the farm and the people who work with them. The workshops at the farm, and our project participants, informed the writing of the wassail song in the project's first stage, and led to others being written later on, in 2022. §
*The song that inspired me to start this project is 'Bread n Cheese n Cider,' – a song that is part of project-participant Bill Murray's repertiore as as a folk singer. Having heard Bill sing this song, while persuing my research-interest in 'microbiopolitics' by reading Heather Paxson's anthropological studies of cheese-making, it became obvious to me that cider offers another tractible, practical example of how humans negotiate their social worlds with microbes. Conseqeuently, the song has become an anthem for the project, sung at every workshop and public presentation of our work.
The tracks included here were recorded at the first Halstow Wassail; also included in this playlist, a BBC Radio Devon interview that gives additional context to the event that concluded the project's first stage. §