· our themed concerts of words and music ·
The New Scorpion Band’s very popular themed programmes are an entertaining mix of songs and dance tunes with poetry, prose readings and folk drama. Drawing on the group members’ extensive theatrical experience, these concerts take audiences on a colourful and unpredictable journey into subjects as diverse as Britain’s supernatural tradition and the life of Lord Nelson. They are in regular demand for Arts Centres, folk, historical and maritime festivals and seasonal celebrations of many kinds. The concerts are all presented in the New Scorpion Band’s customary sartorial splendour, and the running time is about 2 x 50 minutes. Workshops for schools are also offered, incorporating songs, dancing and social history.
“Quite simply one of the best traditional music bands around today... their harmony singing is absolutely beautiful, their musicianship is second to none. Their music is immediate and, by turns, intimate and breathtakingly grand.” Beaford Arts
SOUND THE JUBILEE - music and readings from the history of slavery. This show was originally commissioned by Lancaster Cathedral to mark the bicentenary of the abolishment of the slave trade in the British Empire in 1807. Featuring a unique collection of songs gathered from Broadside sources of the time, the programme brings vividly to life the slave trade debate of the early 19th century, and the voices of those who called so forcefully and eloquently for abolition. The interactions of European and African music are explored in the West Indian sea shanty and the Jamaican quadrille. The New Scorpion Band are joined by the actor Tas Emiabata, speaking the words of Olaudah Equiano and Ottobah Cugoano, and there are readings from William Wilberforce, Hannah Moore, John Wesley, John Newton, William Cowper and others.
Listen to the programme and learn more about the history and the production. The New Scorpion Band is greatly indebted to Roy Palmer for his scholarly help in the creation of this programme.
“The New Scorpion Band are sophisticated musicians with the technical and creative skills to produce music sets of diversity and originality.” Folk on Tap
COLD BLOWS THE WIND
The New Scorpion Band's spookiest concert programme is devoted to the supernatural, the strange, the spine-chilling and the inexplicable, bringing together the band's usual mix of traditional songs and ballads, instrumental tunes, poems, stories and folk drama. It is an unsettling excursion into hidden and imagined worlds, as depicted through centuries of song and legend in the misty isles of Britain.
“I was richly rewarded by musical entertainment of the highest quality. I have now heard this remarkable band on four occasions... if you have never seen them, please take my word for it, this is something special and you don't need to be a 'folkie' to appreciate it. They will be back. I will be there; make sure you join me!” Outings
BOLD NELSON'S PRAISE
Devised in 2005 for the bicentenary of the Battle of Trafalgar, the programme includes sailors’ songs, nautical dance tunes, contemporary accounts and poetry illustrating the life of the great naval hero and those who served alongside him. The story is also brought to life in traditional Dorset fashion with a Mummers' play, “King Neptune’s Defence of John Bull” .The show is in regular demand for audiences of all kinds, landlubbers included.
“Shiver me timbers, after a night listening to the New Scorpion Band I'll be blowed if I don't crave a life on the open waves. And for a landlubber who couldn't tell his poop deck from his rigging, that is quite a transformation. The entertaining five-piece, dressed in full 18th century regalia, delivered a smouldering broadside of songs, poetry and prose in King’s Lynn Town Hall... The thoroughly entertaining programme was presented beneath a large painting of Nelson, and you could almost see the great Admiral nodding in approval.” King’s Lynn Festival
JOHN BARLEYCORN IS DEAD
A seasonal evocation of country life, the land and the ritual year, with songs of farming and shepherding, poaching and merrymaking, May carols and wassails, and a lively collection of jigs, hornpipes and polkas. Readings and poetry are taken from the writings of William Barnes, Thomas Hardy, John Clare and Rudyard Kipling. Star of the show is undoubtedly the enormous Derby Ram, who makes a dramatic appearance in a song dedicated to himself.
“Totally marvellous….it was such a happy evening, and the audience were ecstatic.” Katrina Burnett, Director, Finchcocks Festival
“A magical evening... I think the whole audience felt privileged to have been there.” Porlock Arts Festival
THE HOLLY AND THE IVY
The New Scorpion Band’s rousing Yuletide celebration. A glorious collection of traditional carols gives ample opportunity for the group’s fine harmony singing, and their virtuosic instrumental playing is shown off in some vigorous and joyful dance tunes. There is a visit to the Victorian Music Hall, and Old Father Christmas himself makes an appearance alongside St. George and the Turkish Knight in a traditional Mummers’ play. Poetry and prose for the season are contributed by Charles Dickens, Thomas Hardy, Kit Wright and Patrick Kavanagh.
“Most impressive is their ability to get to the emotional heart of the carols.” Ivan Hewitt, The Times
“Well done the Arts Society for having the imagination to invite the New Scorpion Band - I am now in the mood and prepared for Christmas.” West Somerset Arts Society
OUT ON THE OCEAN celebrates Britain’s eternal relationship with the sea, in a highly entertaining mix of sailors’ songs, maritime dance tunes, and songs of fishing, smuggling and piracy. Salty poems and readings are taken from the writings of W.S. Gilbert, S.T. Coleridge, George Grossmith and Rudyard Kipling.
“I can't finish without mentioning 'Out On The Ocean' - a show put on by the New Scorpion Band; if you haven't seen them yet you don't know what you are missing, a veritable feast presented with silver service, the tops.” Traditions at the Tiger
WASSAIL ! with the BOURNEMOUTH SYMPHONY ORCHESTRA
In 2010 the New Scorpion Band was invited by the Bournemouth Symphony Orchestra to join them in the development of a shared Christmas concert. The resulting programme, WASSAIL !, premiered with great success at the Lighthouse, Poole, in December 2010, with vocal support from the Purbeck Village Quire. The concert features items from the Band, the Orchestra and both playing together, with some wintry and Yuletide poetry and another dramatic visit from the Dorset Mummers. WASSAIL returned very successfully to the Lighthouse in 2011, with additional performances at the Colston Hall, Bristol and Portsmouth Guildhall.