The Hawk and Hares: New Music from Dartmoor

September 2014. £9 + £1.50 p&p.

  

This album is a collaboration between people in two small Devon towns, Chagford and Moretonhampstead. It is a showcase of some of the best new music being played in the area. But it is also a sign of peace: these two towns have not always seen eye to eye. In fact, their relationship in the past might be more accurately described as an eye for an eye.

The rivalry began in 1207, when the lord of Moretonhampstead acquired a charter to hold a market. The lord of Chagford, four miles away, was none too happy about this, as it clashed with his market, which was doing very well, thank you very much. It erupted into a legal battle in the king’s court. Tensions grew in the early 14th century, when Chagford was made a stannary town for the assaying of tin. In the Civil Wars, Chagford sided with the Cavaliers - so Moreton naturally embraced the Roundheads. Thus it went on, both towns bitterly resenting the other. In 1970, when the council planned to send both towns’ children to one school, there was an outcry. Moretonians did not want their cherubs sent to Chagford, and Chagford folk could not bear the thought of sending their little darlings to Moreton. So the kids were sent to schools thirty miles apart.

Chagford and Moreton actually have much in common. They nestle in the folds of the most beautiful landscape on the northeast edge of Dartmoor. The pubs are often full, and events such as the pantomimes, Chagford Show and Moreton Carnival are always well-attended. Most of all, both places love their music. Each month, open-mic sessions are held in Chagford and mic-less folk nights take place in Moreton. Chagford’s music lovers were the driving force behind the Chagstock festival, held nearby. The culmination of all this musical activity is Moreton’s Music Day, which showcases the talent to be found in the vicinity with forty acts performing free for all comers.

At a party in late 2013, Chris Back, Steve Dooley and myself decided to produce a Moreton-Chagford sampler album. Steve came up with the title. ‘The hawk’ represents the sparrowhawk that the lord of Moretonhampstead had to give to the king in the middle ages, and the ‘hares’ are the three hares with interlocking ears, which is the symbol of the Tinners, standing for Chagford’s past as a stannary town.

The result is an extraordinary mix, from pop tunes to experimental techno-bagpipes. There are songs of love and loss, and even a tale of ravens eating a baby. It all adds up to a bundle of sounds of lives lived differently – just twelve of the many small explosions of creativity that happen daily in these two small towns.

Ian Mortimer, 2014

 

 

Contact the organisers

The CD contains a 16pp colour booklet. Copies are available online for £9 plus postage and packing (£1.50 to a UK address). £2 from every sale goes to a local charity - £1 for the Jubilee Hall, Chagford, and £1 to the League of Friends of Moretonhampstead Cottage Hospital.

  1. Walking with your other man (3:18) – The Levi Moretons
  2. One More Dance (4:47) – Lillian Todd-Jones
  3. Blackingstone Ravens (6.05) – The Kestor String Band
  4. This Road (3:38) – Trip Advisor
  5. Three Wishes (4:13) – Wez Cutler
  6. Country Foxes (4:24) – Skinny Dog
  7. It doesn’t matter to me (4:18) – Ian Mortimer
  8. The Way (3:39) – CakeyGirl
  9. Bone to pick (2:53) – With Nell & I
  10. Shoreline (3:29) – Matty Matty
  11. Romeo (2:31) – The Nosey Crows
  12. Now is the time for the apple to fall (3:30) – David Faulkner & Solarference

Total time: 46:49