Music to greet Spring season

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Local women got together to celebrate the coming of springtime at a communal celebration organised by Todmorden Frame Drum Group and the band Incidentals.

The event took place in the Fielden Centre on the afternoon of March 21. Incidentals provided frame drum music and traditional Russian Spring songs.

The celebration opened with Incidentals’ traditional Shamanic Intro. Anna Zueva-Ownes, a guest drummer, contributed a piece on an Irish drum bodhrán. Participants formed a drumming circle and joined Incidentals in playing percussion.

Brenda Pickering, who came to Welcome Spring, said: “Very interesting. I enjoyed playing the shamanic drum at the improvisational drumming bit.”

Susan Askey taught three spring-themed songs and the attendees quickly found themselves singing harmonies.

The sound of voices reverberated beautifully under the flower-shaped window and timber roof frames of the Fielden Centre.

Susan runs a Sacred Song group that meets on the first Sunday of every month at 2 pm to sing holy songs from different traditions.

Dorothy Smith, a Cornholme resident, said she especially enjoyed the singing and thought it was lovely.

The participants learnt a Russian chant translated into English.

This chant accompanies traditional rites of asking the birds to bring spring.

Everyone received a paper bird and inside it wrote down her wish for this time of renewal.

Then the birds were tied to a blue cord, and, singing the bird song, the participants circumnavigated the drummer in the centre of the circle.

More circle dances followed. Sandi and Irene, members of the circle dance group led by Sophia Hatch that meets at the Oddfellows Hall, Todmorden on Thursday mornings, taught everyone slow and fast dances. Anna Butler, a local folk musician, provided the music on her recorder and fiddle.

Lesley Horsfall said about the celebration: “Very good. Lovely atmosphere. I have never done circle dancing before, thank you for the experience.”

Todmorden Frame Drum Group is open for all who want to learn how to play frame drums, one of the most ancient instruments on earth, originating in the Middles East millennia ago.

Incidentals is an all-women frame drum band.

Incidentals are performing on April 25 at Women in Calderdale’s fundraising event in the Fielden Centre, and on May 3 at Alternatiba Todmorden, a festival of climate change solutions.