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Asteveryn - Cornish Music and Dance

 

'Asteveryn' is a Cornish Dance Demonstration Team and Troyl (Ceili) Band.   The name emerged by the renaming of the group formerly known as Cam Kernewek, meaning Cornish Step, following the resignation from the group, at the end of 1997, of its two remaining founder members, Merv and Alison Davey.   Not only this group, but the whole expanding network of dance groups within the Duchy owe Merv and Alison a debt of gratitude for restoring to us the very real and powerful concept of Cornish Dance and the development of the music that accompanies it.   The timing of this site is an attempt to recognise and celebrate the fact that we have been promoting Cornish Dancing for twenty glorious years.   This is not to say that there was no such concept or activity before this period, but only that it has been - thanks to Merv's & Alison's research - placed firmly in the public arena.   The Cornish Dance Society has proposals to develop its own website and it is hoped that the history of the primary research undertaken, and the events which led up to it, will be fully covered within that site.

 

'ASTEVERYN' simply means 'let us replenish, refill, pour back etc' within the context of replacing that which, for whatever reason, is missing.   It is a recognition that Cornish culture, generally, has been stifled and supplanted by a non-Cornish overlay which even now intrudes into what we are doing and which only too easily becomes the 'soft option'.   Culture is, and should be, fun and there is enough of it world-wide to satisfy any appetite.   True culture, however, comes from how we,the people, express our historic Cornish identity within its modern context.   This is inextricably linked to our territory - Cornwall!

 

This represents in many ways what I feel was the philosophical motivation for the emergence of such groups as Cam Kernewek, Ros Keltek and the many groups which followed.   This was manifested by a strongly felt need to strengthen missing aspects of Cornwall's musical and cultural identity.   It is a need which has given rise to the publication of not only Racca [Cornish Session Music] but also Racca 2 as an ongoing development.   This need must also be true of music and dance generally in that it is not only the performance of existing traditional material but also the enhancement and development of both disciplines.

 

The existing repertoire has a valuable mix of styles but some of these may be shown to have non-Cornish influences - an obvious example being the East European style of 'The Newlyn Fishermen's Reel'.   This, in itself, is not a bad thing considering the cosmopolitan nature of Cornish development and the spread of the Cornish people worldwide.   The development of music and dance based on synthesising these existing styles will eventually become truly Cornish material and will further influence future developments.   The key, now, is not to stand still but to develop and to enhance.

 

What is even more important, is not to allow ourselves to be diverted from the pleasurable task ahead of us.

 

"Asteveryn agan Ertach Kernewek"