'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.