Cornish National Music Archive

Music of the Roseland Peninsula

This is a new project for 2024 and more information will be added as and when it is available

Link to the project overview: The Project

Links to Events: 

Link to main website: Cornish National Music Archive


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The Music of the Roseland project is being led by the Roseland Music Society in collaboration with the Cornish National Music Archive and local organisations in the area including Gerrans and Porthscatho Old Cornwall Society. A series of events are being held during 2024 to celebrate the music and musicians of the Roseland Peninsula. The project will culminate in a series of community workshops to explore carols from the area together with a service including these carols at Truro Cathedral on 4th December 2024.

What are we doing?

We’re working with community musicians and researchers to gather information, write it up into articles which will be published here on the website, and sharing it on social media. We’re also running a series of events and workshops throughout 2024 to engage local schools, communities with music related to the Roseland. This will include:

  • January/February Series of workshops, led by Emma Campbell, in four Roseland primary schools, featuring the Bohortha Dances
  • 8th February: Composer workshop, led by Ian Stephens, with students of The Roseland Academy
  • 9th February: Concert from the Roseland Music Society to include the Roseland premier of Carricknath, by Ian Stephens
  • 10th February: Workshop, exhibition, performance and memory day at Gerrans Parish Hall featuring schools’ performance of Bohortha Dances, St Anthony’s Noyse, Roseland Furry and more!
  • April: Troyl featuring especially commissioned Roseland–related folk songs and dance – more details to be announced!
  • July/August: Brass band concert featuring new arrangements of historic hymn tunes named after Roseland – more details to be announced!
  • Autumn term: school workshops for carols.
  • November/December: Carolling on the Roseland, reintroducing historic carol repertoire known in the Roseland area to local performing groups – more details to be announced!
  • Working with the Federation of Old Cornwall Societies on a forthcoming seasonal project later in the year!

Where and what is the Roseland?

The name “Roseland” contains the Cornish word ros which means hill-spur, or peninsula; the Roseland is the peninsula in south Cornwall delineated by the Fal River to the north and  the sea to the south. Originally it consisted of just four ecclesiastic parishes; St Anthony in Roseland, Gerrans, St Just in Roseland, and Philleigh. However, many now also include the parishes of Ruan Lanihorne, and Veryan. The former port and borough of Tregony is often referred to as the “Gateway to the Roseland” and is also included in our project.

The Roseland is a rural area with no major towns; historically farming and fishing were major industries, but these days is more reliant in tourism. It is renowned for its wonderful landscapes, sheltered coves and creeks, and beautiful villages and harbours. The whole area is part of the South Cornwall National Landscape (formerly AONB). There are four primary schools and the Roseland Academy in Tregony, which we will seek to engage in the project.

Can you help?

We are gradually building a list of articles that ‘Music on the Roseland’ project – we’ve made a start but there’s much more to find!

Do you know of a group, musician, song, dance, piece of music, venue – or something else – that should be included in the project? Why not write a short article about it for the website? Or, let us know about it and we can follow it up!

The Roseland will probably have different definitions depending on who you’re asking, so we’re not making any particularly hard or fast boundaries – we’re just looking to fill the map with music!

If you’re not sure whether your idea falls within the Roseland, write it up or get in touch anyway! We would still love to include it on the website and so we can add more information about music in Cornwall.

Website link:  Cornish National Music Archive - Music of the Roseland

On the 24th April we are delighted to be working with the Roseland Festival to hold a Cornish Troyl

Cornish Troyl: Troyl is the Cornish name for an informal evening with songs, music, and dances. In the nineteenth century they were held in the fish cellars around the Cornish coast to celebrate the end of the pilchard season (or for that matter any other excuse for a party).

The Roseland Furry Dance: Like many communities across Cornwall, the villages of the Roseland peninsula celebrated feast days and regattas with their own Furry Dance. We have been collecting information about the Roseland furry and find that they had their own distinctive dance quite different from that of the famous Helston Furry. With the help of a new tune written by Finley Bray we will be re-introducing the Roseland Furry at our Troyl. If anyone has any memories, stories of photos of the Furry Dance on the Roseland please get in touch with us via the or simply bring them along on the night!

Traditional Folk Songs from the Roseland: Hidden amongst the Roseland’s rich musical heritage we found fragments of two folk songs that captured the world of 19th century fishing and farming, the Herring Song and the Oxen Ploughing. Martha Woods has been commissioned to re-work and arrange these songs for us and will be singing them at the Troyl.

Leading us for the dancing and singing:

Bray Family: The Bray Family, Matt, Finley and Eva, hail from Padstow, play, dance and sing to Cornish and Celtic music. They love May Day and celebrating Cornish culture and naturally have been regulars to 'Lowender Peran' festival, drawing influence from a variety of visiting groups as well as homegrown musicians, singers, and dancers. In May 2023 Finley recorded an EP featuring self-penned tunes as well as music influenced from Padstow. .

Martha Woods: Martha Woods is a composer, songwriter multi-instrumentalist from Cornwall. Having grown up immersed in Cornish folk music and dance, she studied Folk and Traditional Music at Newcastle University with a year abroad at the University of Limerick. Martha draws inspiration from folk traditions across Britain and Ireland, combining them with more contemporary genres. She has just released her debut solo album Mis Kevardhu (meaning 'December' or literally 'darkest month') celebrating Christmas and the turn of the year. . Martha has bee especially commissioned by the Music of the Roseland Project to arrange and perform some traditional songs from the Roseland including “Oxen Ploughing”. This song captures the story of the Oxen used for ploughing and the way they were steered by calling out their names.

Du Hag Owr: Du Hag Owr Shanty group (the name translates as the Cornish colours ‘Black and Gold’) are based on the Roseland peninsula, Cornwall. With over decade of singing together they’ve enjoyed performing at shanty events including main stage at Falmouth shanty festival and many others across the area. They wrote and performed the soundtrack to ‘Oyster Gatherers Then And Now’, a film featured in the 2010 Cornwall Film Festival. But their greatest showcase came last June, when they were chosen to entertain presidents, prime ministers and a chancellor at a barbeque on the beach for the G7 in Carbis Bay! .

The Ceilidh Dances: The Bray family will join forces with Martha Woods to create our own Ceilidh Band with caller Jowdy Davey. As well teaching the Roseland Furry they will take you through some folk dances from Cornwall and beyond. Dances for all ages, easy to learn and great fun.

Website link:  Cornish National Music Archive - Music of the Roseland

Booking link: Via 'Visit Truro' website

Bray Family
Du Hag Owr
Martha Woods