R&P Traditions ~ preserving & re-writing cultural history within music...?

Hello R&P :)

I'm just enjoying a song from Sting's new 'Winter' album {it's the only song on it I like} : 'Soul Cake'


Youtube thumbnail


Now, Sting has taken a British tradition associated with Samhain {All Hallows Eve} / All Saints Day {Nov 1}, where children would go from door-to-door and beg a 'soul cake' in return for saying prayers for the dead of each household, and transferred it to Christmas / Yule. (Oh, and the song was previously done by Peter Paul & Mary, but most of the main lyrics come from the traditional rhymes).

So, this got me thinking...

What songs can you think of that refer to cultural traditions {such as wassailing, mummers plays, carol singing, etc.}?

And are there any other songs where the tradition has been 'moved' to fit the writer's ideas?

'The Mummers Dance' ~ Loreena McKennitt


Youtube thumbnail


BQ : What is your favourite British tradition?

BQ2 : What is your favourite tradition from another country?

BQ3 : What 'lost' tradition {from any country} would you like to see revived?

Update 2:

* * * * * * * * *

Libby : 'Tradition' is open to interpretation :)

Update 3:

Captain Futility : There was a Q on "Brain of Britain" a few weeks ago about that way of sheep counting... ah! "Yan Tan Tethera" :)

7 Answers

  • 1 decade ago
    Favorite Answer

    hi silver,

    great question

    gower wassail - shirley collins

    i was looking for the steeleye span version, but i suppose shirley doesn't get the exposure she deserves

    i know there must be loads more, but i've gone completely blank


    old molly metcalfe - jake thackray

    a song referencing the ancient northern methods of counting sheep, derived from an old celtic language

    ba: bob apple

  • 4 years ago

    There are many squabbles about the 'real' story in Viet Nam. It's constantly being re-written, not only for the class rooms, but by movies like Rambo. Lots of people complain that there were never enough American troops to win in Viet Nam. Nevertheless, at one time we had well over 500 thousand troops in Viet Nam, we bombed almost always from extreme heights over the north, we barraged with battleships from way off short, we defoliated with Agent Orange, we burned rural farms with Napalm which burned so many innocents to death. We attacked using our fancy helicopters and we lost. We ended up running into the ocean while boats and helicopters tried to evacuate us as fast as possible. And people are writing histories claiming we won. How many American troops died? Was it 50 thousand? How many seriously wounded? How many hooked on drugs? How many suffering, still, mental disorders from this intensely hated and stupid war? Yet, I'll bet that the Viet Nam war, as taught in our schools, will create a new history; a new reality that never existed.

  • 1 decade ago

    Indian Sunset - Elton John


    Youtube thumbnail

    He sings about Indian smoke signal, throwing tomahawks, riding horses and running gauntlets.

    It's a good song all around but the first few minutes totally rule.

    BA: I like the liveliness and the raucous behavior of Parliament. All the booing and hissing and hear hears, this clip pretty much sums it up for me:


    Youtube thumbnail

    I'd watch C-Span all day long if it was anything like that.

    BA2: Siesta. It didn't take a genius to come up with it, anyone who eats a big lunch knows it's nap time next, but to actually institutionalize it? That's where the brilliance comes in to play.

    BA3: I'd like to see Americans return to a tradition of not getting involved in other peoples beefs. That'd be a hoot.

  • 1 decade ago

    Raconteur Troubadour - Gentle Giant


    Youtube thumbnail

    About a troubadour roaming from town to town playing music and telling stories in the village square.

    To Defy the Laws of Tradition - Primus


    Youtube thumbnail

    Against traditions, but still...

    BQ: Picking mushrooms, I think in an area near Stonehenge, and then drying them and giving them to friends and family. (I heard about it from several British acquaintances)

    BQ2: Taking cannabis, making it into charas, and smoking it in chillums. They've been doing it in Parvatti Valley in the Indian Himalayas for thousands of years.

    BQ3: Electric Kool-Aid Acid Test parties.

    Didn't mean to have them all drug related, but that's how it came out.

  • How do you think about the answers? You can sign in to vote the answer.
  • 1 decade ago

    They were just talking about his new album on TV. It does sound different from his usual outings.

    Gentle Giant's infusion of Madrigalesque singing, into Prog --


    Youtube thumbnail

    Peter Gabriel's use of African instruments and traditional songs, in his 3rd album from 1980 -- 6 years ahead of Paul Simon.

    ( cannot find the original with the Tribal singing :( --


    Youtube thumbnail

    -- and Gabriel's use of India's "double-violin" by Shankar on this track --


    Youtube thumbnail

    -- and reducing percussion to simpler form --


    Youtube thumbnail

    BQ -- The "English Garden" -- where thickets and weeds are welcomed around the outside of the house.

    In the U.S. -- this is "frowned" upon.

    BQ2 -- The Saunas followed by Ice Dips, which I assume started in the Nordic countries.

    BQ3 -- In the U.S. -- Manners & respect for our Elders.

    Sorry, not sure if I "got" the spirit of your question.

    Edit --

    Jimmy Page -- "Black Mountain Side" ( with the Indian Tablas )

    { could not find the original from Led Zeppelin I... grrrr !! } --


    Youtube thumbnail


  • Anonymous
    1 decade ago

    irish music, half our ballads are about

    1) drink

    2) the famine/ going to america

    3) unrequited love

    4) the traditions changing with the younger generation eg

    the town i loved so well

    dublin in the rare auld times

    and so on so forth.

    as for popular international songs about tradition hmmm

    walk like an egyptian :P haha only joking

    Source(s): irish bass player
  • 1 decade ago



    this is a song related to a game girls play in trinadad. the recording is from alan lomax's carribean journey recordings for the library of congress.


    this is a phyllis dillon song that uses the melody and parts of the lyrics.

    BQ: dancing in sidewalk chalk drawings with chimney sweeps

    BQ2: the good old fashioned african lip plates

    BQ3: hard to top jimmy's answer on this one

Still have questions? Get your answers by asking now.