"“We have lent a huge amount of money to the U.S. Of course we are concerned about the safety of our assets. To be honest, I am definitely a little worried.” "

Chinese premier Wen Jiabao 12th March 2009

""We have a financial system that is run by private shareholders, managed by private institutions, and we'd like to do our best to preserve that system."

Timothy Geithner US Secretary of the Treasury, previously President of the Federal Reserve Bank of New York.1/3/2009

Sunday, February 04, 2007

Men with Black Faces - Ooooop North traditions persist

Off to see the famed and curious all male, Britannia Coco-Nutters perform at the Ellenroad Mill Engine Steaming Day. These men with blackened faces reflect a pagan past and may have Iberian / Moorish pirate connections through the northward drift of Cornish tin miners seeking work in the mid 19th century - of whom one was an ancestor of Lord Patel.

There were at one time 4 teams of dancers but only this troupe survive , originating with the Tunstead Mill Troupe who celebrated their half century in 1907.

Their unusual (and popular with children) Nut Dance is performed in a straight line. Each Dancer wears wooden discs or 'nuts' on his hands, knees and belt (see pic from their website) . During the Dance the discs which are made of maple wood are struck together in time to the music. Coconuts was the name given to the discs, probably, since the dance came to Lancashire and it is said they could resemble the protection to knees and elbows when crawling along narrow seams in the mines.

The jaunty, distinctive traditional music (composed by Anon) can be heard here played with the Stacksteads Silver Band , but is usually restricted to the concertina listen here.

3 sound and action videos have been posted on You Tube

1. Easter Saturday 2006 at Bacup Fire Station by phnates
2. Bacup Market by phnates
3. Outside the "Hare and Hounds Pub" at Stacksteads,the last Pub at which they dance on Easter Saturday by silverpig,

On Easter Staurday , regardless of weather the Nutters gather a 9am at the Travellers Rest Public House on the A671 Rochdale to Bacup road dance their way through the streets following a tradition that takes them from boundary to boundary of the Town, stopping it is said at the odd hostelry laong the way, leading to a somewhat unsteady progress later in the day.

They perform at the English Folk Song and Dance Society next weekend , details ; - Tel.020 7485 2206 Fax. 020 7285 0534 EFDSS, Cecil Sharp House, 2 Regent's Park Road, London, NW1 7AY.

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