The Ceremony of May
CD. Produced in 2010.
Poetry and song lyrics by Rose Blakeley. Music written and arranged by Garry Blakeley. Mastering and sound production by Edd Blakeley.
Garry had the idea of adding music to some of the poems from my book A Pathway through the Seasons, and in doing so has created a vibrant album full of atmosphere and character that is quintessentially English. With its heady mix of dance tunes, added songs and spoken word, it relates the story of Hastings Jack-in-the-Green, a unique and traditional event, which I have always had a deep passion for.
Garry's prolific skills as a producer/performer come into play utilising an array of instruments and his own distinct vocals. Featuring full-blown folk rock arrangements alongside more subtle acoustic moments, the dynamic melodies provide a wide soundscape to accompany the evocative storytelling of Jane Downes on a production overflowing with genuine highlights.
This recording provides a colourful slice of British culture that will whisk you away in the haze of May Day, whilst enhancing a truly great tradition.
For further information or to buy a copy of The Ceremony of May click here -
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The Ceremony of May is performed as a live show and was cited a “complete triumph” when premiered at the Hastings Jack-in-the-Green festival and rapturously received at the Rochester Sweeps festival.
The Garry Blakeley Band productions present the live shows and the members are:
Garry Blakeley - Fiddle/Vocals
Edd Blakeley - Bass Guitar/Vocals/Sound
Jim Board - Guitar
Russell Field - Drums/Percussion/Vocals
Rose Blakeley - Writer
Jane Downes - Story Teller, Singer and Narrator
From The Ceremony of May
“Darkness fades before a new moon, a crescent pale and still,
A gathering awaits dawn’s magic, figures silhouette the hill.
The lime leaf is entwined with the hawthorn’s pure, white lace,
Whilst flowers bloom within ivy crowns around each bonny face.
From garlands in the early mist, coloured ribbons fly,
As the top hat, garnished with feather and oak, on each head is held high.
Now, the sky it blushes crimson, so the dancers greet the sun,
Hand-in-hand with time once more, May’s morning has begun…”
“…At last, we wait with baited breath, for Jack to leave his stand,
The seasons have turned full circle as we watch the merry band.
Guarded closely he faces his fate, the minstrels tune the drum,
Round and round the leaf-men go, for the ‘One-in-the-Green’ his time has come!
With the traditional, token clashing of wood, the enchantment takes its hold
And we cast away the memories of a winter long and cold.
So sadly Jack, now, you must fall… and down he lies for all to see!
He’s slain now! Strip his coat and keep. The spirit of summer at last is free!”
“Riveting. As potent a mixture of music and words as I've heard in a long time - a beautifully modulated voice added to the artistry of one of the best fiddlers and fiddle composers in the country. On the first hearing I felt as though I'd tapped into something ageless, by the third I felt I'd known the tunes and the poems all my days.” Brian McNeill (Feast of Fiddles)
“This will set the blood coursing through your veins!” Alan Titchmarsh (BBC National Radio)
"Having just spent the 'evening of the year' at Rye Community Centre I just had to say how fantastic the whole arrangement was. The musicians, narration, lyrics and overall presentation was so heart warming I can't wait for the band's next offering in May next year." Audience member
For further information and event details find The Garry Blakeley Band on
Photos of the live show were taken by whitewheel photography.
To buy you will be redirected to Garry's website.