Singing while working really passes the time and can turn a very menial task into something quite beautiful and meditative. Lets take Sailors and their Sea shanties… these were the songs that the sailors sung when they had heavy work going on for some time – like raising or lowering a heavy sail.
The songs are quite rhythmical and would help the sailors keep together, perhaps giving them a rest in between hauls. While researching this I came across a rather interesting article called The 10 manliest sea shanties – number 9 is one of my all time favourite songs (and so sad too)
And of course the other trades would have had their own “working songs”. From farm workers taking part in the harvest to the women doing weaving and spinning. These songs formed part of popular culture, community and shared bonds of labour and even family life. It was all tied together.
So what has this to do with baking? Well the different stages leading up to the final loaf all involve some hard work. The growing of wheat (ploughing the land, sowing the seed and harvesting), the milling of the grain to make flour and then the baker’s work too. For every stage of this there is a folk song somewhere! (think of “Pat a cake, bakers man…..”)
I realised the other day that when I am quietly going about a task – doing household chores or painting with my daughter – there is often a strong compulsion to hum or sing a tune. I am sure many of you do the same. What great joy it gives me when my children join in too having heard the same song sooo many times!
Granted – this is not necessarily being completely mindful of the task in hand (you can read about Mindful baking in my next blog) but it certainly is a lovely thing to do – rather therapeutic in itself.
Music has always been a huge part of my life. I grew up listening to my Dad play his grand piano almost constantly. And my mum’s great love is listening to music – of all kinds. And so it was no wonder I eventually took to singing, although it took me until the ripe old age of 24 before I ever sang in public!
Being fan of folk music and song, here’s a little English song about a Miller
Hope to see you all at the next Community Bake!