The Falmouth Polka (Polka Aberfala in Cornish) was played as a march for Cornish Tea Treats. Tea Treats were a popular entertainment in Cornwall during the nineteenth century and well into the twentieth. As well as traditional Cornish fare such as saffron buns and splits with jam and cream there were games and dances, but the key feature was the music played throughout by the local band. The Cornish musical scholar and historian, Dr Ralph Dunstan, was a bandsman playing for just such events in his youth in the mid nineteenth century. He included arrangements of some of these Teat Treat tunes in his collection “Lyver Canow Kernewek – The Cornish Song book” published in 1929. This publication was part of a wider Celtic revival in Cornwall and served to keep these tunes within Cornish instrumental Tradition. They were captured by the Racca Project in 1995/97 and continue their musical trajectory as dance and instrumental music today.
The Falmouth Polka as arranged by by Ralph Dunstan:
The Falmouth Polka as captured for the Racca Project 1995-97:
Dunstan, Ralph, ed. The Cornish Song Book, Lyver Canow Kernewek. (London: Reid Bros Ltd 1929) p78