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Scarborough Fair

The traditional folk song, Scarborough Fair, dates back to Medieval times and refers to an old fair in Scarborough, Yorkshire. The market fair included traders, merchants, entertainers and food vendors, starting from the 14th century until the 18th century. Today, several fairs are held in remembrance of the original.

‘Scarborough Fair’ Lyrics

The lyrics in ‘Scarborough Fair’ are about unrequited love; a man trying to attain his true love. The young man requests impossible tasks from his former lover, saying that if she can perform them, he will take her back. In return, she requests impossible tasks of him, saying she will perform hers when he performs his. In the Middle Ages, the herbs mentioned in the song represented virtues that were important to the lyrics. Parsley was comfort, sage was strength, rosemary was love and thyme was courage.

Simon and Garfunkel’s Version

“Paul Simon learned the song in 1965 while visiting British folk singer Martin Carthy in London. Art Garfunkel adapted the arrangement, integrating elements of another song Simon had written called “Canticle,” which in turn was adapted from yet another Simon song, “The Side of a Hill.””

History of the Folk Song ‘Scarborough Fair’ – LiveAbout

My Version

In my re-imagined/re-composed version and recording of the traditional tune, thought was given to the costume and the videography. During the editing light balance and overall visual appearance were adjusted to convey a dreamlike, fairytale atmosphere. When I was recording the vocals it seemed, at times, as though I was fighting an invisible enemy. This gave my voice a different quality: (a) a sense of weak, youthful innocence similar to a feeling of indolence (Scarborough Fair), (b) a strong, macho/masculine presence similar to a military officer recounting events on a battlefield (Canticle).

Click here for the video: Scarborough Fair/Canticle

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