The Mummers Dance

“The Mummers’ Dance” (Loreena Mckennitt)
-Courtesy of Quinlan Road

I was asked by Loreena to work with her in the production of the  video for Mummers Dance. Loreena had become familiar with my photography after she  saw a feature I did on Hunting the Wren in Dingle for Cara the inflight magazine for Aer Lingus on a journey . After long conversations with her and her management I  was given the job to work on this production . 

This was my first foray into the world of film and was a big challenge. It all happened very quickly once we got our heads around the logistics. I sourced  locations in County Clare, Corofin was chosen as the location for the shoot.. Loreena and her team flew into Shannon  a day or two before the shoot.  The morning of the shoot in early December we had the perfect weather  with a light frost early on and a decending frozen fog.  I had  recuited  a  local cast  of  musicians  friends and  the Crusheen Straw boys to  dance. Our cast grew on the morning of the shoot when friends and family joined the cast. Kevin and Mattie O Brien made the straw costumes,  Aíne Phillips and Petra Brannock worked on the wardrobe. I played my accordion and became one of the cast. I  helped direct  scenes working  alongside Loreena and her Canadian director, producer and film crew.Inside my costume I carried  my Leica and shot pictures between takes.

McKennitt’s single “The Mummers’ Dance”. Hailed as a widespread success. It has had over a million hits on U tube,  it received considerable airplay in North America during the spring of 1997, and was used as the theme song for the short-lived TV series, Legacy. 

According to the The Mummer’s Dance Songfacts, Mummers and mumming can be dated to at least the 14th Century, although the form varies. The most famous mummer-related event in

North America is the annual Mummers Parade which is held on New Year’s Day in Philadelphia. Mummers also went door to door, as indicated here. This song though is not so much a tribute to mumming as a celebration of nature.