John Speller's Web Pages Carol of the Butte Copper Miners

John Speller's Web Pages - Cornish carols
Carol of the Butte Copper Miners
A typical example of a Cornish fuguing tune of the middle of the nineteenth century, this carol is thought to have been written by a Mr. William Eade of Redruth or Illogan in Cornwall. It was sung by the Cornish tin miners of the nineteenth century . The tin mining industry of Cornwall was in decline throughout the nineteenth century owing to competition from Bolivia and many of the Cornish miners moved to North America in search of employment, taking their musical tradition with them. Some of these ended up in the copper mines of Butte, Montana, where Wyland D. Hand found this carol still in use in 1945, long after it had ceased to be sung in its native Cornwall. [See Wyland C. Hand, Charles Cutts, Robert C. Wylder and Betty Wilder, "Songs of the Butte Miners," Western Folklore, 9:1 (January 1950), pp. 1ff.]

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