Navajos and Pirates

We wrote this song to commemorate those courageous young men and women who stood up to Nazism in late 1930s Germany and on into the war years. Known collectively as the Edelweiss Pirates because of the metal badges they wore emblazoned with the flower, their group name in Cologne was The Navajos.

The Poor Refugee

Music: Québécois, arr. Na-Mara, Lyrics P. McNamara

Our attempt to record the universal travails of refugees was written some years ago as a counterweight to the multiplicity of songs that glorify battles and their heroes. The words are set to the tune of traditional Québécois song, Le Vieux Cheval, as performed by Le Vent du Nord.

The English Penny

Music: Na-Mara, Lyrics P. McNamara

Penelope Phelps, later Fyvel, volunteered as a nurse with the International Brigades in the Spanish Civil War where she was affectionately awarded the soubriquet, The English Penny. Although badly wounded, Penny returned home and lived to a great age.  This song uses her own words in an imagined conversation with a modern-day nurse to contrast the comforts of her later life with the privations she suffered during the conflict in Spain.

The Black Widows

Music: Na-Mara, Lyrics P. McNamara

One irony of early days of life insurance was that it induced some malefactors to murder. In the impoverished tenements of inner-city Victorian Britain, unscrupulous parties would take out multiple policies on unsuspecting partners and then poison them slowly with arsenic extracted from fly paper.  Health conditions in such areas were sufficiently appalling that doctors struggled to distinguish the effects of poison from natural illnesses.  This particular tale is recorded in Angela Brabin’s 2003 book, ‘The Black Widows of Liverpool’.

If I Had But One True Love

(Si j'avais un bon ami, Variation on Chansons populaires du Nivernais et du Morvan, collectées par A. Millien, à Beaumont-la-Ferrière auprès de M. J. Magnand en 1878 – As recorded by Havelange in 2014.)

Trad: French,   Arr. Na-Mara

This is a traditional song of yearning we have translated from the playing of Wallonian folk trio, Havelange.