Handed Down

The Keeper with Andrew Burn

October 13, 2022 Jenny Shaw Season 3 Episode 3
Handed Down
The Keeper with Andrew Burn
Show Notes

Many of us know The Keeper as a slightly odd - but fun - song from our school days. All together now:



No need to shout! reprimands a weary teacher.

But away from the sanitised and bowdlerised versions of our childhoods lurks a dark song of sexual pursuit. You didn’t really think all those does were female deer, did you?

We talk about Camus, the band Andrew has been a part of for four decades, and explore its influences from the Northumbrian, Shetland and Irish traditions. The band’s version of The Keeper combines different versions and makes some deliberate choices. They often run a competition for keen-eared listeners at their gigs, and if you listen to this episode you will get the answer, and if you then go to one of their gigs you’ll win a free CD!

As we talk about this traditional song and its themes, we also chat about the time that Andrew asked Martin Carthy about guitar tunings in a folk club toilet, and a rare sighting of Steve Roud at St Neots' folk club (but did he join in with the chorus?)

Andrew is a Northumbrian piper and we chat about the way that the lockdown brought together the national and international Northumbrian piping community, creating such a surge of competition entries that the queen of Northumbrian pipes Kathryn Tickell herself had to get involved.

If you’ve ever wondered how this podcast got started, stay tuned because all is revealed! This leads to a chat about children’s songs on which Andrew – or Professor Burn as he’s also known – is an expert. Will you, like me, suddenly remember those childhood skipping songs? And, in a world of wonderful diversity, what new songs from around the world can we hear in today’s playgrounds? 


The Keeper (trad) performed live by Camus at the Ely Folk Club. You can see a video of this recording here https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=9uB0EVItk8w

Roaring Boys (Brian Cleary) performed by Camus. You can see a video of this recording here https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=aOxoCBwxaUQ

Equinox Hornpipe (Andrew Burn) https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Optcf45MD_Q 

There are also excerpts from two sets of tunes from Camus’ 2021 EP Time and Again:

  • Da Day Dawn (trad), Christmas Day I’ da Morning (trad), Da Alamoutie (trad). Three traditional Shetland tunes. 
  • Three Day Week/Alan Burn’s Memorial Jig (Andrew Burn). 

Time and Again can be found on various streaming services, please visit the band’s website for all the links, and there's a preview of the forthcoming album here.

Other links

The Mudcat thread that Andrew references, featuring Malcolm Douglas, can be found here.  

The Opie archive can be found here.  

You can find out more about Professor Andrew Burn’s research interests here