Cruel Sister for three voices (SSA), a traditional ballad arranged by Sarah Dacey.
Duration: 4 minutes.
Also published as part of UYMP's Songspin Songbook, ISMN M 57036 603 3.
This murder ballad first appeared in broadside in 1656 as The Twa Sisters but is also known as Binnorie and The Singing Bone. The versions vary a great deal, for example the Norse version has the authorities bring the family a pipe to identify the murderer. When the older sister plays it, blood drips from it and she is condemned to death and pulled apart by horses. My version ends with her unsuccessfully trying to smash the harp in two and then running into the forests, driven mad by the song which will forever pursue her.
First performed by Juice Vocal Ensemble on 28th July 2010 at Harrogate Festival, St James’ Church, Birstwith.