The original idea of bringing together a Guise dancing team with an ‘Obby ‘Oss was first created on 8th August 2010. A brief history follows….
Wolfshead and Vixen Morris at Stonehenge
The photo above was taken in 2001 when Rhys (little boy in the photo below) and Laetitia his mother (photo above 3rd female from left) danced with Wolfshead and Vixen Morris. They are both founder members of Boekka.
Rhys with Pete Taylor
Cassandra in her role as ‘Oss Teazer with the original Penglaz at Montol 2007 (now a founder member.)
Cassandra met Laetitia and began training her for the role of Teazer.
Cassandra & Laetitia Teazing the Penglaz ‘Oss (with Rhys’ father as rider) for Mazey 2009 in Penzance
Laetitia & Cassandra Teazing the Penglaz ‘Oss (with Rhys as rider) for Montol 2009 in Penzance.
Penkevyll the ‘Oss had a former existence as a replacement Penglaz (Penzance ‘Oss) for two years after the original Penglaz retired in April 2008. Sadly due to ongoing internal wranglings with another rival replica Penglaz, the original Penglaz returned to the festival thereby ousting both replacements ‘Osses.
For more information on this go to the Media page of Laetitia’s website and see the post on A Tale of Two Osses.
We withdrew from the festival and gave our ‘Oss a new image and a new name – Penkevyll (Cornish for horse’s head). We had already devised and performed dance routines with our ‘Oss so we acquired new kit colours and our team name Boekka (Cornish for scarecrow)
None of this happened overnight – we stripped the ‘Oss of its coloured tatters and back to its basic covering of black material with the help of others. (We were reluctant to part with this as it had been quite expensive in terms of quantity of fire retardant cloth). We preferred our ‘Oss with ears and a pair of leather ones were carefully crafted and the overall result of her image was spooky and Gothic! We introduced the occasional colour of midnight blue and purple to the black. We also made tatter tailed waistcoats with identical colours. We had previously included dark red with midnight blue, but there were different shades of red from each member and in some photographs they appeared to be pink!
After St Piran’s Day 2017 we decided it was time to give Boekka a change of image. Our kit colours are now the traditional Cornish black, white and gold.
Boekka is a Cornish ‘Oss and Teazer Guise team. In Boekka’s early years, Rhys wished to teach and perform with a Morris team that accompanied the Oss and Teazers. He successfully did so but then moved away to persue his career in March 2014. At the start of 2015 we agreed to cease having a Morris team and revert back to the Cornish tradition of ‘Oss and Teazers.
The Teazers are distinctive as they use snappers with which to ‘teaze’ the ‘Oss and occasionally unsuspecting onlookers!
It was at the Chepstow Wassail January 2017 that Cassandra decided to step down from Teazing handing her snapper and the position of main Teazer to Laetitia.
Not all events pay us to appear, so we occasionally use a ‘cadge’ pot which helps build our funds for traveling expenses.
We are seeking dark, edgy folk to be Oss riders, Teazers and musicians who are dedicated, committed and enjoy energetic practice and performance. We travel to 2 – 3 festivals, conferences and gatherings and occasionally perform at local venues around the Land’s End Peninsula.
The ‘Oss skull weighs 28 pounds and is heavy, so strength and reliability are required along with puppetry skills and a knowledge of dance is an advantage. It is a rewarding pastime visiting fascinating places and meeting interesting people. Please contact us if you are interested in joining our eldritch tribe as an Oss rider, Teazer or musician…
The following feedback was given after witnessing Penkevyll’s debut at the Spring Equinox ritual 2011 which shows the lasting impression it left upon this person:
” It was back on Ostara 2011 that I got to attend a Pagan Federation open ritual in St. Buryan. Cassandra and Laetitia had so kindly offered their garden for that specific ritual. I have such fond memories of that ceremony. An added bonus was being able to experience a Boekka performance -all complete with an Oss- which really amazed me. I knew nothing about Morris dancing or Oss teasing!”
A few years later, I met the two lovely ladies again, as they were facilitating a Morris Dance workshop that was part of Witchfest. If someone was to ask me what my most prominent and interesting memory from the UK is, that Ostara ritual is what I would pick. I would chose THAT intriguing story to tell.”
The following feedback was sent to us by someone who admired our performance and has a wonderful way of describing the impression it left with her………
I was captivated by your presence this summer at Marazion, July 15th, and lost in the power and rhythms of your dance against the dramatic backdrop of the sea beyond. I watched with increased interest and felt the very pulse of darkness and ritual coming from you. My small camera as my eye, I set forth to catch the moments when the wind took the dance to another level entangling with the tassels and flowing fabrics of your garb. For a number of years, coming to Cornwall, I have been entranced by the black carrion crows that seem to flow from place to place, sometimes at St. Ives, a favourite place. I began catching some of their movements and relationships on camera as well. When I saw you this summer the two images collided magically. And so I send to you some of my visions. I also believe in the power of darkness, mystical, dangerous, eternal.”
by Lorraine M. Tong-Oughton