Black Rigg Rapper

Paul Baldwin, Captain of Swords for Black Rigg Rapper explains...

Black Rigg Rapper has its beginnings in early 2007 when three members of Jet Set Morris decided to attend a workshop run by Sallyport and hosted by Pengwyn Rapper in Darlington... Little did we know!

However, having got hooked on the form, two of us decided to try and start our own rapper team. Threats, cajoling, temper tantrums and bribery led to a first meeting of interested parties at The Marine (a pub!) in Saltburn and we discovered we had enough people to make a go of it. More research found us a pub that let us practice in the upstairs room – The Winning Post in Redcar – and we've been practising there each Tuesday evening since.

We are currently a mixed side but hope eventually to have both a male and female side - if you're interested please contact us via the website www.blackriggrapper.co.uk.

We had many a meaningful discussion over the style of our kit. The final decision was black collarless shirt and shorts - hoggers - with a sash which is purple on one side and green on the other. One green and one purple sock with black shoes completed the outfit. However the final, final decision was somewhat different Ė due to sock samples not arriving we ended up doing our first gig in black trousers instead of hoggers and this seems to have stuck. There was talk of certain members being reluctant to bare their knees in public, but not having seen the knees in question, I couldnít possibly comment (although I do have my suspicions). Anyway, the colours are meant to reflect the moors and hills of North Yorkshire and the black - obviously - links in with Black Rigg (which is to the south of Wheeldale Moor on the North York Moors, although there are dozens of "Black Riggs" around the country).

We began our dancing by re-learning the traditional dance – Swalwell – which was taught at the first workshop we attended. We then worked on our second dance – our first “original” one. This was initially rather inappropriately called the Number 2 dance. We have now moved on from such childish notions and have given it a proper name – Riggwelted – which is the description of a sheep on its back and which cannot turn over. A person who cannot get up may also be decribed as “riggwelted.”

When you see us after a performance you will understand why. It originates from the Old Norse “rygg” meaning shoulder and “velte” meaning to overturn. Oddly enough there is a beer with a similar name. We are now working on our next dance. Our music is usually supplied by a harmonica, but we can draw on an accordion, or melodeon or a fiddle if we're pushed, and a banjo, too, in particularly threatening situations. (Risky, I would have thought? Ed.)

Itís a lot of fun, which is why we do it. We try not to take ourselves too seriously if things go wrong (or rather, when things go wrong). Sometimes they go right and although we donít see ourselves as being a competitive rapper side, we always try to do our best, look smart and enjoy the experience.

You can keep up to date with us and make contact via the website www.blackriggrapper.co.uk.