Chorley Cakewalk

What it is about

A traditional cakewalk competition performed annually in Chorley, Lancashire, in which the winner receives a prize of a Chorley Cake which is a pastry filled with currants.

Actually it is just a piece of wishful thinking. Chorley Cake exists and a cakewalk is a real dance, but nobody has linked them together ... yet.

How it was written

A piece of cake (alright, enough of the puns). The verse and chorus are fairly straightforward pieces of fun based on cakewalk and reggae rhythms. The ending uses a polyrhythm, or cross-rhythm, two different rhythms played at the same time.


Chorley Cakewalk polyrhythm (0:11)
Chorley Cakewalk polyrhythm
Chorley Cakewalk polyrhythm

The simplest polyrhythm has two rhythms and is excitingly labelled "3 over 2". One rhythm has three beats to a bar and the second has two.

Chorley Cake polyrhythm is 3 over 2. The congas play 6/8 at the prevailing tempo of 132bpm and the low tom plays 4/4 at 88bpm. A ride bell provides added interest, it has a 6/8 rhythm with a ONE-and-TWO-and-three-AND pattern followed by one-AND-two-AND-three-and pattern.

Such a simple idea lets you quickly build up incredibly dense and interesting sounds.

Abakua rules

Chorley Cakewalk ending (0:15)
Chorley Cakewalk ending
Chorley Cakewalk ending

The ending uses an Afro-Cuban polyrhythm called Abakua. In addition to the toms, cowbell, ride bell, and crash cymbal found in a standard drumset, the percussion includes bongo, cabasa, conga, cuica and maracas. The guitar plays an accompanying sequence of 6/8 riffs before switching over to end in 4/4.

If you like Abakua why not try Bintin, or Fanga, even the names are intriguing. You can get them from the Rhythms page of the hugely informative SongTrellis website.

Tech spec

Title: Chorley Cakewalk

Key: G

Tempo: 132bpm

Length: 3' 24"

Track 1: French Horn melody

Track 2: accordion harmony

Track 3: grand piano

Track 4: nylon guitar

Track 5: pick bass

Track 6: percussion

Track 7: drumset

Genre: Pop, Rock