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Sheffield Carols on Songs of praise


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We had our own village carols do in a Bradford on Avon pub on Sunday and an absolute gas it was too, including a dozen local musicians with a couple of concertinas among them. Authentically crowded, we sang some of the Sheffield carols but also some from our own area we'd researched. A particularly nice touch was when a regular in the Sheffield sings who (unbeknownst to us) was visiting the area, offerred to lead Stannington and sang it beautifully. It felt a bit like passing on the torch :)

 

We're doing it all over again this coming Sunday. Anyone interested look here!

 

Chris

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We had our own village carols do in a Bradford on Avon pub on Sunday and an absolute gas it was too, including a dozen local musicians with a couple of concertinas among them. Authentically crowded, we sang some of the Sheffield carols but also some from our own area we'd researched. A particularly nice touch was when a regular in the Sheffield sings who (unbeknownst to us) was visiting the area, offerred to lead Stannington and sang it beautifully. It felt a bit like passing on the torch :)

 

We're doing it all over again this coming Sunday. Anyone interested look here!

 

Chris

 

Looks fun biggrin.gif hope you have a warmer time than I did this last weekend playing in Robin Hoods Bay for the Victorian weekend.

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I saw the Songs of Praise program - the carols just don't sound right sung by a 'trained' choir.

 

 

I agree. I thought the BBC missed a trick. Rather than sanitise the folk carols, feature them as they are. I would have liked to have seen the whole performance of the West Gallery Carol and also while I enjoyed Kate Rusby singing While Shepherds watched to Sweet Chiming bells it really need a group of singers to sing the "Chiming Bells" chorus to do it justice.

 

Still, I suppose what they featured was better than nothing.

 

Geoff

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while I enjoyed Kate Rusby singing While Shepherds watched to Sweet Chiming bells it really need a group of singers to sing the "Chiming Bells" chorus to do it justice.

 

Havwn't sen this yet but that puts me right off. This stuff isn't meant to be sung this way. It was one that we sung last Sunday - that's how it's supposed to sound!

 

Chris

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It was Songs of Praise after all , the bit from the Blue Ball was just a taste of the real thing. They are normally sung without accompaniment or just a piano or electric organ, In the past they went round with fiddles ,cellos and a bass etc. I rember fiddles and a concertina in the 60s but usuallly the unaccompanied singing led off by a 'striker' to get the best key is the most powerful.

 

The band at Red Lion Grenoside is a recent thing and is now associated with Grenoside Sword Dancers and ian Russell's festival in December.

 

Nice feel of the old West Gallery bands.

 

 

In the past the carols were much more widely sung around the country. In this area they stayed sung in South Yorks and NE Derbyshire , often in pubs and chapels or roud the houses and countryside after the Church tried to standardise the types of carol and the tunes and more importantly the keys and when Organs replaced the West Gallery Bands and their like...

There is even a group in GlenRock in the USA who were founded by singers from the textile areas of the South Pennine Yorks/Lancs border area.

 

 

IUncidentally in the book De Keltorum by Gerald of Wales in the 1300s he mention sthe celts of Wales and Yorkshire favouring such singing in parts. We did have people still speaking Romano British in isolated areas of Northumbria and Mercia at the time but the Saxon and Danish world had been converted by Rome and it is difficult to imagine the sort of religious music othe rthan plainsong chants. maybe the musical idiom of the people was of a folk style.

 

 

The present carols are products of mainly ordinary people within their communities an often have local names eg Tinwood, back lane, Wire Mill, Spout Cottage and the more recent (1950s0 stannington which worked its way in.

 

 

There are also secular songs sung in the pubs at the same time eg Swaledale, Corn Stalks, Down in the fields where the buttercups grow etc as well as Kris Kringle , Pratty Flowers

 

Some of which are mildly saucy and quirte happily accepted in the 'service':)

Edited by michael sam wild
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In the past the carols were much more widely sung around the country. In this area they stayed sung in South Yorks and NE Derbyshire , often in pubs and chapels or roud the houses and countryside after the Church tried to standardise the types of carol and the tunes and more importantly the keys and when Organs replaced the West Gallery Bands and their like...

That's what happened in the West Country too, except the singers and bands moved to the chapels and joined the Methodists, rather than the pubs. There aren't many groups left now, but luckily we have a good number of the carols from Dorset and Somerset written down. In Odcombe they go around to every house with a caller, who shouts "Mr & Mrs xxxxx, we wish you a Merry Christmas, and a bright and prosperous New Year". They used to start at 9pm Christmas Eve, and would finish around 7.30am, with an hour off for breakfast, but now they take two nights from about 7pm, one for Lower Odcombe, and one for Higher Odcombe.

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but luckily we have a good number of the carols from Dorset and Somerset written down.

There's a superb book called Carols of the Westcountry (out of print but still available from a few places, try searching Amazon) that we took a couple of carols from for the Bradford on Avon sings. There are also a couple of carols from Wiltshire that we found. It was important to us that we should have some local songs and it proved easier to achieve than we expected.

 

Chris

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Around Foolow in Derbyshire they still go out round the houses and farmsteads singing to families. In the Oughtibridge area 'The Big Set' used to carry instruments round and sing all night. Jon Boden is involved with a revival around Storrs and Dungworth I understand

 

The Grenoside Sword Dancers still go on a traipse around the big houses. In the past it was common to go out for several days to collect money . The Plough Bullocks also went out round the same time at Ecclesfield. Money with menaces, if you didn't stump up they'd plough up your front garden.

 

William Kimber mentions 'everybody going out at Christmas', being hard up.

 

A bit like First Footing at Hogmanay

 

 

It obviously all served several functions such as a bit of social levelling, including everybody in the community, a bit of social license and celebration of the turning of the year.

And financial necessity often helped keep customs alive! Where's me concertina??;)

Edited by michael sam wild
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We have had a carol night for the past several years out and about the Freehold area of Lancaster. It is organised by the members of the Thursday night session in the Gregson. We collect for charity and tour the streets with a stop for mulled wine halfway round!

We will be out next Monday and will probably have concertina, whistle and brass musicians in tow.

 

Robin Madge

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I note on another thread that Jody Kruskal and pals wander around a park in The Bronx playing and singing and supping mulled cider. In Sheffield that could get you a night in the cells or a homeless shelter or hospital with pneumonia ;)

Edited by michael sam wild
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