Kate Rusby on Christmas and Carols in Yorkshire
Kate Rusby writes:
Well, currently I am getting ready to start our annual Christmas tour and I can't wait!
We always have such a lovely time doing this tour as everyone is always in high spirits in the build up to Christmas. I absolutely love Christmas, I have such fond childhood memories of Christmas days past, and I never tire of it, even though I am in my 30s now I still find it as magical as ever.
I never start too early though that just makes it not as special, in fact I was in the shopping centre near here at the end of October and they had Christmas lights up! I had to shut my eyes as I walked about so I didn't absorb any of the twinkley-ness cos that's just stupidly early, I did come home with some very odd purchases due to the closed eyes, but at least I didn't let the twinkles in.
A big part of Christmas for me is the carols that are local to this area.
There is a tradition round these parts of congregating in certain pubs on Saturday and Sunday and singing these glorious carols, with a pint in hand of course, that's a must to lubricate the vocal chords of course... kinda like medicine really, you understand.
It begins every year on the first Sunday after Remembrance Day and continues until New Year's Day and is a tradition going back many, many years. The carols are passed down the generations, and as a child you kind of just soak them up as you sit with your pop and crisps, ever year knocks them a bit further into the brain and then all of a sudden you find yourself singing along to songs you weren't aware you had learnt, quite strange. Some of the carols have the same words as carols you may have learnt at school or church, but the tunes are usually different.
In some cases there are many different tunes for the same set of words, take 'While Shepherds Watched' for example, there are almost 30 different tunes for that song, I perhaps only know 5 at a push but they're all so different. There is even one that is the tune of 'On Ilkley Moor Baht 'at', apparently it was first written for the carol and later was borrowed for our great Yorkshire anthem. It is quite hard to sing that version with a straight face though, with all the added little lines that go with Ilkley Moor, 'where the ducks fly backwards' and such like, I just can't help singing them and they just don't go well with, ........and glory shone around, and glory shone around, and glory shone around........where the ducks fly backwards, he he he... it always makes me chuckle.
Anyway, these are the carols that we play on our tour and I just love singing them, we have a brass quintet with us too and they are just the cherry on the cake for me, or should I say the cream on the Christmas pud?
Some of the carols you may recognise, some you may not, but they are part of a wonderful tradition that I am truly blessed and lucky to be part of.
Indeed, if you find yourself in South Yorkshire with a spare Saturday or Sunday afternoon, seek out one of these pubs, squeeze yourself into the mob, drink your beer and sing, sing, sing!