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Canberra Chris Yorkshire carols on BBC news (31) RE: Yorkshire carols on BBC news 23 Dec 08

Happens I was listening this morning (Christmas Eve pm here) to a CD of English Village Carols (from pubs near Sheffield) put out on Smithsonian Folkways that starts with a couple of rippers from the Royal Hotel Dungworth, recorded in the 90s, I hoped it was still going.

There are four settings of As Shepherds Watched on the CD, all worthy of inclusion, and an explanation that until 1820 singing in church was restricted to metrical versions of the psalms, except for a few texts that were allowed to cover some key episodes in Gospels, and paraphrased the scriptural texts.'While Shepherds Watched' covered the nativity, and therefore became a core repertoire text, with many arrangements. It was written in 1700 by Nahum Tate, then Poet Laureate. At least one of them did something useful!

I sang with carollers as a youth around the village of Sunninghill in Berkshire, and we were invited to sing inside a couple of pubs - probably my first glimpse inside one! So it's nice to have a tiny part in the village pub carolling tradition. Long may they be belted out with appropriate gusto.


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