Creative solitude: an alternative view
In the gift-giving season

Tunes for a Monday Morning

Gathering holly & ivy

'Tis the season...

Above:  "Fairytale Of New York"  (the Pogues/Kirsty MacColl classic) performed by  Katzenjammer and The Trondheim Soloists, from Norway, and Ben Caplan, from Nova Scotia.

Below: "Thaney," performed by Scottish singer Karine Powart at A Christmas Celtic Sojourn in Boston, Massachusetts. Polwart's song tells the story of the legendary Saint Thaney/Teneu/Enoch, whose son, Saint Mungo, is the patron saint of the city of Glasgow.

Above: "January, February (Last Month of the Year)," an American folk carol from Ruth Crawford Seeger's songbook, American Folk Songs for Christmas (1953) -- performed here by Amy Helm (lead vocals), Byron Isaacs, Daniel Littleton, Elizabeth Mitchell, Simi Stone, and Ruthy Ungar.

Below: "The Wexford Carol," a traditional Irish song dating back to the 12th century, performed by American bluegrass singer Alison Krauss and American cellist Yo-Yo Ma.

Above : "River," by Joni Mitchell, performed by American folk & roots musician Anaïs Mitchell and  Swiss classical/folk/experimental musician Olivia Pedroli. The winter holidays can be a hard time for many people, for many different reasons. This one is for all who struggle to get through this time of year.

Below, in response to Joni 's melancholy tune: Rick Kemp's "Somewhere Along the Road," performed acapella by Steeleye Span -- a folk-rock band formed in 1969 and still making wonderful music together. This video warms my heart because it reminds me of winter gatherings around the table with my own circle of friends: toasting the seasons as as the years go by...growing older, greyer, slower, yes, but maybe a little wiser too. And still making art rooted in the folk tradition after all these years. 

And one last song for the road:

"The Parting Glass," a traditional Scottish song performed acapella by two fine young bands: Kadia and Said the Maiden, filmed beside a Wassail bonfire at the Slindon Estate in West Sussex. Go here if you'd like to learn more about the folkways of Wassailing.

Tilly the Black-nosed Reindeer