Threads and stories
Wandering the labyrinth: arrival and return

Tunes for a Monday Morning

Today's music is in honor of winter and the season's holidays: Winter Solstice, Yule, Christmas, Hanukka, or whatever else you celebrate at this time of year.

Most of the songs today are from singer/songwriter Kate Rubsy, who has recorded three albums of the Christmas carols she grew up with in the north of England. In the video above, she discusses the carols and sings "Sweet Bells" (a Yorkshire variant of "While Shepards Watched") on the BBC programme Songs of Praise, 2010. Below is her rendition of "Serving Girl's Holiday," recorded for her Sweet Bells album in 2008. (There's no official video for the song, so this a fan video.)

Despite being a dyed-in-the-wool pagan myself, I do love these old Christmas songs. Other recommended albums of the season: To Drive the Cold Winter Away and A Midwinter Night's Dream by Loreena McKennitt, Tapestry of Carols by Maddy Prior & the Carnival Band,  Gabriel's Greeting: Medieval Christmas Music by Stevie Wishart & Sinfonye, and Emily Smith's new album Songs for Christmas. But to get back to Kate Rusby:

Below, "Little Jack Frost," written by Rusby, from her 2005 album The Girl Who Couldn't Fly. (Again, there's no official video or good concert footage, so this is another fan video.)

Above, a newly released video of Rusby and her band performing "Winter Wonderland," the 1930s Christmas classic by Bernard & Smith. The song appears on Rusby's third Christmas album, The Frost is All Over (2015). I love this...and oh, how I wish it was snowing right now!

And one more today, below: Louis Armstrong's famous version of the same song, along with video roughly filmed on a cheap little camera six winters ago, recording 5-month-old Tilly's amazed first encounter with snow....

Happy Winter Solstice, everyone.

Black dog in a white landscape

Photograph: Tilly by the path to the Commons during the snow storms of 2010. (This year, alas, it's rain, rain, rain.)