It’s beginning to sound a lot like Christmas
Folk star Kate Rusby is already gearing up for the festive season as she prepares for her latest Christmas tour, coming to Nottingham next month. Here she discusses her love of the holiday and how she prepares to spread the Christmas cheer
FOR most of your audience, the Christmas concerts are one of the main highlights of their festive season and feel Christmas begins once they have been to one of your concerts. Does the preparation vary from an album tour?
Totally, I love taking the carols out there and singing them all around the country. One of the amazing things is that now when we go back to a town that we have played at Christmas before, the audience sing their hearts out as they have remembered the songs. It always makes me quite emotional to hear them all singing these South Yorkshire carols that we have taught them I just love it.
On the Christmas tour I like to make sure we have a lot in the set that the audience have heard as I know they want to sing along with them. I do always have a few new ones in there too though, but I suppose that would be the main difference in my approach. Also, we do go to a lot of effort to make it look and feel Christmassy too. A lot of thought is put into the lighting and the sound too to make sure people come away feeling like Christmas has begun. TELL us about the south Yorkshire tradition that inspired the album.
The South Yorkshire carols are still sung every year, starting the Sunday after Armistice Day and continuing until new year. They are sung in a certain select few pubs in South Yorkshire, my favourite is The Royal in a little village called Dungworth. I was taken there as a child and even though we were in a different room playing and drinking pop and eating crisps, we were all the while soaking up the songs. So learning them through osmosis really. Thankfully the tradition is showing no signs of dwindling, you only have to go to one of the sings for proof of this, it’s an incredible experience, as the carols are sung with such passion and gusto!
The carols are one you may not know, they were thrown out of the churches by the Victorians for being too happy, but the people who loved singing them took them to the pubs instead, that way they could drink beer too!
Some have words you may recognise but a different tune so there are many different versions of the same carol. There are about 30 different versions of While Shepherds Watched with each tune having a different name, usually named after a road or place, some versions have choruses and some don’t.
There are also carols that are sung as solos, and they are sung by the same people every year. I suppose it’s a bit like a right of passage, if you’ve been going for a long long time and a slot becomes available you might be asked to sing one of the solos, even the positions in the room.
It’s a fantastic thing to witness and hear of course, it’s such a powerful thing when so many voices are singing in harmony all united in a small room, all smiley and