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Boxing Day / St. Stephen's Day songs

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Haruo 19 Dec 13 - 12:33 PM
Steve Gardham 19 Dec 13 - 02:20 PM
Steve Gardham 19 Dec 13 - 03:03 PM
Steve Gardham 19 Dec 13 - 03:06 PM
GUEST,jonesnudger 19 Dec 13 - 05:57 PM
GUEST 19 Dec 13 - 06:39 PM
Jim Carroll 20 Dec 13 - 04:02 AM
GUEST,bigJ 20 Dec 13 - 06:00 AM
doc.tom 20 Dec 13 - 08:19 AM
GUEST 20 Dec 13 - 09:33 AM
doc.tom 20 Dec 13 - 12:17 PM
GUEST,henryp 20 Dec 13 - 12:58 PM
GUEST,Musket 21 Dec 13 - 05:41 AM
Joe Offer 23 Dec 13 - 12:53 AM
Jim Carroll 23 Dec 13 - 03:58 AM
Jim Carroll 23 Dec 13 - 04:13 AM
Tug the Cox 23 Dec 13 - 10:48 AM
Haruo 23 Dec 13 - 01:08 PM
Jim Carroll 23 Dec 13 - 01:14 PM
GUEST,DaveRo 20 Dec 15 - 03:08 AM
Gutcher 20 Dec 15 - 04:40 AM
GUEST,Peter Laban 20 Dec 15 - 05:29 AM
Tradsinger 20 Dec 15 - 06:03 AM
Tradsinger 20 Dec 15 - 06:18 AM
MartinRyan 20 Dec 15 - 06:25 AM
Gutcher 20 Dec 15 - 07:22 AM
GUEST,Martin Ryan 20 Dec 15 - 07:33 AM
GUEST,Peter Laban 20 Dec 15 - 01:10 PM
GUEST,MG 21 Dec 15 - 03:41 PM
Gutcher 22 Dec 15 - 03:55 AM
FreddyHeadey 09 Jan 17 - 11:49 AM
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Subject: Boxing Day / St. Stephen's Day songs
From: Haruo
Date: 19 Dec 13 - 12:33 PM

Wondering what's out there, besides "Good King Wenceslas" and "When Stephen, full of power and grace". Good singable songs, be they carols or hymns. Come to think of it, don't the Wren King songs center on the 26th, too?


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Subject: RE: Boxing Day / St. Stephen's Day songs
From: Steve Gardham
Date: 19 Dec 13 - 02:20 PM

Yes,
the hunting the wren songs are supposed to be 26th, presumably all of them, the Irish ones, the many different versions of hunting the wren though some of the later developments have lost their ceremonial meaning.


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Subject: RE: Boxing Day / St. Stephen's Day songs
From: Steve Gardham
Date: 19 Dec 13 - 03:03 PM

Presumably the 'Carnal and the Crane' songs would also have been sung on his day as well, 'St Stephen and King Herod' Child 22 for instance.


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Subject: RE: Boxing Day / St. Stephen's Day songs
From: Steve Gardham
Date: 19 Dec 13 - 03:06 PM

Ritson actually titled his published copy 'A Carol for St Stephen's Day'. The ballad/story is well-known throughout Europe.


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Subject: RE: Boxing Day / St. Stephen's Day songs
From: GUEST,jonesnudger
Date: 19 Dec 13 - 05:57 PM

On a less serious note there is 'The St Stephen's Day Murders' by Elvis Costello a great version of which is on Thea Gilmore's 'Strange Communion' CD
Roger


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Subject: RE: Boxing Day / St. Stephen's Day songs
From: GUEST
Date: 19 Dec 13 - 06:39 PM

http://cbladey.com/stevewrenorder.html
Lots of songs here
Cb


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Subject: RE: Boxing Day / St. Stephen's Day songs
From: Jim Carroll
Date: 20 Dec 13 - 04:02 AM

The custom used to be popular in the Isle of Man, don't know if that's till the case.
One of the most poignant stories we heard here in Clare was related be a local musician who called it 'The Wren that went to America'.
One St Stephen's Day during a particularly hard year in the 1880s, when nobody had any money, a group of Wren Boys (all young men), set out from Miltown Malbay, heading north.
Their efforts produced very little, so they decided to push on and keep collecting until they had enough to provide for a half-decent'scrap dance' (the money was always used to provide refreshment for a dance in honour of St Stephen).
By nightfall they had still gathered very little, so they found a barn to sleep in, and continued playing and visiting houses for several days until they finally reach Galway, where they purchased a passage on one of the emigrant ships sailing for America - they never returned to Ireland.
Jim Carroll


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Subject: RE: Boxing Day / St. Stephen's Day songs
From: GUEST,bigJ
Date: 20 Dec 13 - 06:00 AM

Yep, still popular in the Isle of Man, see here:-

http://www.manxmusic.com/media//Newsletters/KMJ%20December%202013.pdf


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Subject: RE: Boxing Day / St. Stephen's Day songs
From: doc.tom
Date: 20 Dec 13 - 08:19 AM

Nice one Jim! I seem to recall that in the 1970s (winter of the power cuts) there was a-midwinter customs programme, fronted/narrated by Tams and the (possibly) Albion Band which included film of an Irish wren-hunting gang. After the obligatory dance at the cross-roads (to the Kerry Polka) and house visitng, they ended up in a pub where a senior singer (not part of the wren gang) sang an exile ballad with a refrain which went "I wish I was in ___ (I can't remember)a-hunting of the wren." Any lead on that one?
TomB


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Subject: RE: Boxing Day / St. Stephen's Day songs
From: GUEST
Date: 20 Dec 13 - 09:33 AM

I suspect it might have been Maddy and Tim, who had one in their repertoire.


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Subject: RE: Boxing Day / St. Stephen's Day songs
From: doc.tom
Date: 20 Dec 13 - 12:17 PM

What might have been Tim & Maddy?
What 'one' did they have in their repertoire?
Lots of people had/have wren-hunting songs in their repertoires.
'Guest', please elucidate.


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Subject: RE: Boxing Day / St. Stephen's Day songs
From: GUEST,henryp
Date: 20 Dec 13 - 12:58 PM

Steeleye Span issued Pleased to see the King in 1971. It containes The King, and a reissue included a second version.


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Subject: RE: Boxing Day / St. Stephen's Day songs
From: GUEST,Musket
Date: 21 Dec 13 - 05:41 AM

Tom Paxton's The Party, and whoever coined "Hangover Blues" used to be most appropriate for me on Boxing Day. Although as I am usually at the match, we usually sing of The Boxing Day Massacre 1979. Mind you, we sing that every ruddy match, which often confuses the away supporters.

"Hark now hear! The Wednesday sing!
United ran away..
And we will fight forever more
Because of Boxing Day!"






(You will have been taught this at school if you are young enough; Sheffield Wednesday 4.0 Sheffield United. By half time, there wasn't a red and white scarf left in the stadium.)


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Subject: RE: Boxing Day / St. Stephen's Day songs
From: Joe Offer
Date: 23 Dec 13 - 12:53 AM

refresh


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Subject: RE: Boxing Day / St. Stephen's Day songs
From: Jim Carroll
Date: 23 Dec 13 - 03:58 AM

There's a version of 'The Wren Song' that was once recorded from Liam Clancy - same tune as the usual one with several more verses than are usually sung - I seem to remember that he said he got it from his mother, a fine old-style traditional singer - we have a recording of it somewhere.
Don't think I have time today, but will dig it up if anybody is interested
Jim Carroll


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Subject: RE: Boxing Day / St. Stephen's Day songs
From: Jim Carroll
Date: 23 Dec 13 - 04:13 AM

Yr 'tis
The Wren

The wren, the wren, the king of all birds,
St. Stephen's day was caught in the furze,
Although he was little his honour was great
Jump up, me lads, and give hima treat.

cho:
Up with the kettle and down with the pan
And give us a penny to bury the wren.

As I was gone to Killenaule I met a wren upon a wall,
Up with me wattle and knocked him down
And brought him into Carrick town.

Droolin, droolin. where's your nest?
Tis in the bush that I love best
In the tree, the holly tree
Where all the boys do follow me.

We followed the wren three miles or more
Three miles or more, three miles or more,
Followed the wren three miles or more
At six o'clock in the morning.

We have a little box under me hand (arm),
Under me hand, under me hand,
We have a little box under me hand,
A penny a tuppence will do it no harm.

Missus Clancy's a very good woman
A very good woman, a very good woman
Missus Clancy's a very good woman
She gave us a penny to bury the wren.

A Kerry Traveller we recorded told us that when he was a boy they actually went out and caught a wren and pinned it to a stick - part of a good-luck ritual.
He said they gave it up when they decided it was cruel - "why would anybody want to harm a little bird?"
Jim Carroll


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Subject: RE: Boxing Day / St. Stephen's Day songs
From: Tug the Cox
Date: 23 Dec 13 - 10:48 AM

I believe that the Wren hunting was originally a twelfth night custom. When the 11 days were 'lost' in 1752 when the calendar was realigned, many people kept the 'old christmas' for a while,and 12th night fell on 26th Dec. The line 'Old Christmas is past, 12th night is the last, chimes with this.


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Subject: RE: Boxing Day / St. Stephen's Day songs
From: Haruo
Date: 23 Dec 13 - 01:08 PM

Jim, why did you give "hand (arm)", not just "arm"?


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Subject: RE: Boxing Day / St. Stephen's Day songs
From: Jim Carroll
Date: 23 Dec 13 - 01:14 PM

"Jim, why did you give "hand (arm)", not just "arm"?"
I wondered about that too
That's the way it is given in the text I found
Clancy sings harm if my memory serves me right.
Jim Carroll


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Subject: RE: Boxing Day / St. Stephen's Day songs
From: GUEST,DaveRo
Date: 20 Dec 15 - 03:08 AM

Not a song, but there's a new poem by Carol Ann Duffy in The Guardian: The Wren-Boys

http://www.theguardian.com/books/2015/dec/19/wren-boys-carol-ann-duffy-christmas-poem


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Subject: RE: Boxing Day / St. Stephen's Day songs
From: Gutcher
Date: 20 Dec 15 - 04:40 AM

Would the wren song mentioned above be "The Boys Of Balna Straida"


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Subject: RE: Boxing Day / St. Stephen's Day songs
From: GUEST,Peter Laban
Date: 20 Dec 15 - 05:29 AM

Even though it mentions the wren, I would not consider The Boys of Barr na Sráide a wren song but rather Sigerson Clifford's reflection on his boyhood.


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Subject: RE: Boxing Day / St. Stephen's Day songs
From: Tradsinger
Date: 20 Dec 15 - 06:03 AM

Hunting the wren was of course a tradition in Pembrokeshire and there are 2 very different wren songs from there, i.e. The Cutty Wren and Please to See the King.

I am baffled by the latter - I know it was collected around Llangwm but does anyone know where, from whom and by whom? It is not listed in Roud.

Tradsinger


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Subject: RE: Boxing Day / St. Stephen's Day songs
From: Tradsinger
Date: 20 Dec 15 - 06:18 AM

A bit of Googling has answered my own question, partly, at least.

"Welsh Music History" gives the following about 'Please to see the King.'

"This variant was noted in Hook, Pembrokeshire, from two retired
schoolteachers, Dorothy and Elizabeth Phillips, who sang it. They also
gave first-hand reminiscences of the custom, which they remembered
from the 1920s. The wren-party would go to 'any manor houses in the

neighbourhood where they would have food and drink and sometimes
money', during the period between 6 and 12 January, which they called
'Twelfth-Tide'. The wren-house was 'a little wooden cottage and
dressed with ribbons really crêpe paper and the wren was inside and
when they entered the house of course they all looked in and wanted to
see the king.'6 After the wren-party entered there was another song
referring to wassailing:
We are not dry, we can drink no small
But tap you the barrel that's next to the wall
And sing ffol-de-rol, ffol-de-rol, ffol-de-rol dee dee.
In Kidwelly, Carmarthenshire, a different form of the wren ritual was
practised. A version of the Kidwelly wren-song beginning 'Gyda ni mae
perllan, A Dryw bach ynddi'n hedfan' is to be found among J. Lloyd
Williams's manuscripts under the title Cân y Berllan (Tune 6). Both
words and music appear to be somewhat corrupt and are noted here with
slight editorial revisions. The perllan was 'a small rectangular board
with a circle marked in the centre and ribs of wood running from the
centre to each of the four angles. At each corner of the board an apple was fixed, and within the circle a tree with a miniature bird thereon.' 8
The ffiol was a bowl or cup and the reference to wassailing is
unmistakable in this song."

Tradsinger


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Subject: RE: Boxing Day / St. Stephen's Day songs
From: MartinRyan
Date: 20 Dec 15 - 06:25 AM

Even though it mentions the wren, I would not consider The Boys of Barr na Sráide a wren song but rather Sigerson Clifford's reflection on his boyhood

I think Gutcher was referring to the "senior singer" mentioned in doc.tom's post?

Regards


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Subject: RE: Boxing Day / St. Stephen's Day songs
From: Gutcher
Date: 20 Dec 15 - 07:22 AM

Yes------is it the song he was looking for?


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Subject: RE: Boxing Day / St. Stephen's Day songs
From: GUEST,Martin Ryan
Date: 20 Dec 15 - 07:33 AM

Quite likely, I suspect.

Regards


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Subject: RE: Boxing Day / St. Stephen's Day songs
From: GUEST,Peter Laban
Date: 20 Dec 15 - 01:10 PM

[i]I think Gutcher was referring to the "senior singer" mentioned in doc.tom's post?[/i]

Yes, I see that now. Sorry about that.


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Subject: RE: Boxing Day / St. Stephen's Day songs
From: GUEST,MG
Date: 21 Dec 15 - 03:41 PM

ISn't that the day the mummers come?

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=FzJW65XwKPY&index=1&list=PL4EC9E667E803C6C7

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=FzJW65XwKPY&index=1&list=PL4EC9E667E803C6C7


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Subject: RE: Boxing Day / St. Stephen's Day songs
From: Gutcher
Date: 22 Dec 15 - 03:55 AM

The apparent lack of wren songs in Scotland relating to St. Stevens Day may be attributed to the reformation {1560}, thereafter Christmas was not celebrated in the Presbyterian Church and indeed it was not until the mid 1960s. that Christmas day became a public holiday in Scotland.
I can always remember the horror of an aged American Professor when I
told him we had always worked on that day.

The Cuttie Wren does get a mention in a few songs, a song and ring childrens game comes to mind after 70 odd years :---

The wren she lies in cares bed, in cares bed in cares bed
The wren she lies in cares bed in muckle dule and pain

Alang came robin reedbreest reedbreest reedbreesr
Alang came robin reedbreest wi sukar saps an wine

O what the devil ails ye ails ye ails ye
O what the devil ails ye ye little cuttie quine

A Number of verses do not come to mind at present

Last verse :--

I gat it fae a sojer a sojer a sojer
I gat it fae a sojer a true sweethert o mine.
                   Alt.   (he was the first o the line)


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Subject: RE: Boxing Day / St. Stephen's Day songs
From: FreddyHeadey
Date: 09 Jan 17 - 11:49 AM

There were some lovely Clodagh Kilcoyne photos in The Guardian this December .
St Stephen's Day in Dingle
https://www.theguardian.com/world/gallery/2016/dec/27/hunting-of-the-wren-festival-in-pictures


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