Our Song of the Day is from Sharron Kraus & Harriet Earis. Y Feri Lwyd – Christmas Day in the Morning is taken from their new album Winter Songs / Caneuon y Gaeaf which features Carols, wassailing songs and traditional tunes from England, Wales, Scotland and Ireland.
Y Feri Lwyd (trad. Welsh) / Christmas Day in the Morning (trad. Shetland)
About the Track:
The tradition of processing from house to house carrying a horse’s head skeleton on a pole (‘Mari lwyd’ translates as ‘the grey mare’ or ‘the grey Mary’) is an old Welsh midwinter tradition still carried on in some districts to celebrate New Year. This is the tune usually sung as the crowd promenades around the village, the revellers would sing verses demanding entry and food. The people inside the house would sing verses back in a poetic battle to try to outwit them, but eventually the revellers would be let in, to confer luck on the house for the coming year.
‘Christmas Day in the Morning’ was composed by Fredamann Stickle, a 19th century fiddler from Unst, Shetland, who used to play for the Laird of Buness every Christmas. Sharron learnt it from the playing of Shetland fiddler, Aly Bain.
Mixing the lightness of the dulcimer with the deeper Celtic harp, mellow whistles and haunting vocals, their music recreates an ancient wintry soundscape punctuated with warm Christmas cheer.
Find out more about the album here: