From The Library… ’Tis the Season

This week’s dai­ly pro­grammes fea­ture a col­lec­tion of Christ­mas and Yule­tide music from NW Europe and North Amer­i­ca, includ­ing clas­si­cal, Celtic and folk tra­di­tions, as well as the occa­sion­al mod­ern piece (which we hope will not be too much of a sur­prise – one has to have a lit­tle fun some­times).

We have, how­ev­er, with great reluc­tance, refrained from includ­ing the Christ­mas ver­sion of It’s a Small World After All, despite it being an absolute­ly stun­ning arrange­ment; and you will also not be hear­ing the dis­co Christ­mas med­ley the present writer co-pro­duced in the ear­ly 1980s. Real­ly.

What is of par­tic­u­lar inter­est, how­ev­er, is the work of the Der­byshire-based folk trio Coope, Boyes & Simp­son. The group spe­cialis­es in acapel­la per­for­mances that are aston­ish­ing­ly mov­ing and pow­er­ful, and their reper­toire includes both tra­di­tion­al and self-penned works. In this pro­gramme we will be focus­ing on a selec­tion of their Christ­mas music.

With bands of car­ollers and was­sail songs, tales of Mow­bray Pies and ghosts, and cus­toms such as Mump­ing and Clement­ing, the win­ter sea­son in the Eng­lish coun­try­side was a time of fire­side cel­e­bra­tion and trav­ellers’ voic­es at the door. Draw­ing on first-hand accounts of old cus­toms, tra­di­tion­al sto­ries and car­ols from small towns and vil­lages in the Eng­lish coun­ties, the group – aug­ment­ed here by Fi Fras­er, Jo Freya and Georgina Boyes – brings these once com­mon expe­ri­ences back to life, cre­at­ing a vivid pic­ture of the rich tra­di­tions of the coun­try­side to give a new insight into local life at Christ­mas past and present.

From The Library is pre­sent­ed by Radio Riel in con­junc­tion with the Cale­don Library in Sec­ond Life, and today’s pro­gramme was pro­duced by Elrik Mer­lin. For more infor­ma­tion on the Cale­don Library, cur­rent exhibits and the work of Sec­ond Life ref­er­ence libraries in gen­er­al, please vis­it the Cale­don Library Web site, or one of their loca­tions in-world.

• You can lis­ten to the pro­gram now at, or sim­ply vis­it any Cale­don Library branch in-world and press Play on your embed­ded music play­er.

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