Where have all the Christmas carols gone?

by Suw on December 10, 2006

This morning, having woken up in a particularly good mood, I decided to play the mix CD that my friend Stuart had kindly (and unexpectedly) made and sent me with my first Christmas card of this year. The first track was the wonderful Nos Galan, by the Treorchy, Morriston Orpheus & Pontarddulais Male Choirs with the Band of the Welsh Guards. The song is more well known in English as Deck The Halls, but in Welsh the lyrics don't translate as having anything to do with holly, and in fact is a celebration of Nos Galan, or New Year's Eve.
I pinged a note to the Clwb Malu Cachu mailing list about it, to see if anyone knew of any other Welsh carols, and it turns out that one of our regulars actually sang on this recording of Nos Galan! Cool!
Anyway, I got into a mood for a Christmas carols, so we started to look for a Christmas internet radio station. Well, there are dozens of them. Trouble is, they all seem to be out of America and playing that sort of 30s/40s schmaltz that is fine for a while but then soon starts to sap your will to live. Not that I don't like Bing or Frank, but after too many White Christmases the only chestnuts I want to see roasted over an open fire are theirs.
Kevin thinks I'm being tetchy, but really, what I wanted to listen to was just traditional Christmas carols. Y'know, O Little Star of Bethlehem, or Silent Night, or Good King Wenceslas (who, when I was a kid, I thought was Good King Wences, who last looked out… I couldn't figure what had happened to him after the Feast of Stephen, no matter how hard I focused on the words). I really wasn't after God Rest Ye Merry Gentlemen Sung with Big Swooping Strings and Added Saccharine, but the usual choral versions I used to sing when I was at school.
But apparently it's not to be. Hours later and we can't find a single station that actually plays carols. Well, none that haven't been soaked in high fructose corn syrup and covered in chocolate sprinkles, anyway.

Anonymous December 10, 2006 at 4:44 pm

Have you tried accuradio.com ?

Anonymous December 10, 2006 at 9:42 pm

Spurred on by the fact that our oldest child (girl, 5) is at the age where she is learning carols at school – we bought a CD with lots of nice ones. Some are a bit over-orchestrated, but the choral ones in particular are great. In The Bleak Midwinter, I Saw Three Ships, Oh Little Town Of Bethlehem etc… now I am really getting in the mood!
If I ever get round to trying Nicecast (Rogue Amoeba) then maybe I could stream it?
Bloody hell – I've gone from buying a Christmas carol CD, to contemplating running my own seasonal radio station in two steps. I'll be buying bloody house-bling next. Yeurgh ;-)

Anonymous December 11, 2006 at 6:51 am

The Kings' College, Cambridge Choir concert that the BBC broadcasts annually is pretty good. I have a CD from a previous broadcast that I bring out at this time of year. That's worth a look

Anonymous December 12, 2006 at 3:23 pm

I always thought it was Good King Wences who last looked out too. I thought that right up until I read this post. :eek:

Anonymous December 12, 2006 at 7:56 pm

All this talk of Christmas carol makes me want to listen to some Prodigy, Nine Inch Nails or perhaps some Lawnmower Deth [sic]. I 'ate carols.
(C'mon, it's my job to be the curmudgeon in these situations… it's why you love me, Suw)

Anonymous December 13, 2006 at 8:25 pm

I have now! It's not bad, although that's a weird name for a radio. Thanks for the recommendation.

Anonymous December 13, 2006 at 8:27 pm

Be alarmed. Then, once you've got over the alarm, let me know if you do it. ;-)

Anonymous December 13, 2006 at 8:28 pm

Oh, now that hits the mark perfectly. I will inflict it on T'Other forthwith. Although sadly they don't seem to have the His Majesty King Wenceslas, which is a shame.

Anonymous December 13, 2006 at 8:29 pm

*snigger*
So glad i'm not the only one.

Anonymous December 13, 2006 at 8:30 pm

How about the Smurfs? Or mabye Cliff Richard? I know you're really pining to hear Mistletoe and Wine…

Anonymous December 14, 2006 at 7:39 pm

Fuck off.

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