Sans Day Carol (The Holly She Bears a Berry)

Christmas celebrations in Cornwall.

Merry/Happy Christmas and a Happy New Year to all.   New and greater things are in store for 2014 here on SOTI. Now, here are the Chieftains with a 19th century Cornish carol.

Now the holly bears a berry as white as the milk,
And Mary bore Jesus, who was wrapped up in silk:

Chorus: And Mary bore Jesus Christ our Saviour for to be,
And the first tree in the greenwood, it was the holly.
Holly! Holly!
And the first tree in the greenwood, it was the holly!

Now the holly bears a berry as green as the grass,
And Mary bore Jesus, who died on the cross:

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Star of the County Down

Dundrum, County Down

From one of the many, many Chieftains and Friends collaborations, Irishman Van Morrison joins the lads for a great song. The tune itself is of English origin, a folk tune called “Kingsfold” that has also been used frequently in hymn settings.

Thought by some scholars to date back to the Middle Ages, KINGSFOLD is a folk tune set to a variety of texts in England and Ireland. The tune was published in English Country Songs (1893), an anthology compiled by Lucy E. Broadwood and J. A. Fuller Maitland. After having heard the tune in Kingsfold, Sussex, England (thus its name), Ralph Vaughan Williams (PHH 316) introduced it as a hymn tune in The English Hymnal (1906) as a setting for Horatius Bonar’s “I Heard the Voice of Jesus Say” (488).

Psalter Hymnal Handbook

Star of the County Down

In Banbridge town in the County Down
One morning last July,
From a boreen green came a sweet colleen
And she smiled as she passed me by.
She looked so sweet fronn her two bare feet
To the sheen of her nut brown hair.
Such a coaxing elf, sure I shook myself
For to see I was really there.

From Bantry Bay up to Derry quay and
From Galway to Dublin town,
No maid I’ve seen like the brown colleen
That I met in the county down.

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Molly Bán

There are several “Molly Bán” songs. This version comes from the “I accidentally shot/killed my love” tradition, like the Scottish song A Chatrion’ ÒgIt’s performed here by the American bluegrass singer/fiddler extraordinaire Alison Krauss with the Chieftains.

Molly Bán

Come all ye young fellas
That handle a gun
Beware of night rambling
By the setting of the sun
And beware of an accident
That happened of late
To young Molly Bán
And sad was her fate

She was going to her uncles
When a shower came on
She went under a green bush
The shower to shun
Her white apron wrapped around her
He took her for a swan
But a hush and a sigh
‘Twas his own Molly Bán

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