It Was The Holly

From Trololo to a Cornish village.

The Sans Day Carol was written sometime in the 19th century. Wikipedia postures that the it was notated from a singing villager in St Day parish, perhaps during the folk song collecting craze that was sweeping Europe in the last third of the century.

Miss Mussel was about to embed the King’s College version when she spotted this video by the deliciously-named Holman Climax Male Voice Choir. That serendipitous click led to this lovely little story:

In 1940 at the Climax Rock Drill and Engineering Works, at Pool, between Camborne and Redruth, Cornwall, two men working on the works roof saw the glow of the fires in Plymouth caused by the bombing by the Luftwaffe. To alleviate distress among the blitz victims they formed a small choir to raise funds.

In the video, the last verse is sung in Cornish, a language in which roughly 375 people are still fluent.

The hymn is very similar in text to the Holly and The Ivy but for Miss Mussel, it is the weak beat accents that make this setting so bewitching.

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