Folkish songs for Christmas

A bunch of us from the Folk Choir of First Unitarian in New Bedford will be singing Christmas carols and other seasonal songs (along with some other people) in downtown New Bedford tomorrow evening as part of the city’s annual Holiday Stroll. I put together some Christmas/solstice songs which meet the following criteria: (1) playable by folk instruments like guitar, soprano recorder, mandolin; (2) words which won’t stick in the throats of Unitarian Universalists (in several cases, words are taken from the 1937 Unitarian Universalist hymnal, Hymns of the Spirit); (3) guitar chords that actually work (we have actually played through all these songs); (4) songs pitched for medium-to-low voices (too many Christmas songs are pitched for sopranos and high tenors). We’re not going to be singing all of these, but I thought others might be interested in this collection.

Now up on my main Web site here: Folkish songs for Christmas.

Songs/carols include the following:

Key to song list:
* = little or no traditional Christian content;
# = social justice slant to Christmas

“Bring a Torch, Jeanette, Isabella” (with French and English words; harmony part for recorder or mandolin)
* “Cornish Wassail” (tune included for this unfamiliar song; sung a capella, or with instruments doubling the voices on the melody)
* “Deck the Halls”
“The Friendly Beasts” (harmony part for high voices)
“Go Tell It on the Mountain” (with great 4th verse from Diana Ross)
“God Rest Ye Merry, Gentlemen” (harmony part for recorder)
“Good King Wenceslas”
* “Here We Come A-Wassailing”
# “It Came Upon the Midnight Clear”
* “Jingle Bells” (all three verses)
“Joy to the World”
“O Come All Ye Faithful” (with Latin and English words)
“O Come, O Come, Emmanuel” (with harmony part doubling bass voices and recorder)
* “O Christmas Tree” (with German and English words)
“We Three Kings”
“What Child Is This?” (with harmony part for recorder)