Best new song of the season

OK, this song came out on Jennifer Cutting’s 2011 album “Song of Solstice,” so it’s not exactly new. But it’s new to me this year, and I think it’s the best new Yuletide song I’ve heard in a few years.

The song is called “Light the Winter’s Dark,” and below you can find my take on the lyrics, from the singing of Coope, Boyes, and Simpson, the English a capella trio who usually sing traditional tunes. Yeah, the lyrics are a little preachy, but most sacred song is a little preachy. I can’t find the song on Youtube, but you can hear a brief preview of the tune on the CD Universe Web site here; or there’s a longer preview at the iTunes store.

Get the choir in your Unitarian Universalist congregation to sing this song next year…

Light the Winter’s Dark
by Jennifer Cutting

(These lyrics are my interpretation, and are offered as a preview of the song. Be nice and support the artist by buying the album or song.)

When Jesus brought his light to earth,
A star shone in the east;
And wise men journeyed from afar,
To hail the prince of peace.

So let us all sing Jesus’s name
To light the winter’s dark;
And may his light grow brighter still
With each new year we mark.

When Moses brought his light to earth,
His tribe from bondage led;
In desert, water from the rock,
In wilderness, sweet bread.

Refrain: So let us all sing Moses’ name…

When the Prophet brought his light to earth,
He reconciled his foes;
When four clans raised the black stone high
Upon his holy cloak.

Refrain: So let us sing the Prophet’s name…

When the Buddha brought his light to earth,
He saw beyond love and hate;
He said, “To end all suffering,
Each mind must be awake.”

Refrain: So let us all sing Buddha’s name…

When the Lady brought her light to earth,
She took us to her breast;
Each fin and feather, hoof and horn
By her were brightly blessed.

Refrain: So let us sing the Lady’s name…

When we all brought our light to earth,
We made it a better place;
We loved and lost, yet loved again,
And learned from our mistakes.

Refrain: So let us sing each other’s names
To light the winter’s dark;
And may our light grow brighter still
With each new year we mark.

And here are possible guitar chords in D Dorian (which is the key used in the recording):

Screen shot 2012-12-22 at 7.00.05 PM

Update, 2023: This song does not wear well. The melody is boring. I was tired of it the next year.

2 thoughts on “Best new song of the season”

  1. I just discovered this song — or probably rediscovered it, since I no doubt read this post 2 years ago. In any case, it’s a lovely song and when I went searching for more about it on the web, I was delighted to run across it here. I should pay better attention to what you write about. Thanks!

  2. Yup, we sang it in the service on Dec. 21 — we bought permission to reprint the song from Jennifer Cutting for a very reasonable amount. The only issue with using this song in a service is that the music as notated it appears somewhat boring; it’s hard for musical notation to capture the flexible rhythm and vocal ornamentations (slides, snaps, etc.) that should be part of folk music. In short, don’t sing it as a bel canto song, sing it as a folk song.

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