Thursday, November 29, 2012

Music on My Mind

Jana Mashonee, "What Child Is This?" (Cherokee version). A little Greensleeves, a little Cherokee (which is one of those languages that, in the right song, can be stunningly beautiful), a little something better than the pop-song carols we are starting to hear this time of year.

Incidentally, if you prefer not to get your Christmas carols quite so early, you might listen to The King's Singers singing the actual song Greensleeves. One of those truly great folk songs. The history of it is rather tangled; the tune goes back at least to the sixteenth century. There appear to have been several ballads about Lady Green Sleeves; I'm not sure where the one that won out originated, but it seems to do have done so quite early. The tune became popular and a lot of songs were sung to it, including Christmas carols. The particular carol to which it has become indissolubly attached, "What Child Is This?", was written by William Chatterton Dix in the 1860s as he was bedridden with a terrible illness that looked like it would be fatal, although he did eventually recover and live three decades more.

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