Happy Hollyday

Way back in 2012 we went to see Kate Rusby’s concert at Warrington’s Parr hall during her annual Christmas tour around the UK. Since then we’ve been to see her perform several times, usually at Manchester’s Bridgewater Hall when we would combine the concert with an afternoon looking round the Christmas market and a bite to eat. None of that was possible this year due to you know what. It’s been a difficult time for musicians with no venues open but there have been some imaginative initiatives where artists have ben able to perform over the Internet.

We’ve always enjoyed Kate’s concert’s immensely. For someone who isn’t so tall (!) she has a big stage presence and twinkling eyes and a smile almost as wide as the stage. She chats away between the songs and really does seem to be enjoy the Christmas celebrations. And combined with the Christmas market her concert has felt like the start of Christmas for us, so I was delighted to find out that she was arranging to stream a concert from Doncaster with a limited live audience (of family and close friends, I guess) so we signed up to watch the performance which was broadcast last Saturday.

Her Christmas concert is based around old traditional versions of carols as performed around the pubs in South Yorkshire . Some of the songs were well known carols but sung to a different tune with other traditional songs sung to more familiar tunes. She was accompanied by her band of folk musicians and also by a brass quintet, which makes the performance particularly Christmassy for me.

Of course, watching a concert from your own living room isn’t the same as being in the midst of a crowd in a concert hall, but we made the best of it, streaming onto our main TV. We’d put the tree up during the afternoon and we even arranged to have our own version of Christmas market food with German sausage hot dogs with mustard and (well we like it!) a helping of saurkraut (or choucroute if you want to be French). The concert though was pure Northern English entertainment and accents (listen her pronounce “come” and “choir”) – I’ll always forgive Kate for being from the wrong side of the Pennines!

It was the first time my daughter, who has moved back in with us for the time being, has seen Kate perform but, just like us, enjoyed the performance.

So there we are – our Covid Christmas has started. And next year, hopefully all this mess will be in the past and we’ll be able to see her perform live to kickstart the Christmas celebrations.

So I hope everyone reading this has a great Christmas break – but make sure you take care so that all your loved ones have a good chance to be around to celebrate properly in 2021.

15 thoughts on “Happy Hollyday

  1. That’s my goal: lay low this year so next December 2021 we can REALLY celebrate. Like you, we have all our adult children at home as their plans were disrupted by the pandemic. One the one hand it’s nice, but on the other, I feel for them, their young lives so impacted by this awful situation. Essentially, the two who are still in school are doing “teach yourself engineering” and “teach yourself medicine”. Concerning for future bridges and by-passes.

    • People need to be sensible. sadly, not everyone is which is why we’re still where we are. But you’re one of the sensible ones .
      Have a great celebration with your family and stay safe and well 🙂

  2. Massive fan of Kate Rusby. Seen her live several times, but only once doing her Christmas carol concert. That was probably at least ten years ago at the Coronation Hall in Ulverston. She was wonderful, as she has been on every other occasion.

    Very disappointed she and John McCusker split up (from a purely musical perspective, anyway, I hope they have both found happiness since). Seeing them perform together in a band that was a who’s who of shit-hot British folk musicians was really quite something.

    • I’ve only ever seen her Christmas concerts – I think 5 time now counting the stream. Hopefully when all this mess is over I’ll make some more effort to get out and see some live music and perhaps catch her on one of her tours at other times of the year.
      I’m not familiar with John McCuskers music but seems he’s one of those respected musicians who pop up working with a number of people.

      • Yes, indeed. He’s a very respected modern folk musician who has his own band too. He and Kate were an item for a while, but they were a joy to watch on stage together.

  3. Glad you enjoyed the concert – virtually. I enjoyed the tune you posted. All we can do is make the best of things and at least you have your family around you. Mine are home but my daughter has tested positive so we are all isolated both at home and from each other to be sure. No plans to step outside that for any foreseeable time so I can’t see my folks. No way I’m taking any risks now we are so close the the vaccine rolling out. All the best to you and the family 😊

    • Sorry to hear your daughter has picked up the lurgy. From college? You definitely need to be careful now.
      Things going rapidly downhill again.
      I’m not taking risks either. I want to still be around when it’s all over and we can get out and about properly again. Take care

  4. Some of the online offerings this year have been stupendous – but not the same, of course. We have to take what we can get and I’m glad that people can maintain their livelihoods, or at least partially. I didn’t know till I read the comments that Kate Rusby was once married to John McCusker, a stalwart of Celtic Connections. Which is all online in 2021. I have my pass to all 19 nights! Happy Hollyday to you too.

    • I’ve fancied going to the Celtic Connections for a while. So I think I’ll join you and get one of those passes so they can come to me – providing that’s allowed now that crossing the border is off limits again 😬
      Take care of yourself and have a great Christmas – hope your mum is keeping safe

      • I think still only £30 – absolute bargain! https://www.celticconnections.com/how-to-book/
        It’s all grim again, isn’t it? I think virtual border crossings will still be allowed 😉. We’re all safe, thanks, and hope you are well too. It will be a quiet Christmas with just the three of us. Months ago, when things were improving, I had booked a cottage retreat in the Borders. Not possible! Have transferred it to Easter so 🤞🏻.

      • And you’re right abot the offerings online. This year I’ve been to a folk festival, the Hat Festival, the Wigtown book festival and the Orkney Science festival, and the Kate Rusby concert of course.

  5. Hello and thanks for posting this. I really enjoyed the clip and was impressed that you were impressed with the brass quintet! I play in a brass band, so these things are dear to my heart.
    We have just had a new Covid outbreak here in Sydney so we are all being super-careful and listening closely to the news. I think Sydneysiders have a new respect for all you UK folk living in lockdown for all this time, as well as our Victorian counterparts. We have a no singing rule here which is sad at Christmas and the carol service I have played in for the last 20 years has been cancelled so I’ll be home on Christmas Eve for a change.
    On a more cheery note, I just wanted to say Merry Xmas and thanks for all your posts which I have really enjoyed.
    Cheers from Australia where it’s warm, but rainy!

    • Thanks for your comment Margaret! I guess, that coming from the north of England I’ve grown up with brass bands and as a child the local band would play in the town centre and tour thestreets oftgetown playing carols, to raise funds, of course 😊.
      I started learn to play the trumpet when I was about 11, but didn’t follow through, sadly.
      I hope you’re coping ok with your lockdown and manage to make the best of a more cosy Chrismas at home. Pity about the carols being cancelled, mind.
      You’ll no doubt be aware at what’s happening over here. We’re now the pariah of the world as well as Europe. New varient Sars Cov-2 and Brexit. What a mess.
      But hey, ho, we are where we are and I’m taking care and looking forward to a break over the next couple of weeks.
      Have a great Christmas over in Oz!🎄

  6. You certainly were right, she does bring the Christmas season spirit. I love folk music so thanks for sharing. Have a great time with the family however you are together. Best from the nutso notso lockdown country!

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