12 days of christmas

The Twelve Days of Christmas 2022 – Day 12

We have arrived at the end of our musical journey, and there is no better choice with which to grace our ears: the incomparable Céline Dion.

In many parts of the world, Christmas is celebrated on Christmas Eve, the 24th of December. Traditionally, this includes dinner and company, but what song could describe this day properly? Well the originally titled Cantique de Noël or better known O Holy Night is a strong candidate, and this is therefore my choice.

Written in 1847 by Adolphe Adam, it has been around for a long time. What makes me think so fondly of this is is my time with a certain community band where we would perform concerts at retirement homes. One of the perennial pieces we played was an arrangement of this piece of music that was originally first broadcasted on the radio in 1906 for the first time by a Canadian inventor Reginald Fessenden. A historic moment in innovation, but also of the widespread connectedness of music.

May your Christmas be safe, secure, filled with loved ones and good times. I hope you have enjoyed my journey through the 12 Days of Christmas, and perhaps some day we will come forward with a more modern version, or another theme, but until then; best wishes!

The Twelve Days of Christmas 2022 – Day 11

As we approach the end of the journey towards Christmas, it’s important to pay homage to the eleven pipers piping, I mean some more classic favourites that transcend time and place. Back in the 1800 century, there was this classic English carol that emerged based on verses from the Bible.

When we think of the time of the birth of Jesus, we are reminded that the angels announced the arrival of the babe, and thus Hark! The Harald Angels Sing. This interjection is rather rare in modern days. Hark! Hark! Hark! I say. We should use it more, don’t you think?

Having said that, there is something about the melody of this piece of music that always drawn me in, and when we add the majestic harmonies of a few beautiful singers, we are left with an anthem of welcome. Only one day until the star shines to announce the arrival of Christmas.

The Twelve Days of Christmas 2022 – Day 10

Truth be told, 1992 was a good year. I remember it well, and one of things that comes from this year is a Christmas classic, The Muppet’s Christmas Carol. A Charles Dickens adaptation, we follow the journey of Ebenezer Scrooge through a musical Disney adventure.

The Muppets are a central part of my life. They were my friends when I was alone as a child, they were a respite from the seriousness of life, but most importantly they are just amazing.

I love them so much that I watch the classic series every year on New Years Eve! I have rearranged and retexted the introductory song to fit as my own introduction for the “Ask Osky” segment of an online radio show (Holla Holla 2011-13!!). I just can’t get enough of the Muppets.

Did I forget to mention that my mobile phone background and lock screen images are the muppets? So you can imagine that me picking this movie (and song) is unsurprising, but honestly this is a great movie for all ages. I show it to my students every year, and they think its hillarious and wholesome.

Long live the Muppets, and enjoy this song for a feel good moment or two. Then go watch the movie!

The Twelve Days of Christmas 2022 – Day 9

Originally a poem from the 19th Century, “In the Bleak Mid-Winter” was originally “A Christmas Carol” which quite fenskly sounds much more low-key boring. Adapted to music by the likes of Britten or Darke, this version is that of the famous composer Gustav Holst.

Though he’s known as a composer of The Planted Suite, he did have significant other compositions which are lesser known. Though since my musical knowledge of the 20th century is a bit limited, being on the 17th-19th century and I’m much more familiar. It’s more in my wheel-house, so-to-speak.

Yesterday was the Winter Solstice (YaY!) which marks the turning of the tides of darkness, but in relation to this song it made me wonder… Its not really Mid-Winter around the Christmas season, but rather the beginning; at least here in Sweden.

Christmas has a lot of relevance with snow and cold, so imagining it in the southern hemisphere always blows my mind. Imagining Christmas in a warm climate or without frosty windows, it just doesn’t feel right. I always migrate to colder climate, so here’s hoping global warming won’t continue to plauge me.

And lastly, the word bleak is just so extra. Let’s turn back the clock to 2004-2006 where the interjection “Bleak” or “That’s bleak” really was mainstream. Inspired by, and altered slightly, the words of the famous Regina George, “Let’s make bleak happen, it’s going to happen!” Gretchen Weiners would be so proud!!

The Twelve Days of Christmas 2022 – Day 8

Do you remember what you were doing on this day, in 2000? While it may be an important human date for the northern hemisphere, the Winter Solstice marks the shortest day, and the gradual orbit tilt to change back the pendilum of time, this giving us more sunlight. More sunlight hear you! And so this pick is apropos for several reasons. On the darkest of days, comes the darkest of songs.

NewSong was a relatively unknown artist when I heard this on the radio. I was sitting on a bus and I heard the music through the riddles bumps of the bus. Outlining the final thrust towards getting a Christmas gift for a dying mother of a young boy in the queue, Christmas Shoes reminds of, much like Charlie Brown, what the true meaning of Christmas is.

Is it those presents you make, buy, give, and/or receive? Living in a consumer based world makes this difficult to balance, but thankfully I live in a country where it is rather modest in terms of consumerism, but goes full out on food. Living in China or Canada during the holidays always struck me in a difficult way. The hustle and bustle to buy presents, and I just didn’t feel like I belonged. It was not because the Christmas spirit didn’t surge thorough my soul, nor that I was a child with minimal financial freedom; I just didn’t understand why I was doing what I was doing. I reflected, evaluated, and realised that maybe the path was not my own, so I turned around.

Bref, the song brought many to tears on first listening. I can see it, I felt it too, so grab a tissue if you haven’t heard it and enjoy this one hit wonder.