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Traditional Exmoor Christmas carols re-discovered and revived by Wren Music

By North Devon Journal  |  Posted: December 05, 2013

SEASONAL SONGS: Wren Music  who have revived old Christmas carols.

SEASONAL SONGS: Wren Music who have revived old Christmas carols.

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TRADITIONAL Exmoor Christmas carols – some of them not heard since the 18th and 19th centuries – are being revived by South West music charity, Wren Music. And you are invited to play a part in their rebirth.

Wren Music, based in Okehampton, are holding an all-day event called Come Sing For The Season on Saturday when they'll be teaching some of the carols.

The event, at Halsway Manor in Somerset, aims to pass on the long-lost local carols to a new generation. A book of 10 of the Exmoor carols is being published by Wren on the same day, following the earlier publication of 15 of the rediscovered carols.

The songs are among 150 Exmoor carols which have been collected during three decades of research by South West folk song experts Bob and Jacqueline Patten, who will be appearing at the event.

Some of the carols which the Wren Music team will be teaching will not have seen the light of day for many years – they've literally been kept in the dark:

"Some of them are hand-written, some of them were done using old-fashioned printing, some of them are typed and some of them are a bit mouse-eaten from being stored away in old church chests for many years," said Paul.

The local carols featured in the event are from areas that include Chittlehampton, Lynton and Bratton Fleming.

"There is instrumentation written down with some of the carols, so we're looking for musicians to come along as well as singers," added Paul.

Come Sing For The Season is on Saturday, December 7 at Halsway Manor near Crowcombe just outside Exmoor National Park in Somerset. The workshops run from from 10am to 8pm. Workshops: £30 (adult), £5 (under 16 accompanied by an adult). There's a concert of the newly-learned carols at 6pm by all participants and the Wren musicians. This will be rounded off by an informal sing-song in the bar at 8pm. Admission to the latter two events is free of charge to the public. www.halswaymanor.org.uk

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