Saturday, October 20, 2018

The King

The King in this song is the wren of St Stephen's Day, the Cutty Wren, hunted and put on a pole or carried in a cage.  So the red ribbons aren't so nice.

The harmonies are nice.

Sir James Fraser thought the custom was ancient, pre-Christian, and related to the human sacrifices at the close of the year, the Winter Solstice. Others thought it had to do with the Peasant's Revolt of 1381*. There isn't any evidence for these, as the custom is not recorded until the late 18th C, but both have a plausibility, anyway.

Chumbawumba went with the political spin, predictably.

*The Peasant's Revolt was mostly in East Anglia, with lots of trade connections across the Channel, and among the people who would provide most of the antimonarchist Puritans a few generations later.


RichardJohnson said...

This is the version that I knew: The Clancy Brothers & Tommy Mackem: The Wren Song

Assistant Village Idiot said...

I liked that. Steeleye Span did something a little similar to that one, too.