Before there was carolling, there was wassailing, where seasonal songs were exchanged for money, food and ale. In the countryside, trees were blessed, while in the towns wassaillers went house to house with their songs and calls for Christmas treats. Coming from the Anglo Saxon waes hael, ‘wassail’ is a toast wishing good health with a ‘be well’.
Eliza Carthy and Jon Boden combine their considerable talents and reputations within the UK folk scene, for the first time ever touring as a duo for a nationwide wassail. Jon Boden – one half of Spiers & Boden, lead singer of the mighty Bellowhead and with his own successful solo career – has been a major name in English folk music for over twenty years. Eliza Carthy has twice been nominated for the Mercury Prize, won innumerable other accolades over a 20-year career, performed with everyone from Paul Weller to Martha Wainwright and guest-presented on BBC Radio 2.
Presenting seasonal, traditional material on a stage decorated for the occasion, they will take audiences back to some of the oldest songs in the English canon, telling Christmas tales, spreading good cheer and lighting up the darkest days of the year, ahead of Christmas Day itself.
‘[Jon Boden is] the stand-out performer of his generation’ – The Guardian
‘Eliza Carthy is one of the figureheads of the English folk revival.’ – Evening Standard
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