Tag Archives: Sussex Mummer’s Carol

2018 Christmas Revels (Cambridge, MA), ‘Nordic Celebration’, Dec. 20 Was Mellow & Soothing.

by Anura Guruge

It was good. That goes without saying. It would be impossible, a violation of the laws of physics for Cambridge Revels not to be good. There were parts of it that were very good. It, however, unlike some past performances, e.g., last year’s ‘Venetian‘, the 2016 ‘Acadian‘, 2015 ‘Welsh‘, or the ‘Mediterranean’ from a few years back, was not brilliant. But, that is OK. You can only truly appreciate the brilliant ones if you have some ‘average’ ones to measure them up against.

Here are the words that I would use to describe the 2018 Cambridge Revels: languid, gentle, relaxed, colorful …

My 12-year old, a veteran of at least 10 Revels (if not more given that we used to see 2 Revels a year for 3 – 4 years), said outright that it was boring! That was harsh. Overall, as a family, we all agreed that it was ‘OK’ but not great.

It was your quintessential curate’s egg. It was good — very good — in parts.

One way to best describe it is to say that it wasn’t as boisterous as I would have liked. It was not jolly enough! I am sure that part of that has to do with the subject matter — the Nordics. {Smile}. Very nice people and I have spent a lot of quality time in Sweden. But, I think that they too might agree that they are somewhat reserved.

That actually might be THE word — RESERVED.

I realized, halfway through Act 1 that this was very soothing. Given that my Garmin Fenix 5 Plus gives me continuous heart rate I checked my pulse. 56 bpm! That is very relaxed. When watching TV it is around 60. So, this was even more relaxing and soothing than TV! {Smile}

There was one act, #30, ‘Tremannsdans Frå Telemark‘ (a walking dance by three very talented ladies), that was WORLD CLASS. A sword dance without swords.

Act #2 (maybe it was #3, but it was at the start) was also brilliant and promised much. The ‘Christmas Night Elves’, act #33, was ultra-cute.

Of course, the set pieces, Dona Nobis Pacem, Lord of the Dance, Horn Dance, Sword Dance & Sussex Mummer’s Carol were excellent. As my 12-year old commented, “the best parts were the ones that we did!”

The Mummer’s Play was good. Very good.

I am not sure why some of the reviews I read, prior to the show, claimed that this was one of the best. All I can assume is that, unlike I (who has been to upwards of 25 Revels), they are new to this.

We had great seats. Front row, centre balcony. Doesn’t get better than that. The lady who conducted the opening of Act Two, sung by a chorus up on the balcony, stood next to I. That was special. As it transpired we were also the FIRST to enter the theatre. That too was special. Seeing the theatre totally empty.

Anywho, I am already looking forward to the 2019 Revels in Cambridge.

Welcome Yule — and today is Yule.

Related posts:
Search on “Revels“.

by Anura Guruge


2017 Christmas Revels (Cambridge, MA), ‘Venetian Celebration’, Dec. 8 Was Just Bravissimo.

by Anura Guruge

Click to ENLARGE. The Sanders Theatre foyer during intermission — following the “Lord of the Dance”.

Click to ENLARGE.

I acceded to their vehement entreaty NOT to take pictures within the hall
— even before/after the show.

It was sumptuous. Exquisitely produced and brilliantly performed. Takes your breath away. They, i.e., Cambridge Revels, do such an amazing job. Our 4th Christmas Revels at Cambridge — three in a row, and probably close to my 20th Revels (if not more).

I will confess to having been a bit apprehensive. I tend to prefer, overwhelmingly, British-themed Revels. So, I was worried that the Venetian setting might ‘miss the mark’. Worse still I had ordered the CD — supposedly of ‘the show’ — beforehand and had listened to it (in the van). The CD does a huge injustice to the show. The show is a thousand times better.

Creative and humorous story line. Varied music. Great costume. Some unusual period instruments.

I knew that the “Lord of the Dance” would be there. That is so much a part of Revels. It was and there is NOTHING like dancing it, with the cast, in the foyer of the splendid Sanders Theatre.

To be relief and delight all of the other traditional sets were also present — another very clever sword dance, Morris Dance, Horn Dance, “Donna Nobis Pacem” & the “Sussex Mummer’s Carol”.

I can continue to rave, BUT I am sure you got the drift.

It was beyond good. I feel so lucky and privileged. If it wasn’t such a hike, I would go again.

Highly, highly recommended. Go if you get even half a chance. You will have a blast and come away feeling rejuvenated.

Related posts:
++++ Search on “Revels>>>>

by Anura Guruge

Cambridge 2015 Christmas Revels, The ‘Welsh Celebration’ — Absolutely Fantabulous.

RevelsCambridge10182015 .Anura Guruge December 2014 thumbnail


by Anura Guruge

Related posts:
>> Cambridge 2015
Welsh Revels
: Program.
>> Cambridge 2015 Welsh Revels.

** Dylan Thomas & I.
** Dylan Thomas: ‘A Boy With A Note’.

>> Christmas Revels North, 2015Scottish Highland Bash.
>> Christmas Revels 2014: RAVE.
>> Christmas Revels 2013 at Dartmouth.
>> Christmas Revels 2012 at Dartmouth.

++++ Search for ‘Revels’ & ‘Cambridge’ for MANY other related posts >>>>

Click to ENLARGE.

Pictures from last night provided by Revels.

Photographs by (and copyright belonging to) Roger Ide.

Click to ENLARGE.


Lavish Production.


Authentic & Empathetic.

Singing bordering on Divine.

Yes, I will readily admit that I love ‘Revels‘ — and have for years. But, I am also a stickler for tradition and class and will differentiate between brilliant, v. good and not so good as I did here.

The ‘Welsh Celebration’ Christmas Revels 2015, opening night performance yesterday, in Cambridge at the elaborate ‘Sanders Theatre‘, was outstandingly good in every facet.

This morning Teischan, Deanna and I, all veterans of Revels past, were debating whether last night was the BEST Revels we have ever seen! That alone is one heck of a testament — since I have been to about 9 and Deanna and Teischan to more than 6.

Yes, the Welshness appeals to me since Wales is one of the 4 places I consider as ‘Home’. That they actually mentioned Cwmdonkin Drive, as to where a Christmas present being delivered, had come from was an added bonus. Not sure how many people even heard the name — Cwmdonkin — or knew what it meant. I would have to think that I was the ONLY person there last night that had actually lived on Cwmdonkin Drive — directly opposite Dylan Thomas’ house.

Very authentic. A lot of men looked Welsh. The slag piles were beautifully rendered.

That they did ‘Sospan Fach‘, a classic Welsh ditty (invariably sung at Rugby matches), was another bonus. It was GOOD (but I share with you, below, my favorite version).

The requisite elements of any Christmas Revels — Morris Dance, Mummer’s Play, Sword Dance, Dona Nobis Pacem, Sussex Mummer’s Carol, Horn Dance — were of an extremely high class. But I expect that from Cambridge Revels — who are THE ‘Mother Ship’ of Revels.

The Sword Dance was exquisite and elaborate. Wow. A girl slipped and fell during it. The audience gasped as one — that was how everybody, at the edge of their seats — was engrossed in the display. She got up at once and continued without a hitch. Given the reaction from the audience they might want to incorporate that slip into future performances.

Musically it was a Master Class, especially the signing. Bravo. THANK YOU.

The singing segments in the Second Half were goose bump inducing. The audience signing Dona Nobis Pacem was WOW! Well it is Cambridge.

Well I do NOT want to appear that I am gushing TOO MUCH since we consider Revels North, at Dartmouth, OUR Revels. So we don’t want them to think that I am glorifying Cambridge too much. SMILE. We go to the Revels North ‘Scottish Bash‘ next week. Yes, TWO (2) Revels for 2015.

Brilliant production. Outstanding performance. Bravo. Kudos.

Thank YOU.

Even MORE pictures by Roger Ide.
Click to access.

MY Favorite rendition of ‘Sospan Fach‘ — and OF COURSE it is by Max Boyce.

Remember I went to University in Wales (in Swansea) and essentially grew up there.


Click to access YouTube video. Sospan Fach starts at around 3:20. This is Sospan Fach at its very best and Max was the master. IF you haven’t heard Max Boyce before THANK ME for enhancing your lfe.

Christmas Revels in Cambridge, MA. Sold Out. But, They Send Greetings For The Winter Solstice. Celebrate.

Anura Guruge, laughing, picture November 16, 2011.

by Anura Guruge

Past related posts:
1/ Revels North (i.e., Hanover, NH at Dartmouth) and Revels (Cambridge, MA) Doing Same Irish 1907 Christmas Show — Sept. 2, 2012.
2/ Of Course I Know R.M.S. Carpathia, The Setting For The Christmas Revels In Hanover, NH & Cambridge, MA — Sept. 3, 2012.
Christmas Revels 2012 In Cambridge, MA … — Oct. 18, 2012.

Image from their production of ‘Irish Revels’ a board the R.M.S. Carpathia by Cambridge Revels (the ‘mother-ship’ as I refer to them). Got this in my e-mail. Thanks.

For the Dartmouth, NH equivalent.

Celebrating the Winter Solstice.

Another rendition of the haunting "Sussex Mummer's Carol", a celebration of the passing of the Winter Solstice, the traditional ending of all Christmas Revels performances irrespective of geography. See last Solstice post here for the other version. Click image for the YouTube video.

Another rendition of the haunting “Sussex Mummer’s Carol”, a celebration of the passing of the Winter Solstice, the traditional ending of all Christmas Revels performances irrespective of geography. See last Solstice post here for the other version. Click image for the YouTube video.

Rejoice! Jump For Joy. The Winter Solstice Is Upon Us. 6:12 AM On December 21, 2012 In New Hampshire.

Winter Solstice animation.

Anura Guruge, laughing, picture November 16, 2011.



by Anura Guruge

Tomorrow is the shortest day of the year for those of us living in the Northern Hemisphere. It is the Winter Solstice, also referred to as the ‘Southern Solstice’ (because the South Pole faces the Sun) and for obvious reasons ‘December Solstice’.

On the day of the Winter Solstice the Sun, at noon, will be at its lowest point above the horizon for the year — it will also rise at the furthest point Southeast it ever reaches during the year. The sunset that day will also be at the most Southerly point.

The Winter Solstice was a very important day in olden times. On this day the Sun God (Sol) had to be beseeched not to abandon the world, but to come back to start another year … It was one of the most important holidays of the year. ‘Christmas Revels‘ is a celebration of how various cultures dealt with this pivotal day of the year. In the 4th Century Christian leaders morphed the Solstice holiday into becoming Christmas.

Where the Sun rises in the Northern Hemisphere during the year. The Winter Solstice is to the right. Click to ENLARGE.

Where the Sun rises in the Northern Hemisphere during the year. The Winter Solstice is to the right. Click to ENLARGE.

If you want to be pedantic, ‘solstice’ per se refers to the exact moment when the Earth ‘turns the corner’ in its orbit around the Sun. It is the exact moment when the South Pole is at its closest to the Sun for that orbit. That exact moment is fleeting. Less than a minute. It will occur tomorrow, December 21, 2012, at 11:12 AM G.M.T. For us in New Hampshire, 5 hours behind G.M.T., it will thus occur at 6:12 AM. But, we tend to call the whole day, which could fall on the 20th or 22nd of December, though the 21st is the most common, ‘Winter Solstice’.

Note that the increase in the length of the (or the decrease leading up to the Solstice) is a bit jerky varying between 4 and 5 seconds a day in the above chart. This amount changes over the year. But, the inconsistency remains. It is also worth noting that the increase in the length of the day is not evenly split between sunrise and sunset. There is always some level of asymmetry. January 4, 2013 to January 5, 2015, we gain a whole minute, but the sun rise time is the same for both days. That whole minute has to do with the sun set shifting from 4:24 pm to 4:25 pm (in Concord, NH).

The Solstices and the Equinoxes (when all of Earth get an exact 12 hours of day light) have all to do with the 4 seasons of the Earth, which in turn comes about because of the Earth’s crucial 23.5° axial tilt. That is what causes the two different hemispheres to jut out at the Sun at different angles as the Earth completes its yearly orbit around the Sun. At the Winter Solstice the Northern Hemisphere is further from the Sun, so it takes longer for sunlight to reach it. The following pictures should remind you of what the seasons and the Solstices are all about.

The Earth’s tilt towards the Sun at the Winter Solstice. See how the Northern Hemisphere is tilted back while the Southern is pushed forward (giving them Summer).

Earth’s 4 season per the Northern Hemisphere. The Winter Solstice, when the Northern Hemisphere is furthest from the Sun is at the far right.

So, join me in rejoicing. The shortest day is here. Summer is on the way.

P.S., That the stupid Mayan doomsday fell on the Solstice is not a coincidence.

Click for a YouTube video of 'Susan Cooper' reciting her famous celebratory poem, always sun at 'Revels' performances just prior to the end.

Click for a YouTube video of ‘Susan Cooper’ reciting her famous celebratory poem, always sun at ‘Revels’ performances just prior to the end.

Let us conclude, as does all 'Revels' with the haunting "Sussex Mummer's Carol" and savor this day. Just for the record, I was born an grew up in Ceylon where we have NO seasons! Click for this most beautiful carol from YouTube.

Let us conclude, as does all ‘Revels’ with the haunting “Sussex Mummer’s Carol” and savor this day. Just for the record, I was born an grew up in Ceylon where we have NO seasons! Click for this most beautiful carol from YouTube.