Eccleshall - December 2023 - Cutty Wren + In The Bleak Midwinter

Fresh out of the box, I’ve made an arrangement of Cutty Wren from the EP Six Songs. The original is pretty much acapella, plus percussion, sung by Heloise Tunstall-Behring, Louisa Gerstein, and Johnny Flynn. The words are from a poem by Robert Macfarlane, inspired by a scene from The Dark is Rising by Susan Cooper, a novel that starts on Midwinter’s Eve. The mysterious Wren Hunters appear out of the gloom with the wren they’ve hunted down on a byre, chanting, and rhythmically hitting a small drum.
I wanted to get learn the words and get it down in time for Midwinter’s Eve today


Hi Ruaridh,
Nice played and singing with it :sunglasses: :clap:

Oooh, I really like that! Great arrangement and a lovely performance.

This was great! I always admire singing and playing at the same time, especially in arrangements like yours when your singing and playing are a bit syncopated. Super cool stuff, keep them coming!

Thanks for the kind comments
I’ve been a bit of a slacker with the avoyps this year, despite supposedly promising myself to do more, even though I know they are so useful for improving. Having the deadline of midwinters Eve for this seasonal song was very helpful for turning on the red light and getting it down!

That was terrific Ruaridh. I loved the percussive strum you used, not easy to keep the timing of that going throughout a song.
A very festive vibe to that one.
I’m not familiar with any of the names you referenced but I got an Ian Anderson Jethro Tull feel from your vocal. Really good.

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Thanks so much Gordon.
I’ve been working on my right hand a bit lately ( I’m left handed…)
It’s a recent song, the original doesn’t have guitar at all, just vocals & percussion - the beat is quite a feature of the track - and a bit of whistle.
It’s inspired by a scene in the seasonal fantasy novel the Dark is Rising by Susan Cooper
If you check out my YouTube there’s more info, and links to the original recording and my sheet music transcription ( first time , very proud)

That sounded great!!!
A real treat to listen to.
Well done!

Wanted to get this down today, in time for the shortest day and the turning of the year


Nice arrangement of my favourite carol, thanks for sharing.

Oh Ruaridh, thanks so much for this beautiful tune. A quite challenging day is behind me, and you’ve just brought a big smile on my face :blush:.
I don’t think, that I’ve heard this song before, but I love it. Beautifully fingerpicked. I enjoyed it from start to end :hugs:.

:clap: :clap: :clap:

Oh, that was beautiful!
Great playing and singing. I enjoyed this lovely song a lot :grinning:

Thank you for sharing.
Merry Christmas and a festive season full of joy and music :guitar: :musical_note: :christmas_tree:

Thanks Trond, appreciate it !

Cheers Mal,
It’s still a bit work in progress to get really properly red light ready, I can get the tone and movement sooo much better when the pressure is off…but I wanted to get something up in time for Midwinter’s day.
There is absolutely nowhere to hide when playing this arrangement, that’s for sure. It’s a version I learned from Martin Simpson

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Thanks so much Nicole, it’s a Christmas song that means a lot to many people over here.
It’s from the 1870’s with an interesting history, and well known as a Christmas carol here in the UK
The words are a poem ( I only sang the first verse here) by Christina Rossetti, sister of the pre-Raphaelite artist Dante Gabriel Rossetti.
The tune is by the composer Gustav Holst
Glad you liked it

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Thanks so much Gunhild, it’s one of my favourite Christmas carols, and I’m just getting to grips with this very exposed version of it.

I’m planning to get down quite a few songs over Christmas, so many thanks for the encouragement

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That was very nice Ruaridh. Really smooth playing and good vocals to match!

Ah yes, Martin Simpson is a class player Ruaridh, will check it out, thanks.

Beautifully played and sung Ruaridh. Well done.

I’ve got the tab for it, I can ping a to you if you like. It’s from a set of really brilliant instructional vids he mad a while back