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’.
The first ever Wassail show was due to take place in London’s Union Chapel in December ’21. The show was SOLD OUT, but four days before, as Omicron hit, it became clear it could not go ahead. The show was rescheduled and Jon and Eliza celebrated Christmas in July ’22
Now Eliza Carthy and Jon Boden will combine their considerable talents and reputations within the UK folk scene, for the first time ever touring as a duo for a nationwide wassail across key venues in November/December this year.
As one half of Spiers & Boden, lead singer of the mighty Bellowhead and with his own successful career as a soloist and with Jon Boden & The Remnant Kings and Jon Boden & The Remnant Strings, Jon has been a major name in English folk music for over twenty years with more BBC Folk Awards than any other artist. Add in a performance in the Hollywood movie About Time, his role singing/playing the theme tunes of both the BBC Radio 2 Folk show and The Archers, and his place as a respected singer songwriter for both theatre and the folk scene, with his soon-to-be-released the third and final album, ‘Last Mile Home’, in his post-apocalyptic trilogy, Jon is a musical force to be reckoned with. Jon, together with John Spiers, also did a stint in The Ratcatchers, the backing band for Eliza Carthy in the mid-noughties, so has a long association and friendship with Eliza that has led naturally to the newly launched Wassail
‘The stand out performer of his generation’
Twice nominated for the Mercury Prize and winner of innumerable other accolades over a 20 year career, Eliza has performed and recorded with a diverse array of artists including, Paul Weller, Rufus and Martha Wainwright, Patrick Wolf and Bob Neuwirth. Eliza grew up immersed in the world of traditional music, touring and recording with her legendary parents, Martin Carthy and the late Norma Waterson as well as engaging in numerous pioneering solo and band projects.
‘Eliza Carthy is one of the figureheads of the English folk revival.’
Eliza has co-presented the BBC Radio 3 World Music Awards, been a regular guest-presenter on the BBC Radio 2 Mark Radcliffe Show and has made many appearances on BBC TV’s ‘Later…with Jools Holland’.
Together they will now present 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.
Thu 9th Warwick Arts Centre, Coventry
Sat 11th Oxford Playhouse
Wed 22nd Huntingdon Hall, Worcester
Thu 23rd St. George’s, Bristol
Fri 24th The Haymarket, Basingstoke
Sat 25th Revelation, Ashford
Sun 26th The Stables, Milton Keynes
Mon 27th The Apex, Bury St Edmunds
Thu 7th Brewery Arts, Kendal
Fri 8th The Stoller Hall, Manchester
Sat 8th Music Room, Liverpool Philharmonic
Sun 10th Whitby Pavilion Theatre
Tues 12th Cadogan Hall, London
Weds 20th Square Chapel Arts Centre, Halifax
Thu 21st The Fire Station, Sunderland