Monthly Archives: December 2009

A New Year’s Song

Here’s a great song to play as we say goodbye to what’s left of 2009 and welcome in 2010.

It’s a song by folk group the Unthanks, and it’s about a New Year’s Eve tradition in Allendale, Northumberland. It’s called ‘Tar Barrel in Dale’. Here’s the explanation by Rachel Unthank:

The men of the village get dressed up in lots of different kinds of fancy dress.

They put a barrel filled with tar, paraffin and other highly flammable things on their heads, and they set them on fire and they go off in a parade around the village and then just before midnight they come back and throw them on the fire. It’s a really spectacular, beautiful thing. One year, when we were there, it snowed as well.

And so my dad George was inspired to write this song.

For the next few hours you can watch the Unthanks introduce and perform the song on a BBC 4 show (at 37:50).

Here’s ‘Tar Barrel in Dale’ on Spotify for when that’s gone.

Enjoy, and enjoy welcoming in the new year with friends and good company!