‘A Christmas Carol - A Folk Opera’ – Green Matthews - pure festive enjoyment

(October 28, 2017)

When Charles Dickens wrote A Christmas CarolI doubt he had the remotest idea his story would forever encapsulate the spirit of season and colour how many people envisage Christmas.Now, folk duo Chris Green and Sophie Matthews have re-imagined this traditional Green Matthews A Christmas CarolYuletide adventure with a blend of re-worded Victorian carols and wintertime folk songs to create ‘A Christmas Carol - A Folk Opera’. The story is well-known ... Ebenezer Scrooge experiences ghostly visitations from his dead partner and Spirits of Christmas who point out the error of his ways, offering a chance to change and accept the Christmas spirit.

Dickens produced a spiritually uplifting book and Green Matthews have done the same with this album. Their perfectly matched voices fit the subject matter to a tee, as does the splendid mix of instrumentation and although sometimes the lyrics feel ‘engineered’ to fit the tunes, the overall effect is one of pure festive enjoyment. This album is lusicious, from ‘Marley’s Song’ and ‘Fezziwig’s Ball’ through ‘The Ghost of Christmas Present’ and ‘London At Christmas’ to ‘A Funeral’ and ‘Christmas Morning’ with ‘Scrooge’s Change Of Heart’.

The concept of the ‘folk opera’ is not new, Peter Bellamy gave us The Transports’, there’s Fairport Convention’s ‘Babbacombe Lee’ and Ewan McColl’s ‘Radio Ballads’. Whether you subscribe to the term ‘folk opera’ or not, these are splendid examples of folk music doing what it does well ... telling people tales about people. Following on from their musical adaptation of Kenneth Grahame’s ‘Wind In The Willows’ with special guests Vicki Swan and Jonny Dyer, ‘A Christmas Carol - A Folk Opera’ from Green Matthews is a fine piece of work ... and if you are a fan of Christmas and all it means ... you’ll love it..

Playing on ‘A Christmas Carol - A Folk Opera’ are Chris green (voice, guitar, mandocelo, piano, accordion, bass guitar, drums) and Sophie Matthews (voice, flute, English border bagpipes) with Jude Rees (voice, oboe, melodeon).


Review: Tim Carroll

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