An annual selection here, as I feature a Christmas carol that is specifically near and dear to a particular reader of mine (“Hi Mom!” he said as he cheerfully waved). It’s one that I never knew much about until a couple of years ago, though. “Bring a Torch, Jeanette, Isabella” originated in the Provence region of France, which seems to be a particularly productive region of France for beautiful things. The carol’s lyrics tell the story of two girls who discover that a certain baby has been born to a woman who has been bunking down in a stable. They run off to tell the villagers of the miracle that has occurred and bring them back to pay homage, cautioning them to remain silent so the baby can sleep. (One wonders if one of the villagers the two girls fetch happens to be a young boy with a drum, but anyway.)
The tune is lovely in that wonderful way of pre-Baroque music, and even when played slow it has a gentle dance rhythm befitting the folk music of the peasants of Provence. Here are several renditions of this lovely carol (including a couple of instrumentals).