Advent Calendar 2021 – Day 2☃️

Having begun yesterday with a blockbuster and an unknown band, albeit covering a well-known song, I thought I’d do something similar today. There is also going to be a bonus video today, the first in a recurring series.

This first one has become a Christmas standard over the years. There are many versions, but this is my favourite. I share it every year, so you may well have seen it here before, but it’s too good to leave out! It starts slowly, but is worth the wait (if you can’t wait, the song actually starts around 2 minutes in):

The song dates back to 1934 and has been recorded many times. Bruce’s version was released in 1985 as the B-side to the single My Hometown, from the Born In The USA album. The single was a top ten hit in both the US and the UK and this song was also a minor UK hit on re-release in 2007, the year of this performance. For me, it’s always great to see big stars having fun like this, though as I have said before I think Clarence Clemons (RIP) rather steals the show!

My second selection for today comes from a band who I featured in Tuesday Tunes 57, but apart from that I think they will fit the definition of ‘unknown’ for most readers. Otava Yo are Russian, but have played concerts in over 30 countries around the world – in much of Europe and in Mexico, the US, and Japan. Their song I shared before was a beauty, and was well received, so I just had to include this one. It has English subtitles, if your Russian language skills aren’t up to it:

That was released last Christmas Eve in Russia, i.e. 6 January. They celebrate Christmas on the same date as us, 25 December, but the Russian Orthodox Church uses the Julian calendar – in the more widely used Gregorian calendar this translates into Christmas Day being what we know as 7 January. I think that is utterly charming, and is so typical of the band. Like First To Eleven yesterday, they are another I found from a YouTube recommendation, and I’ve become a big fan. The dancing chorus are fabulous, too.

For those who enjoyed their videos last year, I have bad news: Hafod Hardware have announced that they won’t be making a Christmas advert this year. Hafod Hardware, if you recall, is a shop in the small Welsh town of Rhayader. They made four adverts, from 2017 to last year: they are all lovely and really do get to the spirit of Christmas. As a bonus for this year I have decided to share again all four in the series, as they are very well worth another viewing. This is their first one, from 2017. Watch out for the first appearance of little Arthur, who has since become the star of their shows:

The shop has said that these all cost around £100 each to make, as the ‘actors’ are friends and family, and production was provided free of charge by a friend. The only expense was the music licence! I really do think they put to shame all those big budget extravaganzas that flood our TV screens each Christmas. Keep your eyes peeled for a nice visual joke for fans of the Two Ronnies, too. The music for this one, as for all four, is by Andrea Von Kampen, who has since become a favourite of mine after I was introduced to her beautiful voice by these ads.

That’s a wrap for today. All that remains is to give you my image of the day. On the theme of ‘wrapping’…

Back again tomorrow 😉🎄