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Artwork for Hark! The stories behind our favorite Christmas carols

Hark! The stories behind our favorite Christmas carols

America Media
MusicMusic CommentaryMusic History

It’s the most wonderful time of the year! The cookies, the mistletoe, the lights...oh, and the music! For Christians, Christmas carols mark a season of hope and the celebration of Jesus’ birth. Even in popular culture, these iconic jingles capture a warmth, a cheer and a nostalgia that transcends religious belonging. But where do these beloved yuletide songs come from? What inspired the people who composed them? How did they become popular and even mainstream? And what impact do their ancient Christian messages have on an increasingly post-Christian culture? America Media presents “Hark!” a podcast on the meaning and the making of our most beloved Christmas carols and their time-honored traditions.

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Latest Episodes

Our final episode of Hark! this season departs from the usual nativity of Christ in a manger, surrounded by shepherds and angels on high. Instead, our carol centers on the singular icon of a rose. “Lo, How a Rose E’er Blooming” is a German Christmas ... more

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2 months ago

We’re looking at a song that is indisputably a Christmas carol but with a reach that extends to every season – “Go Tell It on the Mountain.” It belongs to a collection of historic Negro Spirituals, which likely started on the slave plantations in the... more

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2 months ago

“The Wexford Carol” is heralded as Ireland’s oldest recorded Christmas carol. It’s been performed by world class cellist Yo-Yo Ma and American country music star Allison Krauss. Yet, the history of this carol is difficult to trace. We know that it wa... more

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3 months ago

Reviews

4.9 out of 5 stars from 157 ratings
  • Wonderful podcast

    This podcast has been a joy to listen to. I appreciate Maggi van Dorn’s openness and curiosity about the carols and loved learning about the history, as well as the musical and theological aspects of the carols. The guests were all amazing. In my Lutheran church, we sing Lo How a Rose every Christmas Eve, and now I know why, as I learned that the carol comes from the German Lutheran tradition. But as the episode makes clear, there is mystery to the carol. I always associated its tenderness and q... more

    Apple Podcasts
    5
    josie729
    United States2 months ago
  • Something to look forward to each season!

    Love this series. Producers Maggi and Ricardo have put together an outstanding podcast. It touches one’s heart, soul and intellect. The history, lessons and spirituality behind the carols is enlightening. I love being able to go back and listen to previous seasons as well. What a blessing. Bravo to the staff that produces this outstanding podcast.

    Apple Podcasts
    5
    Inside Thoughts
    United States2 months ago
  • Great way to prepare for Christmas

    So glad that Hark is back for a new season! I love hearing stories of the carols—some favorite and some new to me. They are well-researched and engaging stories—with some good music as well! more

    Apple Podcasts
    5
    xebec_lady
    United States3 months ago
  • Wonderful Podcast

    I love this podcast! The history and stories behind these cherished Christmas Carols is so well written, performed and informative as well as inspiring. So, here it is almost the middle of May 2023 and I find myself re listening to all of the episodes and will most likely listen to them even more before HARK 2023 comes out this coming Advent. more

    Apple Podcasts
    5
    AlabamaDave
    United States9 months ago
  • Love!

    I have loved listening to all of these episodes and the mix of theology, history, pop culture, and music theory. Lots of lovely music and interesting experts included in each episode. Thank you America Media!

    Apple Podcasts
    5
    LJ Family
    United Statesa year ago

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this podcast launched 2 years ago and published 16 episodes to date. You can find more information about this podcast including rankings, audience demographics and engagement in our podcast database.

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