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These Christmas carols have been given a fierce feminist makeover

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Moya Crockett
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A new album of ‘hyrrs’ (rather than hymns) is raising money for domestic violence charity Refuge. 

If you love Christmas carols but have always thought they lack a certain funny, feminist flavour, you’re in luck. An album of ‘hyrrs’ – as opposed to hymns – has just been released, featuring several traditional songs given a pro-women spin.

The album, titled Hyrrs: Festive Hymns Made Feminist, is described as a “holly-jolly ‘eff you’ to the gender inequality we’ve seen in 2017”.

It includes musical ruminations on issues such as workplace inequality, sexism, harassment and body-shaming, with tracks like Good Queen Wenceslas and Kick the Balls of Patriarchy (a reworking of Deck the Halls).

All proceeds from sales of the album will go to Refuge, the charity which provides essential services to women and children escaping domestic violence. 

“Good Queen Wenceslas looked out on the feast of Stephen…”

Sandra Horley CBE, Refuge’s chief executive, says that the album was partly intended as a rebuke to the idea that feminists can’t take a joke. Perhaps pre-empting the inevitable anti-feminist backlash, she adds that men should appreciate the carols in the light-hearted spirit that they were meant.

“Everyday sexism is sadly still a fact of life and remains a root cause of violence against women,” says Horley. “The ‘hyrrs’ of the world are often accused of lacking a sense of humour. So, this is a divine opportunity for the ‘hymns’ of the world to see the funny side.

“Otherwise, guess who has the last laugh?”

Refuge chief executive Sandra Horley

The concept for the album was masterminded by a team at advertising agency Grey London and produced by Goldstein Music, with lyrics written by independent female songwriters.

Vicki Maguire, co-chief creative officer at Grey London, says that the hyrrs were intended as a response to a difficult year for women.

“From Weinstein and Westminster to salaries and sexism, 2017 has shown how appalling it can be for women,” she says.

“That’s why we now want to make a statement about kicking everyday inequality in the baubles this Christmas, while raising money for an amazing cause.”

Below, we’ve selected some of our favourite lyrics from the album. Make sure to sing along… 

From Kick the Balls (Of Patriarchy) – to the tune of Deck the Halls

Scrutinise the institution

Fa la la la la, la la la la

Discourse leads to revolution

Fa la la la la, la la la la

And if talk won’t change perspectives

Fa la la la la la, la la la

Flamey pitchforks are effective

Fa la la la la, la la la la 

From We Want an Equal Salary – to the tune of God Rest Ye Merry Gentlemen

We want an equal salary

We want our equal pay

In 1970 we tried

And still we try today

To fix this inequality

Without further delay

Women’s pay should be equal to a man’s

To a man’s

Women’s pay should be equal to a man’s 

From Good Queen Wenceslas – to the tune of Good King Wenceslas

Good Queen Wenceslas looked out

On the feast of Stephen

Then she thought, “Now hang about

Why’s this feast called ‘Stephen’?

Surely there were other Saints

They could name it after?

Lucy, Laura, Abigail?

Mary for that matter?”

Hyrrs: Festive Hymns Made Feminist can be downloaded via iTunes, Google Play, Amazon Music and Spotify. You can also download a free ‘Hyrrbook’ containing all the lyrics for the songs at hyrrsnothymns.com.

Images: iStock / Rex Features

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Moya Crockett

Moya is Women's Editor at stylist.co.uk, where she is currently overseeing the Visible Women campaign. Carrying a tiny bottle of hot sauce on her person at all times is one of the many traits she shares with both Beyoncé and Hillary Clinton.

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