Christmas Music Matters: A Gift from Ukraine

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Today, let’s listen to something a bit light and fluffy!

A Ukrainian pre-Christian folk carol for New Years (which used to be in the Spring), gave birth to today’s carol. Here is the ancient Ukrainian original:

Ukrainian lyrics to Shchedryk Transliteration (BGN/PCGN) English translation
Щедрик щедрик, щедрiвочка,
прилeтiла ластiвочка,
стала собi щебетати,
господаря викликати:
“Вийди, вийди, господарю,
подивися на кошару,
там овечки покотились,
а ягнички народились.
В тебе товар весь хороший,
будеш мати мiрку грошей,
В тебе товар весь хороший,
будеш мати мiрку грошей,
хоч не грошей, то полова:
в тебе жiнка чорноброва.”
Щедрик щедрик, щедрiвочка,
прилeтiла ластiвочка.
Shchedryk shchedryk, shchedrivochka,
pryletila lastivochka,
stala sobi shchebetaty,
hospodarya vyklykaty:
“Vyydy, vyydy, hospodaryu,
podyvysya na kosharu,
tam ovechky pokotylys’,
a yahnychky narodylys’.
V tebe tovar ves’ khoroshyy,
budesh’ maty mirku hroshey,
V tebe tovar ves’ khoroshyy,
budesh’ maty mirku hroshey,
khoch ne hroshey, to polova:
v tebe zhinka chornobrova.”
Shchedryk shchedryk, shchedrivochka,
pryletila lastivochka.
Shchedryk, shchedryk, a shchedrivka [New Year’s carol];
A little swallow flew [into the household]
and started to twitter,
to summon the master:
“Come out, come out, O master [of the household],
look at the sheep pen,
there the ewes are nestling
and the lambkin have been born
Your goods [livestock] are great,
you will have a lot of money, [by selling them]if not money, then chaff: [from all the grain you will harvest]
you have a dark-eyebrowed [beautiful] wife.”
Shchedryk, shchedryk, a shchedrivka,
A little swallow flew.

In 1904, Ukrainian Composer  Mykola Leontovych arranged the music, and in the 1930s, Peter Wilhousky created the Christmas version of the lyrics, since the melody and arrangement reminded him of shimmering bells. Here is their version in a couple of covers:

Naturally, a tune as catchy as this is going to get parody versions, and here is my favorite, a Lovecraftian take that is hilarious!

Look to the sky, way up on high
There in the night stars are now right.
Eons have passed: now then at last
Prison walls break, Old Ones awake!
They will return: mankind will learn
New kinds of fear when they are here.
They will reclaim all in their name;
Hopes turn to black when they come back.
Ignorant fools, mankind now rules
Where they ruled then: it’s theirs again

Stars brightly burning, boiling and churning
Bode a returning season of doom

Scary scary scary scary solstice
Very very very scary solstice

Up from the sea, from underground
Down from the sky, they’re all around
They will return: mankind will learn
New kinds of fear when they are here

Look to the sky, way up on high
There in the night stars are now right.
Eons have passed: now then at last
Prison walls break, Old Ones awake!
Madness will reign, terror and pain
Woes without end where they extend.
Ignorant fools, mankind now rules
Where they ruled then: it’s theirs again

Stars brightly burning, boiling and churning
Bode a returning season of doom

Scary scary scary scary solstice
Very very very scary solstice

Up from the sea, from underground
Down from the sky, they’re all around.

Fear

(Look to the sky, way up on high
There in the night stars now are right)

They will return.

 

Parody aside, here is a rocking version for your ongoing Christmas joy!

Merry Christmas!

Steven A. Armstrong
Tutor, Editor, Consultant

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