The month of December is a time for christmas music, isn´t it. At least for me it is.
Having had kids for the last 11 years of my life, I´m totally out of touch with all the new christmas songs that have probably been made the last decade. Yes, of course I know it´s ridiculous to blame the kids for this. Hahaha… all I would have to do is switch on a radio. Which is a habit I have not had since my twenties. But. Which I am planning to rekindle in the near future. I just seem to prefer putting on a cd of my own choice. I feel my mood and then. Leonard Cohen comes on, or The Kinks, or Syd Barret, or Prince, or Lee Perry or Nina Simone or.
is the main, major, number one christmas song for me. I just never tire of it. Maybe because the year it came out (1984) I was a huge fan of many of the contributing artists. And it was brand new to be able to see them on tv, imagine – a music video!!! Plus the lyrics are right up my street, of compassion with the suffering, to help the hungry…
Of course you have guessed which one it is.
Band Aid. Splendid name. Paul Young. Boy George. George Michael. Bono. Simon le Bon. Sting. Phil Collins. Spandeau Ballet. Duran Duran. Culture Club. Ultravox. Wham. Rick Parfit and his mate…they sang that eye opening song “You´re in the army now”… Status Quo! Of course.
There are a few women present as well. No clue what their names are! Hahaha… but I know the names and the music of all the British pop star men there. Many of them were plastered on my wall, posters ripped out of the German pop magazine Bravo. (I spent all my pocket money on Bravo).
And Bob Geldof. Sir.
I hope the money that this song still earns, 31 years later, still go to help the starving.
Another classic christmas song for my generation is of course this one:
What can I say about that one. Back then, to me, it was a fresh view into adult issues. Broken hearts, being in love. A subject that took up a lot of my mindspace, I was 12. Just waking up to teen life of boys and politics (justice, solidarity). Those two words in the brackets, by the way, are song titles from Little Steven, which was my greatest hero. Making music that spoke to my heart and soul. But I will get back to him in an other post.
This album from 1987 was the one my father always put on whilst we were waiting for christmas. Sissel Kyrkjebø from Bergen. The then so young girl, with the voice of pure shimmering gold. The whole album is totally christmas vibed for me. Thanks to my dad. Who crossed over 26/10 2010. Bless his light. We miss him even more at christmas time.
Then there is this one. Here in a version by one of Norway´s most famous choirs. Does this song exist in English, or have they just made a translation of the lyrics into English? I don´t know.
Choir music is christmas-y, isn´t it. By nature. I almost said. By culture. Church culture. Christmas is a christian thing after all, and in Scandinavia all children go to church with their kindergarten or school before christmas and hear the christmas story of jesus being born, and sing the christmas psalms. Also, many families go to church christmas eve. Many only go that one time a year. Like myself.
After I came to Denmark, I also have some Danish christmas music, of course, that I enjoy hearing again every December.
This is Treenighedskirkens Drenge- og Mandskor. My bonus-son (Husband´s son) Kasper is there, for this 50. anniversary concert they gave last December. (See my blogpost http://kaltwasser.dk/a-piece-of-christmas-peace/ for a description of that concert).
Kasper is standing at the back row, a little to the left of the middle. My husband has an album of christmas songs with this choir, from when Kasper was just a wee lad. He travelled with the choir to California alone at the tender age of nine. It is one of the best schools for song in all of Denmark, this choir.
Which reminds me. Of the boy´s choir in Norway, which always “sings christmas in” on Norwegian television on the afternoon of christmas eve. Sølvguttene. The Silverboys. With their amazing voices:
Here they are joined by Morten Harket, whome I´m sure you know from the Norwegian popband A-ha.
He presents them with a price for having sold… I don´t know how many, but many! Records.
What else have we got?
Oh yes, I was on about Danish christmas music. There must be a lot. But the one album that I love is “Anne Linnets Jul”. Anne Linnet is a singer songwriter. Jul means christmas. Like “youletide”. Juletid.
Can only find one of the songs on that album on youtube… so that´s the one you get: White Christmas:
(Lyrics go: “Wonder if we get a white christmas this year… wonder if we get snow…wonder if there will peace now, this year…as a light we can feel deep in our hearts…wonder if we will have a white christmas this year…”)
But okay. Then there is this groovy version of the beautiful hymn. Me I love to dance. So. Give me the joyful, soulful and triumphant…chrístmas tunes. – No blasphemy intended –
Boney M. LOVE Boney M.
And then there´s this one:
Rockin´ around the christmas tree…
Oh and of course this one… (I did live in Wales for a few years after all. 1994-1999…)
Hmmmm…. Searching for a song by Rod Stewart (or at least sung by him)… was it Rudolph? Can´t find it. Memory slips me. I could choose his “Let it snow let it snow let it snow” instead, but. It´s kind of long and dreary, in all it´s niceness and in spite of my immense love for snow…
What else, what else…
HAH. I knew I could trust in mr. Elvis:
(Love those ads by the way. Greenlanders going to The Canary Islands for winter holiday on the beach).
Right. Then I came to think of “And so it is christmas…” By my beloved John Lennon. Found it on youtube and expected… I don´t know. But this is the official video for the song. Which makes me cry. (War is over) is part of the song´s title. These are war images of crying people.
What is christmas about if it is not about wanting peace. Wanting love to rule between us humans.
One thing is to enjoy celebrating and affirimng the bonds of love with our near and dear ones.
But what about the rest of us. Humanity. The Human Race. We are One. And we cultivate violence. We do! We are collectively insane!
The war is not over, is it. The terror is spiralling to ever new heights and levels of evil.
This video does give me the christmas spirit. Of compassion, empathy, wanting to reach out and embrace and help. The rest of us. Not the others. Our siblings. That our countries bomb.
Not in my name.
Watch this if you want to. It hurts. But it´s the truth. And it is a message central to christmas.
Wow. Where do I go from here. So we can return to our front rooms of mandarins and nuts and fireplaces and gift wrapping… our safety and cosiness… without feeling guilty, or down, grieving the state of our world… ?
Is there such a song out there? A happy, uplifting song, maybe even funny, which still holds the message of human compassion and peace in it? I don´t know if I have ever heard it. If you have, please write me a comment, I would just love to know it.
Let me search and see what I can find to round this blogpost up and leave us feeling okay / good.
Tomteland… they must be in Sweden then… Norway´s beloved big brother neighbour to the east.
Cutypie Michael. I do miss him.
Oh and this one. A list of 200 songs! Motown christmas songs. The Temptations, Stevie Wonder, Al Green, Whitney Houston, The Four Tops, Marvin Gaye, The Supremes, Lionel Richie, Otis Redding… All Good Stuff.
I realize I could go on for a very long long time here…
Here is one that is from before I was born, I think. Alf Proysen was a very productive singer songwriter from Norway. He sings his own song here. “Julekveldsvise”. Christmas eve song.
Found an English translation fro the lyrics. Here you are:
NOW WE HAVE WASHED THE FLOOR
Words: Julekveldsvise, Alf Proysen, Norway
Music: Arnljot Høyland
1. Now we have washed the floor, and we have carried wood.
The birds have got their sheaf of grain and we have trimmed the tree.
Let’s sit down here and rest, now, and take a little pause,
While I rock the cradle, so your brother gets a nap.
2. Now to the window pull up the bench, let us rest a spell;
We’ll search to find the Christmas star, wherever she might be.
the brightest of them all, it is so clear and grand.
You’ll see it o’er the rooftop where midwife Matja lives.
3. So good and kind that star is; it winks now, can you see?
And now I want to tell you more, so listen carefully:
The first time that she shone, she formed a bridge so bright,
Connecting earth to heaven, and a manger and a cow.
4. So small and good the baby was, who in the cradle lay.
His mama took good care of him; his papa stood and smiled,
While shepherd boys around him did scurry back and forth.
They brought their little lambs, for the tiny boy to see.
5. And even the three Wisemen, they rode for many days,
Though no one knew the way, or to which place they were to go.
The Christmas star shone brightly as it moved across the sky.
Not getting lost, they found Him; the star had been their guide.
6. That night was the first time, the Christmas star shed light
Now watch it radiating on all the peoples of our world.
Whatever happens to us, the lofty star stays bright.
You’ll find her oe’r the rooftop where midwife-Matja lives.
Of course, in Norwegian the lines rhyme. But.
Content is the essential aspect to grasp the meaning.
Do I end this Christmas Song journey here?
I know I said I would finish up like 5-6 songs ago…. hahahaha….
There is Kalle the snowman… The old Norwegian Mouse song… Children´s christmas songs…
Here is a medley of different old Norwegian christmas songs… with an interesting visual side, showing Norwegian christmasy landscapes and traditions… and Donald Duck! … (In Norway, every year the christmas eve morning, there is this old Disney christmas show that all the children watch…)
Right. All good things must come to an end. Let me then. Finish up. With my favourite christmas psalm. With the most wonderful lyrics of all.
Dejlig er Jorden. It is a Danish hymn. Translated into Norwegian, so I always thought it is a Norwegian hymn. Internet says it´s also translated into English, and given the title “Beauty Around Us”. Trying to find an English version on youtube, but it´s hard. Let me see if i can find the lyrics at least. Here, first, is the song, in a version by Norwegian Kurt Nilsen (World Idol winner) og Christel Alsos.
Found English lyrics:
Dejlig er jorden
Komponist: Schlesisk, 18. årh. Tekst: B. S. Ingemann, 1850
Beauty around us,
Glory above us,
Lovely is earth and the smiling skies,
Singing we pass along
Pilgrims upon our way
Through these fair lands to Paradise.
Ages are coming,
Roll on and vanish,
Children shall follow where fathers passed.
Never our pilgrim song,
Joyful and heaven born,
Shall cease while time and mountain last.
First to the shepherds
Sweetly the angels
Sang it at midnight, a song of morn:
Glory to God on high,
Peace and good will to men
Today is Christ, our saviour, born!
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Merry Christmas Everyone.
Let Love Rule.