Jillian C. York

Jillian C. York is a writer and activist.

Christmas Around the World, YouTube-style

Speaking of “world music,” I’m always on the lookout for Christmas music from other cultures. This list is part my favorites, part Twitter crowdsourcing:

One of my personal favorites; the inimitable Fairuz singing Sawt el Eid (Silent Night); I have and adore the whole album, which is freely downloadable (I can’t speak to the legality, but as the album is impossible to find by proper methods, I’ll link):

Betelehemu, sung by the African Children’s Choir. Fun memories, this one – my high school choir sang this! I remember us struggling over the language.

The Byzantine Hymn of the Nativity (Chanted by Nader Hajjar, Ottawa):

A rather lovely Czech Christmas carol, Štědrej večer nastal. Unfortunately, no info on the video:

And perhaps my favorite stumble-upon of the day, a series of South African Zulu Christmas songs sung by Siyabonga Cele in a German church. That voice!

More soon, assuming the contributions keep rolling in…

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  1. Excellent collection! I hope you get more. What fun :-)) Merry Christmas :-)

  2. Your post got me thinking about Christmas songs in Russian and there really aren’t many of them since Christmas was practically banned under the Communists. Instead, the celebration of the New Year incorporated many of the traditional Christmas symbols devoid of whatever religious meaning they have like the Russian Santa Claus (Ded Moroz, Father Frost) and the Christmas tree. Another tradition that was created in the USSR are New Year’s Eve movies, and many of them include really nice songs. This is a clip of two of my favorite songs from the movie Karnaval’naya Noch (A Festive Night) sung by Ludmila Gurchenko (then 21, at 1956). This is probably the most famous and popular New Year Eve’s movie even created in the USSR.

    The first song called “Pyat Minut” (Five Minutes) counts down to midnight on December 31 and the one right after it is called Choroshie Nastroyenie (A Good Mood).

    • Thanks Elizabeth, I really enjoyed Pyat Minut!

      When writing this post, I had searched for Russian, thinking there would be something good, but indeed, didn’t find much. Not to make light, of course, but how sad to lose Christmas (you know, assuming one would otherwise celebrate it!)

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