Day 16: Musical Advent Calendar 2017

Artist: Trio Alvorada
Title: Natal Verde Amarelo
Translation: Green and Yellow Christmas
Language: Brazilian Portuguese

Lyrics: http://pt.allreadable.com/751fA6Rz

This lovely song from 1960 has lyrics wishing for a totally Brazilian Christmas, with no cold weather, nothing foreign, and not having to eat turkey.  They want the sun, a decent coffee, vatapá e caruru (I had to look this up, it’s food! Recipes here: http://gastrolandia.com.br/receitas/acaraje-com-vatapa-caruru-camarao-seco-e-vinagrete-de-tomate-verde/), Father Christmas wearing green and yellow, and to see the Southern Cross constellation in the sky.  This is a nice reference to the Brazilian flag, as the Portuguese name for the flag is ‘A Auriverde’ (the yellow-and-green one).  Green for the forests, and yellow for gold. It also has a blue circle representing the sky and includes 27 white five-pointed stars (one for each state and the Federal District)arranged in the same pattern as the night sky over Brazil, including the Southern Cross.

Being in the cold and snowy Northern Hemisphere it is easy to forget that so many countries are in the middle of summer at Christmastime.  I shall experience that one day!  In the meantime, joyful songs like this will keep that dream alive!

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Day 15: Musical Advent Calendar 2017

Artist: Marcel Martel
Title: Le rock’n’roll du Père Noël
Translation: The rock’n’roll of Father Christmas
Language: French

Lyrics:  I can’t find the lyrics for this song, unfortunately

A fabulous Rockabilly Christmas song from French-Canadian Marcel Martel, all the way from 1958.  I wish my knowledge of French was better – I can catch some of the words but it’s a bit fast for me!  Please let me know if you have the lyrics to this one 🙂

There is further information about Marcel Martel here: http://www.thecanadianencyclopedia.ca/en/article/marcel-martel-emc/

Day 14: Musical Advent Calendar 2017

Artist: Charles Musyoki Kikumbi & Kimangu Boys Band
Title: Christmas Na Kimangu
Translation: Christmas and Mystery (?? – according to Google Translate)
Language: Swahili

Lyrics:  I cannot find lyrics for this song

I am having trouble finding out information about this track, but I can still enjoy its vibrancy and excellent guitar playing.  I did find some details about Charles Musyoki Kikumbi here: http://speedydeletion.wikia.com/wiki/Charles_Musyoki_Kikumbi , so thank you to James Carlos Kilai for that information.  If anyone has any further details about this Kenyan guitar legend, please let me know.

Day 13: Musical Advent Calendar 2017

Artist: Heino
Title: Es ist für uns eine Zeit angekommen
Translation: A time has come for us (not sure about this – happy to have my slightly dodgy German corrected!)
Language: German

Lyrics: http://www.songtexte.com/songtext/heino/es-ist-fur-uns-eine-zeit-angekommen-weihnachtslieder-potpouri-6bfc1246.html

Heino is 79 today, so I guess we should wish him a ‘Happy Birthday’.  For a man who is mainly known for Schlager songs, which are considered a little cheesy by non-Germans (and, let’s face it, by some Germans too), I think this song is really lovely.  Especially when the guitar kicks in!  Do I agree with his political views?  Not at all, and I think maybe he should be more careful about how he chooses to reference Germany’s past. Would a man who has sold over 50 million albums care what I thought?  Of course not.

https://www.theguardian.com/world/2013/feb/24/heino-german-singer-far-right-comeback

Day 12: Musical Advent Calendar 2017

Artist: Hana Zagorová
Title: Zima, zima, zima, zima
Translation: Winter, winter, winter, winter
Language: Czech

Lyrics: https://hudba.zoznam.sk/hana-zagorova/piesen/zima-zima/

This song is about winter.  About how cold and misty it is, and how people have frosty noses and ears because of the weather.  One particular part I liked (bearing in mind the accuracy of Google Translate) is, ‘The houses are like a cake, everywhere white candy’ – after a rare covering of snow here in Birmingham, the houses I can see from my windows look just like iced cake.  I can’t believe I hadn’t considered that before.  If only people put little decorations on their roofs!

I pity the poor musicians having to walk up and down that hill in such conditions, but this video is really fun!  The part where the singer stands and skiers zoom past her on either side was a Health & Safety nightmare, but it takes pioneers and people who flaunt rules to create art!

Day 11: Musical Advent Calendar 2017

Artist: Nayo
Title: Papa Noel es yé yé
Translation: Father Christmas is yé-yé
Language: Spanish

You are getting two tunes for the price of one today, as this video also plays the B-side, ‘Porque no está’ (Because it’s not)

It is the A-side I am interested in though, for obvious festive reasons. It’s a very cute Christmas song that capitalises on the popularity of yé-yé music, which was a type of music that was all the rage in Europe in the mid to late 60s.  After The Beatles stormed the world with their chirpy pop, bands and artists made records partly inspired by them in their own languages.

Genaro Miguel Ganoza, known as Nayo, was born in 1957 and is the son of acclaimed Peruvian criollo musician Genaro Ganoza (Don Genaro Ganoza Torres), one of the founding members of the trio Los Kipus.  He now lives in Virginia in the United States.

There is information about yé-yé music here: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Yé-yé

Day 10: Musical Advent Calendar 2017

Artist: Johnny Dorelli
Title: Lettera a Pinocchio
Translation: Letter to Pinocchio
Language: Italian

Lyrics: http://lyrics.wikia.com/wiki/Johnny_Dorelli:Lettera_A_Pinocchio

A really sweet Italian Christmas song today, where a man is looking back to his youth and his childhood friend Pinocchio, and reminiscing about the secrets they shared.  He is wondering where Pinocchio and (Santa) Gepetto might be now, but I suppose he is really just thinking about what happened to the carefree days of his youth, which is something many people do at Christmas.  So lovely!

Re: Christmas songs, Johnny Dorelli recorded an English / Italian version of ‘Jingle Bell Rock’, which is also worth listening to (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Udl_Z_Mmu7s).

Day 9: Musical Advent Calendar 2017

Artist: Andy Montañez
Title: Bebiendo Ron Sin Bañarse
Translation: Drinking rum without bathing
Language: Spanish

I hope you know your Merengue dance steps for this one! I hardly speak any Spanish and I couldn’t find the lyrics for this one, but I found a karaoke video for this song that had the first verse or so. After typing those lyrics into Google Translate I found that the song is about a boy who liked singing, but he also liked drinking rum until he got drunk. One Christmas he just drank so much that he ‘forgot about the bathroom’ i.e. he basically forgot to wash.

I found this song on a website (https://www.billboard.com/articles/columns/latin-notas/6385972/tropical-tracks-christmas-list) where this song is described as a ‘cautionary urban Christmas carol’, so I can only imagine that the drinking / bathing habits of the lad in question deteriorated further. If you speak Spanish, I’d love to know the rest of the lyrics – please let me know!

Andy Montañez is from Puerto Rico, and still performing as far as I can tell. He is known as the ‘Godfather of Salsa’.

Day 8: Musical Advent Calendar 2017

Artist: André Hazes
Title: Eenzame Kerst
Translation: Lonely Christmas
Language: Dutch

Lyrics: https://genius.com/Andre-hazes-eenzame-kerst-lyrics

For some reason I’m drawn to songs where people are in prison. They have all the time in the world to consider their actions and think about how they could have done things differently, and this personal reflection works well in song format. This poor chap stole something for Christmas, I’m assuming in order to buy presents for his children. He has paid a high price, however, as he now sits in a cell while his wife and kids are living with someone else at Christmas time. It’s a sad tale and no mistake.

Day 7: Musical Advent Calendar 2017

Artist: Grace Hong
Title: 聖誕老人進城 / Shèngdàn lǎorén jìn chéng
Translation: Santa Claus is Coming to Town (Google Translate said ‘Santa enters the city’, which sounds slightly more menacing…)
Language: Chinese (Mandarin, I think)

The ‘Merry Christmas from Grace Hong’ record was released on Precious Urn Records in 1968, and also has a lovely version of ‘Jingle Bells’, along with (rather inexplicably) Chinese versions of ‘Guantanamera’ and ‘If You Are Going To San Francisco’, which may be Christmas standards in a parallel universe.