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Friday, December 23, 2011

A Glimpse of Melody in Timeless Christmas Carols

My idea of a perfect Christmas is to spend it with you. - Jose Mari Chan, "A Perfect Christmas"
Carols are songs played during Christmas season. Since when I was a kid, I grown up listening to those Christmas carols with our cassette player in our house. My father played cassettes from a tape of country singers with their renditions of Christmas songs to groovy and soulful versions from Boney M. I enjoyed listening to these songs during Christmas because you can hear these songs on the radio and even on the Internet in the month of December. Then until I become an adult, I am still enjoying listening and humming Christmas carols. 

When I was a kid, I joined my peers in the evening of Christmas eve for carolling where we visit different houses to sing carols and the residents will give presents (such as cash or food) for our performance. We used handmade musical instruments such as drums from milk cans or tambourine made of tanzans (bottle caps) and wire. In addition, teenagers and adults are also fond of carolling with the use of musical instruments such as guitar and tambourine.

I am always entertained with the little voices as well with their song choices of kids when they have their carolling in our house. When they sing Tagalog Christmas songs such as "Boom Tarat Tarat" by Willie Revillame which played in the defunct noontime show "Wowowee" and the classic Tagalog songs "Ang Pasko ay Sumapit" and "Pasko Na Naman." After they sang their carols, we will give them money and the children were singing "thank you, thank you ang babait ninyo thank you" (Thank you for being nice). In addition, teenagers and adults were able to have their carolling also for the purpose of fund raising activity this Christmas in order to help other people. I am also looking forward that Filipino kids will sing Christmas carols like "12 Days of Christmas", "Jingle Bells", "Deck The Halls" and "Rudolph the Red Nosed Reindeer" because it will match their age and the lyrics as well.
On the first day of Christmas my true love sent to me. A partridge in a pear tree. - 12 Days of Christmas
Most of the Christmas carols came from centuries ago, there are different cover versions performed by various artists. For example, the 18th century song "Silent Night" which was originally from Germany. It was covered by different artists including Bing Crosby, Enya (which was sung in Irish) and X Factor winners Alexandra Burke and Joe McElderry. Another example is "Joy to the World' which was first published in the 17th century and based on Psalm 98 in the Bible. It was revived by different artists such as Mariah Carey and Whitney Houston. 
1. The cover of the album "Merry Christmas" by Mariah Carey which includes hits "All I Want for Christmas is You", "Joy to the World" and "O Holy Night"; 2. Amy Grant from the music video "My Grown Up Christmas List"; 3. George Michael of Wham! from the music video "Last Christmas"; 4. The collaboration of recording artists and band singers of the 80's for Africa or known as Band Aid in the music video "Do They Know Its Christmas"; 5. Liz Mitchell of Boney M. in Feliz Navidad and 6. Asian singer, BoA in her music video "Merry Christmas".
There are also other Christmas carols which is timeless such as "Feliz Navidad" by Boney M in the 1970's; "White Christmas" which was played in 1942 movie "Holliday Inn" which was sang by Bing Crosby, Dolly Parton, Michael Buble and Boa; "All I Want for Christmas Is You" by Mariah Carey; "Last Christmas" by Wham; and "My Grown Up Christmas List" by Amy Grant and revived by Kelly Clarkson.

In the Philippines, there are also classic Christmas love songs and carols. Love songs such as "Sana Ngayong Pasko" by Ariel Rivera, "Pasko Na Sinta Ko" by Gary V. and "Nakaraang Pasko" by Kuh Ledesma tells a message about a loved one they missed during Christmas. There are also songs that expresses happiness during Christmas such as "Paskong Anong Saya", "Kumukuti-kutitap" composed by Ryan Cayabyab and performed by Joey Albert, and "Tuloy na Tuloy Pa Rin Ang Pasko" by Apo Hiking Society and revived by Orange and Lemons. Aside from that message of happiness and missing someone this Christmas, there are also Christmas songs that is inspirational like "Christmas in Our Hearts" and "A Perfect Christmas" by Jose Mari Chan and "Sa Araw Ng Pasko".

Carols are truly a part of the Christmas season. They are the music and the spirit of the Yuletide season because these songs are familiar in different parts of the world. The meanings of these Christmas carols are to remember the persons who loved us and most of all, remember God who gave us the blessings and the best things we had in our life.
Let’s sing Merry Christmas
And a happy holiday,
This season may we never forget
The love we have for Jesus
Let Him be the One to guide us
As another new year starts
And may the spirit of Christmas
Be always in our hearts. 
- Christmas in Our Hearts by Jose Mari Chan 

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