Schedrik – Carol of the Bells, the Original Ukrainian Version

There’s lots of cool performances and recordings of this song on YouTube, but here is one of my favourites:

It’s just a very basic fan video, but the performance really struck me.

Incidentally, one of my favourite lines from the original goes – “you have a black-browed wife.” It’s congratulating the guy that the swallow is singing to the man of the house (yes, the song is about a swallow flying in to a house and predicting a good new year for the family – the words that they’ve made up in the West do not correspond to the original, though they’re still pretty good). A “black-browed” woman is a beautiful woman. Lots of people are surprised by that, they tend to assume that Ukrainians value blondness and very light features above all.

It’s a very happy song, set to an extremely haunting tune. The original was a folk song that was then arranged by composer Nikolai Leontovich.

I also like these two little girls singing it (when I was little, I also worse a similar costume, and also sang a little, and there may still be incriminating videos that will one day show up to ruin my life):

There’s also this video of a choir from Kemerovo (Siberia). The camera really shakes, so don’t watch the video. Just listen. It’s beautiful:

Finally, here’s an instrumental from the Claymation Special. Good times.

11 thoughts on “Schedrik – Carol of the Bells, the Original Ukrainian Version

  1. So many years I’ve loved this song and I never even thought to wonder what the original was like (stupidly) – thanks for the videos/info.

  2. Wow, that Claymation video fell off my radar for years, but seeing it posted here brought back a flood of forgotten memories. Fun stuff, these videos. Thanks for sharing this. 🙂

  3. Happy hollidays Natalia! I’m also writing to fill you in on college hoops rankings. 1. NC, 2. Conneticut, 3. Pittsburg, 4.Oklahoma, 5. Duke,.. 7, Gonzaga.

    Gonzaga had been ranked 4th but lost in overtime to UConn, and then lost to Arizona, but it’s still the best Gonzaga team I’ve ever seen. The season is hotting up!

    Warm wishes.

  4. Hi.
    So this is my fav holiday tune and the story you tell about it leaves me wondering what the actual lyrics might be, if accurately translated. I always found that they didn’t really fit the tune and it bothered me.
    I looked a bit and found no rendering of the folk lyrics and I wonder if you might somehow be more specific in your description. It seems very beautiful.

  5. Just wanted to say thanks, guys. The lyrics to Schedrik are basically this: a swallow flies over to a house and predicts a bountiful year – because the animals in the barn have given birth, because business is good, and because the lady of the house is a beauty.

    Don, thanks for the basketball update. The NCAA will surely be interesting in 2009.

  6. Does somebody have the original ukrainian TEXT?
    Our choire wants to sing it in the original language.
    It`s such a nice song.

    Thank you very much

  7. Generous, generous, generous,
    A swallow has arrived,
    She began to twitter to herself,
    Call the owner:

    “Come out, come out, my lord,
    Look at the barn, –
    There the sheep rolled,
    And the lambs were born.
    You have all the good goods,
    You will have a measure of money,
    Although not money, then sex,
    You have a black eyebrow woman. ”

    Shchedryk, Shchedryk, Shchedrivochka,
    The swallow arrived.

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