This is a Catalan carol of mysterious origin.
(Catalan being one of the older Medieval kingdoms that make up current day Spain.)
The earliest known published version is found in a 1556 Venice song book.
Written and sung in Catalan, (one of the linguistic predecessors of modern Spanish,) the song deals with the nativity and immaculate conception.
The nonsense lyrics -"Ríu Ríu Chíu"- are supposed to refer to the cry of the nightingale bird. The wolf represents the devil, and the lamb represents Mary.
I first encountered this song back in high school, when the chamber choir sung it for a CHRISTmass concert that year. As one of the oldest songs our choir had attempted to that point, it made an impression on me.
A testament to the enduring power of music.
Ríu Ríu Chíu, The protecting river bank,
God saved our lamb from the wolf.
God Saved our lamb from the wolf.
The ravenous wolf sought to bite her,
But almighty God knew how to defend her.
God sought to make her blameless of sin,
Nought even the origin should be found within.
This one that is born is the Great king,
Christ the father in carnal clothing.
He redeemed us by making himself slight,
He who was infinite is now finite.
Many prophecies have been preached,
Some even in our days have we reached.
The humanized God seen below,
And man in heaven, God made it so.
I saw a multitude of boys,
Flying around and singing joys.
Telling the shepherds of heavenly glory,
of Peace on Earth and the Nativity story.
He has come to give life to the dead,
and to repair us from our fall instead.
This child is the light of day,
and the lamb of St. John's convey.
Now we have achieved all that we desire,
Let us go and lay our gifts before our sire.
Let all submit to him their will,
To be equal to us he sought to fulfill.
released 21 December 2014
Sun in Capricorn, Moon in Sagittarius.
Words and Music by anonymous.
English Translation by Gabriel Santos.
Performed and Produced by Child Mercury,
at The Star Chamber, Kagoshima, Japan.
Dedicated to my friends back in Canada. I miss you guys!
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