Today's date



Mykola Leontovych (trad. arr.)




Somewhat serendipitously we find ourselves on to In Winter just at the beginning of meteorological winter. That wasn't planned—if only I was that organised!

"The Little Swallow" or "Shchedryk" (Ukrainian for 'bountiful evening') was originally arranged in 1916 by Ukrainian composer Mykola Leontovych and was traditionally sung on the evening of January 13th (New Year’s Eve in the Julian Calendar). In 1936 the song was adapted by Peter Wilhousky, given new lyrics in English and entitled “Carol of the Bells”. It is this version that is widely known in the west but the older, Ukrainian version is better. The lyrics tell of a swallow flying into a household to sing of the wealth that will arrive the following spring.

The musical device of a four-note pattern within the range of a minor third (no, I have no idea either) is thought to be of prehistoric origins, which is probably why the song has a goosebumpy mysticism about it.


One or two to versions to choose from but here is a particularly sweet performance with the Gori Women's Choir on the BBC's One Show. The Little Swallow on The One Show.


(Not sure how much this will help you, but there is at least a rough translation underneath the lyrics.) The Little Swallow