Sunday, December 12, 2010

At Long Last!

I have often wondered why all the popular Christmas songs are written from a northern hemisphere perspective. They're all about winter, snow, warm drinks, cosy fires, etc. Yet half the world experiences Christmas in the summer season, so why don't people in the southern hemisphere write Christmas songs?

This has bugged me for three years now, but I am happy to say that I discovered an Afrikaans Christmas song this year that was written here in South Africa (there's actually quite a story behind the song, but that will have to wait for another day). I can't figure out if it's called Somerkersfees or Welkom O Stille Nag van Vrede, but here's the first verse and my feeble attempt at a translation (and I do hope my Afrikaans friends will forgive me if I've done it any injustice):

Welkom o stille nag van vrede
onder die suiderkruis
wyl stemme uit die ou verlede
oor sterre velde ruis
Kersfees kom, Kersfees kom
gee aan God die eer
Skenk ons 'n helder Somerkersfees
in hierdie land, o Heer.

Welcome, O silent night of peace,
under the Southern Cross,
While voices from the ancient past
rise o'er the starry veld -
Christmas is coming, Christmas is coming,
Give all the honour to God
Grant us a bright summer Christmas
in this our land, O Lord.

8 comments:

Barbara said...

I love it! Thanks for sharing this, Annie. You can also try this one (not authentic Afrikaans, though) written by me, Daleen, Sarah, and Laura...

I'm dreaming of a white-hot Christmas
Just like the ones I used to know
Where the bodies glisten
And people listen to Jacaranda on the radio

I'm dreaming of a white-hot Christmas
With every Christmas card I write
May your beach be sandy and nice
And may all your Christmas meals be braais.

Annie said...

Brilliant! That's awesome! :-)

Werner said...

It's called Somerkersfees, best version by Laurika Rauch in my opinion.

Annie said...

Laurika Rauch is the best! Her interpretation and sensitivity to the music are unparalleled.

chessaleeinlondon said...

Laurika Rauch is my BIG favourite when it comes to any interpretation of any kind of music. Thanks for sharing this, it's beautiful. Have a wonderful Christmas and I LOVE the family photo on your sidebar!

chessaleeinlondon said...

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=HExTPHiuIIU

I've found this video on youtube and it is beautiful - the boys choir in this video reminded me of the Drakensberg Boys Choir of years ago - beautiful singing.

chessaleeinlondon said...

I've also found this translation on the site of "openlanguages.net" with a beautiful audio-file

[1]

Enter in quiet peace filled night
beneath the Southern Cross
Lend now your ear this starlit night,
to whispers from the past.

[2]

Do you hear how softly the bells
are chiming, in ancient dialect
Even the evening's starry silence,
on prescious history reflects.

[3]

Can you also feel the warmth of His love,
as we celebrate the day
God loved us so much He sent his son,
no other gift as great.

CHORUS

Christmas nears, Christmas nears
Bow before the King
Grant by Your grace in this great land
A bright summer's Christmas Lord.

mamaforhim said...

Hey Friends!

Here's a link to it! If you copy the url here and then open it in a new window, you'll be able to follow along with the lyrics that Annie posted!

http://www.we7.com/#/song/PietSmit/Somerkersfees+