The jolly season isn’t complete without festive background music to bring on the holiday spirit—from the classic Jingle Bells belting out from speakers at every mall we set foot in to the softer Silent Night, our Christmas playlists carry fond childhood memories.
Christmas music originally dates back to fourth centu- ry Rome, in the form of rhyming carols and hymns.Simple church music instruments were and still are popular, including the triangle and cymbals. Over the years a vari- ety of different genres like pop,jazz and rock have been incorporated into Christ- mas music which often narrates tales of the birth of Jesus, like the iconic Si- lent Night by Franz Xaver. More recently, Christmas music has expanded to include more themes, like traditions of the season or the cold weather—Frank Sinatra’s Let It Snow be- ing one of our perennial favorites. In Arabic, Lailet Eid (Christmas Night), Fayrouz’s rendition of Jingle Bells, has also become iconic.
So whether you’re looking to add a fes-tive vibe to your home or office this month,here’s a rundown of Egypt Today’s essential Christmas songs.
THE CLASSIC CAROLS
The most iconic Christmas song in the world, Jingle Bells has been covered endlessly, and in lots of different lan- guages and productions, but the original song was written by James Lord Pierpont and was at first titled One Horse Open Sleigh and released in 1857. Since then, famous acts like Louis Armstrong, The Beatles, The Million Dollar
Quartet, Luciano Pavarot- ti, Frank Sinatra, Barbra Streisand and Ella Fitzger- ald have paid homage to the song in their own ren- ditions.
One of the most famous Christmas carols, Silent Night was composed by Franz Xaver Gruber and the lyrics were written by Joseph Mohr. The song originated in Austria’s
Oberndorf Bei Salzburg city in 1818 and was declared an intan- gible cultural heritage by the UNESCO in 2011. Our favorite renditions include those by Michael Bublé, Elvis Presley and Mariah Carey.
Petit Papa Noel (Little Fatfter Cftristmas)
A French favorite, the song was released by Tino Rossi in 1946. Written by Raymond Vincy and Henri Martinet, the song is now one of the bestselling singles of all time in France.
Joy to tfte World
This is one of the oldest, and most most-known Christ- mas carols and was written by Issac Watts in 1719. It has been performed by a number of leading singers, including Mariah Carrey and Whitney Houston, whose version is clos- er to jazz and pop music than the original classic.
It Came upon tfte Midnigftt Clear
Another classic carol, this spiritual song mixes flute, violin and other string instruments. The lyrics were written by American author Edmund Sears in 1849 and com- posed by Richard Storrs Willis in 1850. Julie Andrews’ version is considered one of the best covers of the song.
Decft tfte Halls
This popular yuletide classic was originally a traditional Welsh song that dates back to the 16th century but was rewritten in English by Thomas Oliphant in 1862. The line “Tis the season” has become syn- onymous with the fes- tive season.
A Jolly Christmas from Franft Sinatra and Christmas Songs from Sinatra
The legendary American singer Frank Sinatra re- leased two full albums of Christmas songs; A Jolly Christ- mas from Frank Sinatra (1957) and Christmas Songs from Sinatra (1948). Including favorites like I’ll be Home for Christmas, Let It Snow and White Christmas, both al- bums—not to mention Sinatra’s iconic voice—are Christmas essentials. Sinatra also performed covers of old Christmas songs like Silent Night, Jingle Bells, It Came upon the Mid- night Clear and Have Yourself a Little Merry Christmas.
Taratil Aid El Melad (Cftristmas Hymns) by Fayrouz
The legendary Fayrouz is a Christmas classic in the Arab world, with many favorite Arabic renditions of popular international songs like Lailet Eid and Sawt El Eid (The Sound of Christmas), which is the Arabic version of Silent Night. The album also has many original Arabic Christmas carols, including Arsal Allah (Got Sent), Ya Maryam el Bekr (O Virgin Mary), Talj, Talj (Snow, Snow) and Kona Nezayen Shagara Sghira (We Were Decorating a Small Christmas Tree), featuring happy sounds from the piano and the flute.
Cftristmas by Micftael Bublé
With classics like It’s Beginning to Look a Lot Like Christmas, Ave Maria and Silent Night, Bublé has made himself a Christmas essential with this album, released in 2011. Topping the charts after its debut, the album be- came the first holiday compilation to win the Juno Award for Album of the Year.
All I Want for Cftristmas Is You
This song written by pop star Mariah Carey appeared on her Christmas album Merry Christmas (1994), and became an instant holiday hit. Although essen-
tially romantic, the song maintains the tra-ditional beats of Christmas songs, in- cluding the sound of bells in the background.
Throughout the album, Carey also covered many classic Christmas songs such as Santa Clause Is Coming to Town.
It is tfte Most Won- derful Time of tfte Year
Appearing on the Andy Williams Christ- mas Album in 1963, this song is full of energy and spirit. Re- volving around par- ties and gatherings, the tune brings gentle
warmth to a cold holiday. It was written in 1963 by Amer-ican songwriter Edward Pola and American conductor George Wyle.
This Christmas song is composed by the American Rock band The Pretenders and was released in 1984 on the album Learning to Crawl. The song portrays a scene of vast lands painted in white snow and a lonely lady stand- ing waiting for her lover. It is all about separation, telling the story of a lady who spends a whole year waiting for her lover to come back and can’t feel the passing time, but finally recognizes Christmas when she hears the children singing. Coldplay recently performed a cover of the song, using only the piano.