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Friday, 17 December 2010

~Winter Wassailing~#10: 'Ríu Chíu' by The Monkees

A Selection Of Seasonal Songs In The ~Streetlamp~ Stylee!

In keeping with the Spanish language theme from the previous ~Winter Wassailing~ Blog(Sea Of Bees) we now present another interpretation of an Hispanic Hymn with the magnificent version of 'Ríu Chíu' by The Monkees.
As with Mark E Smith and Momus, I have long planned a full Blog on The Monkees but just never seem to find the time to sit down and compose it. I absolutely adore The Monkees and see them as one of the most pure examples of 'Perfect Pop'. It matters not a jot to me that they did not play the instruments on their earliest records, for they never claimed to be a real group in the first place! You never seem to hear Take That, Boyzone or Westlife pilloried for not playing on their records, but The Monkees were well and truly crucified over such a meaningless argument.
That's why I'm glad to bring this seldom heard track to you tonight, dear readers, for this track features NO instruments what so ever, but proves what gifted vocalists Dolenz, Tork, Nesmith and Jones were.
Unlike many of The Monkees songs, 'Ríu Chíu' only ever appeared on one episode of their TV show, 'The Monkees Christmas Episode' broadcast on Christmas Day 1967. The song also never appeared on any of their albums or singles and became a much sought after rarity amongst bootleg collectors. I finally managed to get a hold of the song via a Japanese import CD of rarities in the mid-90s.
The song is pure A Capella and all four of The Monkees voices compliment each other beautifully in a way you wish they had explored more in their heyday! It might have shut some of the critics up!

'Ríu Chíu' was composed circa 1550 by Mateo Flecha, a Catalanian composer of Madrigals. The song was found in a tome known as the Cancionero de Upsala, a volume of mostly anonymous Spanish carols and hymns.
The full lyrics are as follows:
(I've included some rough translations where possible. The phrase 'Ríu Ríu Chíu' doesn't actually mean anything, it was included to represent the call of the Nightingale! Don't say you don't learn things on the ~Streetlamp~!!):

"Riu, riu, chiu
La guarda ribera
Dios guarde el lobo
De nuestra cordera
(The river guards her
God kept the wolf away from Our Lamb)

El lobo rabioso la quiso morder,
Mas Dios poderoso la supo defender;
Quisole hazer que no pudiesse pecar,
Ni aun original esta Virgen no tuviera
(The raging wolf sought to bite her
But God Almighty knew to defend her
He chose to make her so that she could not sin
No Original was found in that virgin)
Riu, riu, chiu, etc.

Este qu'es nascido es el gran monarca,
Cristo patriarca de carne vestido;
Hanos redimido con se hazer chiquito,
Aunqu'era infinito, finito se hizera
(This one that is born is the Great King
Christ the Patriarch clothed in flesh
He redeemed us when He made himself small
For the Infinite was made finite)
Riu, riu, chiu, etc.

Muchas profecias lo han profetizado,
Y aun en nuestros dias lo hemos alcancado.
A Dios humanado vemos en el suelo
Y al hombre nel cielo porqu'er le quisiera.
Riu, riu, chiu, etc.

Yo vi mil Garzones que andavan cantando,
Por aqui bolando, haciendo mil sones,
Diziendo a gascones Gloria sea en el cielo,
Y paz en el suelo qu'es Jesus nascieta
(I saw a thousand boys (angels) go singing,
Here making a thousand voices while flying,
Telling the shepherds of glory in the heavens,
And peace to the world since Jesus has been born)
Riu, riu, chiu, etc.

Este viene a dar a los muertos vida
Y viene a reparar de todos la caida;
Es la luz del dia aqueste mocuelo;
Este es el cordero que San Juan dixera.
Riu, riu, chiu, etc.

Pues que ya tenemos lo que desseamos,
Todos juntos vamos presentes llevemos;
Todos le daremos nuestra voluntad,
Pues a se igualar con el hombre viniera.
Riu, riu, chiu, etc"
It seems almost disrespectful after that but here's some other larks from that particular episode....and check the actions at 'gay apparel'!!


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