Not an oxymoron—Scandinavians take Christmas seriously, as anyone who has been to any of the major cities at Christmas knows. In spite of Scandinavian Noir and those gripping television shows, Christmas in Stockholm or Helsinki or Oslo is quite joyful. We start off with a suggestion from Cat White, Mitt hjerte alltid vanker (My Heart Always Wanders), which I’m pretty sure you need to be Norwegian to understand, but is quite lovely anyway. That’s what’s great about Christmas songs—they often sound great even when you don’t get the literal meaning.
Then another Norwegian one, in fact one of my favorite songs off of one of my favorite albums. Bukkene Bruse was the group that played the music for that astonishing Opening ceremony at the Lillehammer winter Olympics in 1998. Here’s Eit barn er født i Betlehem (A child is born in Bethlehem).
Then over to Sweden for a Swedish Christmas waltz from Triakel. We’re getting pretty folksy here at this point, but at least we’re in another country.
Finally, a nod to the Piae Cantiones, one of the most important collections of medieval music, which was collected in 1582 in what was then Sweden, but what is now Finland. Here is Puer Natus in Bethlehem, brought to us by the Finnish Radio Chamber Choir.
Categories: Music/Popular Culture