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U.S. embassy sings a Czech carol

Ivana Trump, the first wife who gave the name to the Donald, expressed her desire to become a new U.S. ambassador to Prague, a plan that is enthusiastically supported by the Czech president. But there's a problem. There also exists the old ambassador, Obama's former classmate Andrew Schapiro. And maybe he likes the job.



It took me some time to see that the name of the video is "Veselé Vánoce, Happy Holidays". Needless to say, the translation of "Veselé Vánoce" to English is "Merry Christmas", not "Happy Holidays"... Thank God, there's been no war on "Merry Christmas" in Czechia. People from different cultures have to get used to it. After all, even Czechs – whose clear majority is basically irreligious – are showing their tolerance for the religious other people's traditions by using the term and the habits.

So he's doing lots of things. In the Summer, he tandem parachuted with a professional skydiver, at the same airport where I did it years ago, too (but I needed to record a lecture about the black hole infalling observer during the fall; the camcorder battery froze and stopped the recording as we were crossing the event horizon, as required by causality). His employees had to wear short trousers to resemble Václav Havel – which may reflect his belief that it's something that the Czechs still care about.

And today, they released the Christmas carol above. For amateurs who don't normally speak the language, it's pretty good. Better than Chuck Norris at killing of the Czech christmas carp (more).




The carol "We will walk to Bethlehem together" is one of the dozens of the most classic Czech Christmas carols. See a conventional kid version 1, kid version 2, a demo of the Maxim Turbulenc fat men's rock band remake, playlists with Czech carols, Lumo Christmas playlist.

Carols in the same category as "We will walk to Bethlehem together" include "We are bringing you news", "Geldings were shepherding sheep", "Christ the Lord was born", "Christmas Eve arrived", "How beautiful you are, innocent child", "What happened and what took place", "Happiness + health + sacred peace (we came to wish you)", "Let's be merry, let's be joyful", "Listen listen little shepherds", and a dozen of others I could enumerate (and sing). A top 27 DVD here.




When my generation were kids, we learned dozens of the classic rural Czech carols. "We will walk to Bethlehem together" is just one of them, not necessarily the most well-known one but not an unknown one, either. It seems to me that the younger generations were or are exposed to much more globalized culture. I am somewhat ambiguous on whether it's a good or bad thing.

Czech lyrics is e.g. here.

Translation of the lyrics that may help you understand the diplomats' singing.
Music starts at 0:30

We will walk to Bethlehem together

We will set on our trip to Bethlehem together
dooi-dui dooi-dui dooi-dui dah
[sounds meant to resemble the sound of all instruments in their rural band]

Baby Jesus, you little man,
I will dandle [archaic verb ending] you,
Baby Jesus, you little man,
I will dandle you.

Jimmy, start [to play] on the pipes,
doo-dui doo-dui doo-dai dah [sound of pipes]

Baby Jesus, you little man,
I will dandle [archaic verb ending] you,
Baby Jesus, you little man,
I will dandle you.

And you, Johnny, [play] on the whistle,
doodlee, toodlee, doodlee dah [sound of flute]

Baby Jesus, you little man,
I will dandle [archaic verb ending] you,
Baby Jesus, you little man,
I will dandle you.

And you, Mikeš [also a tomcat name], [play] on the little violin,
hoodlee tydlee hoodlee dah [sound of violin]

Baby Jesus, you little man,
I will dandle [archaic verb ending] you,
Baby Jesus, you little man,
I will dandle you.

And you, Vávra [a surname], [play] the contrabass,
room-room room-room room-room dah [sound of the contrabass]

Baby Jesus, you little man,
I will dandle [archaic verb ending] you,
Baby Jesus, you little man,
I will dandle you.

OK, only when I translated the carol, I realized that it's repetitive and simple enough so that Americans could be expected to learn it. I am eagerly awaiting Ivana Trump's cover of the carol.

This is how I imagine that the Czech lyrics were transliterated for them:

Pooi-dem spaw-loo do Bet-leh-muh

Pooi-dem spaw-loo do Bet-leh-muh
dooi-dui dooi-dui dooi-dui dah

Often repeated:
Ye-zheesh-koo, puh-nach-koo,
yar tyeh boodoo co-leebutyih,
Ye-zheesh-koo, puh-nach-koo,
yar tyeh boodoo co-leebut.

Zachni Coobaw na tyh doodee
doo-dui doo-dui doo-dai dah

[Often repeated]

Ah tyh, Yankoo, na peesh-tyalkoo,
doodlee, toodlee, doodlee dah

[Often repeated]

Ah tyh, Mic-shih, na hoe-slich-kee
hoodlee tydlee hoodlee dah

[Often repeated]

Ah tyh, Var-vraw, nah too buhsoo,
room-room room-room room-room dah

[Often repeated]

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