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Patapan is one of the most popular French Christmas songs. I’ve posted Patapan before with an mp3 recording. I thought it was worthwhile to repost it for the holiday season with another rendition – this time from YouTube.

Patapan, or Guillaume prends ton tambourin, is a traditional song from the Burgundy region in France. It’s also known in English as Willie Take Your Little Drum. It was written by Bernard de la Monnoye (1641-1728) around 1700. Monnoye wrote many other Burgundian carols around the same time.

A tambourin is a small cylindrical drum, usually made out of wood and covered with an animal skin. It’s hung from the shoulders and played with the hands. ‘Turelurelu’ is the sound the flute makes and ‘patapatapan’ is the sound of the drum. This is most likely the inspiration for the English Christmas song, The Little Drummer Boy.

Below you’ll find a YouTube video rendition of Patapan in French (it cuts off slightly at the end – yet it’s worth watching). It’s followed by the French lyrics, an English translation and then the original Burgundian version…

Performed by “Choir Ars XXI”

Patapan
(French)

Guillaume prends ton tambourin
Toi, prends ta flûte, Robin;
Au son de ces instruments
Turelurelu, patapatapan
Au son de ces instruments
Je dirai Noël gaîment.

C’était la mode autrefois
De louer le Roi des rois
Au son de ces instruments
Turelurelu, patapatapan
Au son de ces instruments
Il nous en faut faire autant.

L’homme et Dieu sont plus d’accord
Que la flûte et le tambour;
Au son de ces instruments
Turelurelu, patapatapan
Au son de ces instruments
Chantons, dansons, sautons en!

Here’s a fairly literal English translation of the original Patapan song…

Willie Take Your Little Drum
(English)

Willie take your little drum,
Robin take your flute, come!
To the sound of these instruments
Tu-re-lu-re-lu, pat-a-pat-a-pan,
To the sound of these instruments
I will joyfully sing Merry Christmas!

It was the way of yonder times
To praise the king of kings
To the sound of these instruments
Tu-re-lu-re-lu, pat-a-pat-a-pan,
To the sound of these instruments
We must do the same.

Man and god agree
About the flute and the little drum…
To the sound of these instruments
Tu-re-lu-re-lu, pat-a-pat-a-pan,
To the sound of these instruments
Sing! Dance! Jump around!

Here’s Patapan in the old Burgundian dialect, which has an additional verse (#3)…

Guillô, pran ton tamborin
(Burgundian Dialect)

Guillô, pran ton tamborin;
Toi, pran tai fleúte, Rôbin!
Au son de cé instruman,
Turelurelu, patapatapan,
Au son de cé instruman
Je diron Noei gaiman

C’ étó lai môde autrefoi
De loüé le Roi dé Roi,
Au son de cés instruman,
Turelurelu, patapatapan,
Au son de cés instruman,
Ai nos an fau faire autan.

Ce jor le Diale at ai cu
Randons an graice ai Jesu
Au son de cés instruman,
Turelurelu, patapatapan,
Au son de cés instruman,
Fezon lai nique ai Satan.

L’homme et Dei son pu d’aicor
Que lai fleúte & le tambor.
Au son de cés instruman,
Turelurelu, patapatapan,
Au son de cés instruman,
Chanton, danson, sautons-an.

There’s a popular English version of Willie Take Your Little Drum that I posted with English renditions of the song – come check it out! You can also check out the blog of the “Choir Ars XXI” to hear more of their wonderful recordings and watch videos of them performing!

Mama Lisa

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This artilce was posted on Sunday, December 7th, 2008 at 4:57 pm and is filed under Burgundy, Christmas, Christmas Songs, Countries & Cultures, English, France, French, Holiday Songs, Holidays Around the World, Languages, Mama Lisa, Patapan, USA, YouTube. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0 feed. You can leave a response, or trackback from your own site.

4 Responses to “Patapan – The French Christmas Carol with a YouTube Video”

  1. Angel Says:

    Hello Lisa,
    I´m Angel, the “Choir Ars XXI” conductor. I saw that you have published our song in your blog, thanks but i would like you to put the name of the chorus and the conductor below the show to have the reference. Thank you very much. I invite you to visit our blog http://coroarsxxi.blogspot.com.

    Angel

  2. Lisa Says:

    Hi Angel,

    I enjoyed visiting your blog! I recommend it to anyone interested in choral music.

    I also added the name of the choir and a link to your site in the post.

    Thanks and Happy Holidays!

    Lisa

  3. French and Occitan Christmas Carol Links - Mama Lisa's Blog Says:

    [...] étions trois bergerettes – We Were Three Young Shepherdesses – France Patapan – France Willie Take Your Little Drum – English Version of the French Carol Called [...]

  4. Debbie Says:

    Patapan–my favorite Nativity carol! Excellent!!

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