Willie Take Your Little Drum – An English Christmas Carol with YouTube Renditions

Willie Take Your Little Drum is a well-known English Christmas Carol, even though it’s based on a French Carol from Burgundy called Patapan. In my last blog entry, I posted the French lyrics to Patapan, with an English translation and a video of a French rendition of the song.

Here, I’m going to post some English videos of different renditions of the song. The first one is a more traditional choir performance. The second one seems like it’s from the renaissance, with pretty clothing that young kids will enjoy seeing. The last one is more raucous with lots of percussion! They all use the same lyrics – the ones I’m posting below.

These lyrics to Willie Take Your Drum seem to be the most popular ones that exist. I believe they come from a translation by Rev. Percy Dearmer (1867- 1936) for the Oxford Book of Carols (1928). There is one line that I must point out as being a bit funny. It’s “When they hear the fife and drum, Sure our children won’t be dumb.” (We think this means that when they hear the fife and drum, the children will start cheering.)

In any case, Willie Take Your Drum is a pretty song to listen to. So, sit back and enjoy the show!

Here’s the Cantamus Training Choir performing ‘Pat-a-Pan’ at the Mansfield Palace Theatre in 2007 for a Christmas concert…

Here’s are the English lyrics:

Willie, Take Your Little Drum
(English Lyrics)

Willie, take your little drum;
With your whistle, Robin, come!
When we hear the fife and drum,
Tu-re-lu-re-lu, Pat-a-pat-a-pan,
When we hear the fife and drum,
Christmas should be frolicsome.

Thus the men of olden days
Loved the King of kings to praise.
When they hear the fife and drum,
Tu-re-lu-re-lu, Pat-a-pat-a-pan,
When they hear the fife and drum,
Sure our children won’t be dumb.

God and man are now become
More at one than fife and drum.
When you hear the fife and drum,
Tu-re-lu-re-lu, Pat-a-pat-a-pan,
When you hear the fife and drum,
Dance and make the village hum!

Here are the Madrigals singing Willie Take Your Drum, with their wonderful costumes:

Here’s a fun, upbeat version of the song by Loosely Woven:

Enjoy!

Mama Lisa

This article was posted on Sunday, December 7th, 2008 at 5:52 pm and is filed under Christmas, Christmas Songs, Countries & Cultures, England, English, France, Holiday Songs, Holidays Around the World, Languages, Mama Lisa, Patapan, United Kingdom, USA, Willie Take Your Little Drum, 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.

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