The other day I received a message with a video of the Little Drummer Boy” which was pretty appropriate as we now come into the Season of Advent with Christmas carols and Nativity scenes. The video is below and is by a group called “Gentri” and although it is now two years old, it just warmed my heart and I thought I would share it with you. Previously my favourite version (which I also share below) had been by the group “Pentatonix” and which was a Billboard no one hit.
Listening also made me interested in the song’s history as it does not refer, as do most carols, to Shepherds and Wise Men. In the lyrics, the singer relates how, as a poor young boy, he was summoned by the Magi to the Nativity of Jesus. Without a gift for the Infant, the little drummer boy played his drum with approval from Jesus’s mother, Mary, recalling, “I played my best for him” and “He smiled at me”.
I discovered the “Little Drummer Boy” was originally titled “Carol of the Drums” because of the repeating line “pa rum pum pum pum,” which imitates the sound of a drum. The song lyrics are said to be based on an old Czech carol.
It’s not certain who wrote the song although most believe it to be Katherine K. Davis in 1941. However, according to some reports, Henry Onorati and Harry Simeone penned the lyrics to the song. It was recorded for Decca as “Carol of the Drum” by the Trapp Family Singers in 1951 and credited to Davis.
The song has been covered over 220 times and in 7 different languages. Artists who have recorded it include Johnny Cash, Johnny Mathis, David Bowie and Bing Crosby, The Supremes, Stevie Wonder, Jimi Hendrix, The Temptations, The Jackson 5, Ringo Starr, Bob Dylan, Whitney Houston, Ray Charles, Black Eyed Peas, Justin Beiber and Susan Boyle.
I hope you have time to listen both the “Gentri” and “Pentatonix” versions – they are both great.
Quote for the week
Faith is believing before what will only make sense after.