This is a Basque carol with English lyrics written by Sabine Baring-Gould. I found a version sung in the original Basque on YouTube, but it was absolutely terrible, so I'm embedding an English-language version, instead.
Just to remind you of what a truly funky language Basque is, I'm copying out the first verse and English gloss:
Oi Betleem! Ala egun zoure gloriak, Oi Betleem! Hanitch beitu distiatzen! Zoure ganik heltu argiak, Bethatzen tu bazter guziak, Oi Betleem!
O Bethlehem! Ah! how your glory today shines out brightly! The light that comes from you fills every corner.
Like I said, I couldn't find a good Basque-language version on YouTube, but I did find this version by The American Boychoir at Yahoo Music.
Over the last several days, I've had a couple of friends ask me to vote for them in online contests. One of them lets you cast a vote once a day, and as I've seen my friend's entry rise in the stats, I've realized that success in these types of contests is due more to an ability to mobilize masses of friends than it is to innate talent. Don't get me wrong — I wouldn't support either of these people if I didn't think they had talent and deserved to succeed — but I'm not actually invested in either competition and I suspect that most of the people who are voting are in a similar position.
I got to thinking about how I might try and fix such a system so that more people were voting for people besides their friends. I think I would set up the voting system so that everyone who wanted to vote for someone would also be presented with four other randomly selected entries and required to cast a "second place vote" for one of them. For the sake of honesty, the second place vote would probably need to count less than a "first place" vote, but since the second place votes would presumably be made without personal bias, they could end up determining the winner.
I like to listen to the radio in the mornings when I'm getting ready to go to work. By "the radio," I mean "NPR." (I hear tell they've got some newfangled stations that play songs just like a jukebox, but I like the news, thanks.)
However, my local NPR station is currently playing an underwriter announcement (NOT a commercial) that is driving me nuts. The announcement says something like "[Program X] is underwritten by EBSCO. EBSCO partners with libraries to make full-text databases available to patrons nationwide."
EBSCO is a library vendor. Libraries pay them for a subscription to their databases. I have no problem with this arrangement, but saying that EBSCO partners with libraries makes it sound like EBSCO is some sort of charitable nonprofit organization, instead of a business involved in a capitalistic enterprise. I might as well say that the local grocery story partners with me to make dinner or that the gas station partners with me to make my car run.
Don't get me wrong, I have no particular beef with EBSCO. Without them, I wouldn't be able to read online issues of The Journal of the American Society of Information Science and Technology. (A tragedy, indeed!) I'd just rather their NPR spots weren't misleading.
My apologies for the length of time I've gone without posting a one of these; I've been sick, of late, and haven't had the time or energy to research and compose a Christmas carol post.
This week's carol is "I wonder as I wander." It was first published in 1934 in a book called Songs of the Hill-Folk by a man who claimed it was a folk song he'd heard in North Carolina. However, he later admitted that some of the "folk songs" in the book were either partly or wholly his own invention. Either way, it's a nice song.
Alfie Boe, December 2007:
A tenor solo.
Satoshi Matsuyama, February 2006:
This video has me convinced that "I wonder as I wander" should only be performed on tenor sax.
Gruppo di Musica Contemporanea Steffani, December 2008:
This version sounds very modern to me. I'd love for someone who knows more about music to tell me what's going on.