Not Long to Go…

Stack of CDs

As I write today, we are only 26 days away from Christmas 2009; in a couple of weeks, radio stations accross the UK will start to play the same list of about 20 tracks – day after day after day. And this is probably the only time of year when the majority of people put up with it!

Yes, there are people who hate it: but the fact is that they are all good pieces of music, very well put together, and the majority of people genuinely enjoy them. Perhaps it is because of the thought that they will shortly be getting a couple of days away from work that they like. Maybe it takes their mind away from the stresses of relatives coming – I know I struggle to remember who everyone is in my family!

But what many people don’t realise, is the influence music both over here and in the USA has on continental Europe. Did you know that in the German charts, 80% of the top 10 are tracks produced by UK artists? Robbie Williams is at #1 – with Leona Lewis, One Republic, and the Black Eyed Peasfollowing closely behind and #3, #5 and #7.

Greece is a country which is very religious, and it is only in the last 20-30 years that Christmas has become more Westernised – the Western influence has grown since the start of the tourist era, after the 1970s military dictatorship. Music is one of the things that has had a massive impact on Greece as a result – in 2008, the Greek version of X Factor launched for the first time on commercial television channel ANT1 (the name is pronounced “ANT-Ena”, which is the Greek word for “Aerial”).

And, whilst looking through a popular video website, I found how Greek singers are translating British music into Greek.

  • Οι Καμπάνες Χτύπουν (Similar to “Last Christmas” by Wham!, but slightly different translation)
  • Καλά Σας Χριστούγεννα (Similar to “Happy Christmas (War Is Over)” by John Lennon/Yoko Ono, but again with a slightly different translation… ignore the lyrics on the English translation – some idiot decided that they meant exactly the same).
  • Τούλι για το Χριστούλη (You’ll recognise the tune… the lyrics are completely different though. Notice how the Greek word for Christ starts with what looks like an X – that’s there the abbreviation of Xmas comes from.

There’s millions more if you know what to look for, including Greek covers of White Christmas, Silent Night and some more original pieces of music.

The photo used was created by Flickr member Joe Madonna and has been used under a Creative Commons license.

Fred Hart

Stock Controller and Radio Presenter/Producer

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