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Despite not being a religious person, I've always loved Christmastime. A huge part of it is the music.
While preparing songs for my annual Xmas show - which was a livestream event this year for obvious reasons - I thought it would be fun to highlight my first language and include a French carol, and then I thought it would be even more fun to record a one-man-band version of it as a Christmas gift for my mother, since her Xmas list this year specifically mentioned she didn't want anything big or displayable. So I got to work.
I selected "Petit Papa Noël", a song I've always loved for the very weird chord choices in the verses and melody, but also for the lyrical content, which confidently straddles the line between capitalist greed and catholic guilt in a way I truly enjoy. I went full Paul McCartney on it, playing all the parts, adding synth horns, and producing it all myself. For the finishing touch, I asked my siblings, Gregory and Juliette, to record backing vocals on their phones and email them to me - this way, my mother can have a recording of her three children singing together, in French, whenever she wants, even if we can't all be together for Christmas.
I showed it to her yesterday, and she loved it and gave me permission for a wider release. So now, it's a Christmas gift to you! I hope you enjoy it.
I took the photo for the art at White Nancy, a structure atop Kerridge Hill in Rainow, Cheshire, UK, on Christmas Day 2019, where my family was staying with my uncle, aunt, and cousin. Every year, townspeople hike to the top of the hill with thermoses of mulled wine and listen to a community brass band play loads of Christmas carols. It's one of my favorite Christmas memories ever, and I can't wait to do it again. Hoping for the day we can all gather in such close proximity again.
Merry Xmas! Very ready for the New Year.
French Lyrics Translated below;
Little Father Christmas
When you descend from the skies
With thousands of toys
Please don't forget my shoe/ stocking
But before you leave
Make sure you're well dressed
It's very cold outside, and it is partly my fault that you are outside in the first place.
I can't wait till morning comes
And see if you brought me all the toys of my dreams
In addition to the ones I've ordered from you
released December 20, 2020
Performed and recorded by Justin Ravary Ellis at home in Carrboro, NC, USA.
Written by Raymond Vincy and Henri Martinet, originally recorded by Tino Rossi in 1946
Based out of the Triangle region of North Carolina, Ravary is the solo-with-friends project of Anglo-Quebecois musician
Justin Ravary Ellis,
Justin is currently the bassist for Georgia shoegaze band Easter Island, drummer for NC/TX synthpop act Waldo Witt, and also plays with NC acts Happy Abandon (bass), Flash Car (bass), Rafael Green (bass) and Al Riggs (drums)....more