YOU ARE HERE is an exploration of diegetic music

Nov 29, 2012

"The Coventry Carol"

In this season of joy and giving, love and charity, it may be a bit discordant to learn that a traditional seasonal carol is about genocide. "The Coventry Carol" is a Middle Ages lament for the executed children of ancient Israel at the behest of King Herod: Wikipedia entry.

Sufjan Stevens has a version here: "Coventry Carol" -- because he is remarkably proficient and has a couple of Christmas compilations (two 5-EP sets each), at this pace, he'd have gotten around to this infanticide jeremiad eventually.

It ain't "Jingle Bells":
Herod, the king, in his raging,
Charged he hath this day
His men of might, in his own sight,
All young children to slay.

That woe is me, poor Child for Thee!
And ever mourn and sigh,
For thy parting neither say nor sing,
Bye, bye, lully, lullay.
 It's also called "Lully, Lullay" or some variable thereof. Regardless, versions tend toward the traditional, like this from the Eurythmics' Annie Lennox "Lullay Lullay (Coventry Carol)". Consequently, this song is one the few songs to get posted that is not updated, rebooted, or tweaked in much of any way at all. Yaz' Alison Moyet turns in a good version too, here "The Coventry Carol".