This Monkees recorded this song for their xmas special in 1967. This villancico (carol) is often attributed to the renaissance composer Mateo Flecha the Elder.
The lyrics ‘ríu, ríu, chíu’ mimic the sound of a nightingale, and since they have no literal meaning they can’t really be translated.
The refrain has a round like effect – the melody is repeated by the singers, but with staggered starts. The overlapping voices create the harmony.
RÍU CHÍU ESTRIBILLO: Ríu, ríu, chíu, la guarda ribera Dios guardó del lobo a nuestra cordera El lobo rabioso la quiso morder, Mas Dios poderoso la supo defender; Quisola hacer que no pudiese pecar, Ni aun original esta Virgen no tuviera. ESTRIBILLO Éste que es nascido es el Gran Monarca Cristo patriarca de carne vestido Ha nos redimido con se hacer chiquito Aunque era infinito finito se hiciera. ESTRIBILLO
RÍU CHÍU REFRAIN: Riu, riu, chiu, the river bank keeps her safe God kept our lamb safe from the wolf The furious wolf wanted to bite her But God almighty knew how to defend her He wanted to create her so that she was unable to sin This virgin didn't even possess original sin REFRAIN This one who is born is the great lord Christ, our father, clothed in flesh He has redeemed us by making himself small Even though he was infinite, he made himself finite CHORUS
I think this one sounds nicer acapella…