Navidad Nuestra: Part 1

Christmas is starting early this year. I’m involved in a performance of ‘Navidad Nuestra’ so I will be looking at the lyrics of the songs over the next few weeks.

Navidad Nuestra is a suite of six Christmas songs by the Argentinian composer Ariel Ramírez with lyrics by his regular collaborator Félix Luna. Ramírez is best known for combining classical forms with Argentinian folk music. The original recording of this piece from the mid-sixties features Los Fronterizos, a male folk quartet. Apparently Navidad Nuestra was written very quickly in order to be included as side B of an album featuring Misa Criolla (Ramírez’s best known work) on side A. According to Luna the two men wrote most of it in just one night, bouncing ideas off each other.

NB The version above is a re-recording from 1977. There are versions of the piece by many other artists, including Mercedes Sosa and José Carreras.

In the first song the angel Gabriel arrives and finds that Mary is pregnant.

NB This song is subtitled chamamé. This is an Argentinian folk form typified by the combination of accordion and Spanish guitar. Below is a version by The Fantasy Orchestra.


Jinete de un rayo rojo
Viene volando el Ángel Gabriel
Con sable punta de estrella
Espuela 'e plata estaba caté.

Que Dios te salve María
La mas bonita cuñataí
La flor esta floreciendo
Crece en la sangre tu cunumí.

Soy la esclava del señor
Que él haga su voluntad
Capullo que se hace flor
Y se abrirá en navidad.

El Ángel Gabriel ya vuelve
Al pago donde se encuentra Dios.
¿Mamó parehó angelito
Qué tan contento te vuelves vos?

He visto a la reina 'el mundo
La mas hermosa cuñataí;
Sus ojos son dos estrellas
Su voz el canto del yerutí.

Soy la esclava del Señor,
que él haga su voluntad.
Capullo que se hace flor
y se abrirá en Navidad.

A rider on a ray of red lightning 
The angel Gabriel comes flying 
With a star tipped sabre
He was elegant in his silver spurs

God save you Mary 
The prettiest young woman
The flower is blooming 
The baby is growing in your blood 

I am the servant of the Lord 
His will will be done
The bud turns into a flower
And it will open at Christmas.

The Angel Gabriel has returned
To the place where you find God
Where have you been little angel? 
How come you have returned so happy? 

I've seen the queen of the world 
The most beautiful young woman 
Her eyes are two stars 
Her voice is the song of a turtledove

I am the servant of the Lord 
His will will be done
The bud turns into a flower
And it will open at Christmas

NB This was quite difficult to translate because some of the words in this song come from the Guraní language. The Guraní people are an indigenous people of South America. Thanks to Annella McDermott for helping me with this. It you are interested there is a glossary of the Guraní words on this page:


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