For Christmas: Sus, pastoureu di mountagno


Even as a nonbeliever, I like Christmas carols.  (As Lisa Simpson, the vegetarian, said once about meat: “Hey, I still like the smell.”)  I like unusual carols, and especially folk carols that have a whiff of pagandom about them.

This tune is from the early 17th century, from Avignon in southern France.  It’s in Provencal, so don’t worry if you can’t make out the lyrics.  It’s the story of the shepherds hurrying off to the stable to see Mary and the baby Jesus.  (The title means “Get up, shepherd of the mountains!”)

I especially like this one because it has a tongue-twister refrain.  It took me years to get it right.

All together now:

Aro lo bon Jesu, lo bon Jesu, lo bon Jesu,
Aro lo bon Jesu d’una vierge nous es na.

(Now the good Jesus, etc.,
 now the good Jesus to a virgin is born unto us.)

Merry Christmas, and may we all meet in heaven, if there’s such a place.  

I don’t really believe it, but it would be lovely.

Sus_pastores.mp3 Listen on Posterous


About Loren Williams
Gay, partnered, living in Providence, working at a local university. Loves: books, movies, TV. Comments and recriminations can be sent to

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