Pat-a-pan, a Spooky Holiday Carol?

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Pat-a-pan, a Spooky Holiday Carol?
by Emerian Rich

My favorite holiday song is a French Christmas Carol called “Pat-a-pan” written by Bernard de La Monnoye and first published in 1720. Written way before “The Little Drummer Boy” (circa 1941) it has the same sort of concept. A young boy playing a drum in celebration of the birth of Christ.

“Willie, bring your little drum, Robin bring your fife and come!
And be merry while you play, ture-lure-lu, pata-pata-pan,
Come be merry while you play for the joy of Christmas day.”

Often played as an instrumental due to the awesome drum and flute parts that can be highlighted without vocals, “Pat-a-pan” is most well known by the Mannheim Steamroller version here:

I fell in love with this song in high school choir where we learned the French lyrics which meant nothing to me. Its haunting melody and renaissancy sound always made me feel…

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