Ríu Ríu Chíu
December 6, 2011 6:16 AM   Subscribe

The Monkees Sing Ríu Ríu Chíu -- a traditional Spanish Christmas Carol. (SLYT)
posted by swift (21 comments total) 15 users marked this as a favorite
It's on Spotify if you need something to add to your holiday playlists.
posted by backseatpilot at 6:24 AM on December 6, 2011

Surprisingly marvelous.
posted by nickyskye at 6:34 AM on December 6, 2011

The song is one of my favorites and it's very well done. (Acappella, for those who haven't listened yet.)
posted by immlass at 6:38 AM on December 6, 2011

Holy cow! Who knew the Monkees could sing and harmonize like that?
posted by Benny Andajetz at 7:04 AM on December 6, 2011

A version by David Archuleta with some backstory of the song.

Riu, riu, chiu was written in so-called villancico style, which became a popular form for songs in post-Renaissance Spain. Such songs are in ternary form, with a text expressing some aspect of Christian principles or beliefs. This carol became one of the more widely known such works in its time; versions of it today often contain updated translations to filter out its archaic words and meanings. The author of this carol is generally thought to be anonymous, but its text, possibly originally written in Portuguese, has been attributed by some to Mateo Flecha (1481-1553). The melody to Riu, riu, chiu probably dates to the fifteenth century or earlier. The words in the title are vocalizations of the sounds made by a nightingale. The main theme is lively and rhythmic and has an instant appeal, lingering in the mind long after one or two hearings. It exudes folk-ish color, but without conveying the more exotic kind of Spanish national character that would evolve in the eighteenth and nineteenth centuries. One hears a mixture of Renaissance-era elegance here with a sort of peasant-like festivity. Its text speaks of the roles of the Blessed Mother and the Redeemer. ~ Robert Cummings, Rovi

Sung in the traditional way, here with lyrics and translation.
posted by nickyskye at 7:07 AM on December 6, 2011 [1 favorite]

That's lovely. That arrangement is quite tricky in places, and they handle it well.
posted by Pallas Athena at 7:14 AM on December 6, 2011

Holy cow! Who knew the Monkees could sing and harmonize like that?

Benny Andajetz, they took their jobs very seriously, learning their instruments, taking vocal coaching, and in general wanting to rise above their manufactured, "fake" beginning. And they did.
posted by IAmBroom at 7:29 AM on December 6, 2011 [8 favorites]

For many years that was at the bottom of my list of Monkees songs. I skipped that cut out of habit so often I sort of forgot what it sounded like. A few years ago someone included it on a holiday mix and I was surprised at how good it sounded. I'm not quite sure why it didn't hit me the first thirty years of my Monkee fandom, but I'm glad I finally came around.
posted by Slack-a-gogo at 7:44 AM on December 6, 2011

I sang this in a madrigal group years ago and loved it. One of the sopranoes from that group is in my current a capella group and she is a Monkees fanatic. I cannot wait to see her reaction to this video. Thanks!
posted by blurker at 7:47 AM on December 6, 2011

Thanks for posting; I hadn't had a Monkees fix in a while and I'd forgotten how much I love this song.
posted by OolooKitty at 8:25 AM on December 6, 2011

That was a sweet surprise! Thanks.
posted by kinnakeet at 8:41 AM on December 6, 2011

This may be my most favorite of Christmas carols. I have newfound respect for the Monkees. Currently enjoying the Chanticleer version.
posted by Polyhymnia at 9:13 AM on December 6, 2011

I think my favourite part of the video is the sheer joy on Peter Tork's face as he watches Mickey Dolenz sing.
posted by likorish at 9:23 AM on December 6, 2011 [1 favorite]

likorish: I didn't watch that the first time through, but it mirrored my own face. "Damn, for a guy who can't sing, he can really sing!"

He has a simple Everyman voice. But with training, to max it's strengths.
posted by IAmBroom at 11:19 AM on December 6, 2011

Here's a clip with better sound, IMO.
posted by swift at 12:12 PM on December 6, 2011 [2 favorites]

One of my favorite pieces of Christmas music, and a very nice performance of it, too. Thanks for posting it!
posted by Lexica at 4:18 PM on December 6, 2011

On the album version, it's Chip Douglas singing Davy's part. I like that one better.
posted by droplet at 5:56 PM on December 6, 2011

I'm a huge Monkees fan and I've always loved this version of the song.

I love how when Micky does his second solo, right after the one minute mark, Davy is is happily looking at all of them like a little kid - from Micky to Peter to Mike. All like - Guys? Hey guys? He was so cute.
posted by triggerfinger at 6:10 PM on December 6, 2011 [1 favorite]

Very pleasant and happy-making. Thanks! Spanish accent aside, they sound the way a small group of amateur singers of the period (1500s) might have sounded--ones that had rehearsed their butts off. I hosted a Thursday night early-music group (SCA-related) for some years and we considered trying this but chickened out. Too fast! I expect it would have been a case of on tempo or on pitch but not both.

While researching the number then I ran across the odd fact that it came down to us from the 1500s via a single copy, which survived at Uppsala University.
posted by jfuller at 6:57 PM on December 6, 2011

On the album version, it's Chip Douglas singing Davy's part. I like that one better.

Which album is it? I've only seen the TV version on an album...
posted by Lucinda at 7:05 PM on December 6, 2011

I found it - it's on Missing Links, Volume 3. (Spotify link)

I like that one better too.
posted by Lucinda at 6:24 AM on December 8, 2011

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