“Carol of the Bells” (Ukrainian: Кароль гуцулів, translit. Karol hutsulyviv) is a Ukrainian folk song celebrating the winter solstice.
Distribution and origin
The carol was written in 1934 by Mykola Leontovych, who based it on an old Ukrainian folksong that he had collected (and which had been published earlier). It became popular in Ukraine during the 1960s, when the music grew in popularity, but did not develop an international reputation until the early 1990s.
Origin of text and music
The song was originally written for a capella choir, as a carol or Christmas koloda (kolyadka). The rhythm of the original Ukrainian carol is very dance-like; it could be rendered as a very slow waltz or a polka. The original melody is in the Phrygian mode, which gives it a Ukrainian folk music sound.