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You're reading: Eight versions of ‘Carol of the Bells,’ now 100 years old
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“Carol of the Bells,” known in Ukraine as “Shchedryk,” started as a traditional Ukrainian folk chant that would probably not have found its way to a worldwide fame had Mykola Leontovych not written the music for it 100 years ago.

The tune as we know it today took Leontovych 15 years to perfect, as the music had four different editions, the first one as early as in 1901-1902, before its final one in 1916, the same year that the choir of Taras Shevchenko National University of Kyiv performed “Shchedryk” for the first time.

Fast forward 20 years and “Shchedryk” received its English lyrics, written by an American composer of Ukrainian descent, Peter Wilhouski, who called it “Carol of the Bells.”

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