Performed in Ukrainian, a language that Katie Melua and the members of Gori Women’s Choir had to learn, ‘The Little Swallow’ – or ‘Shchedryk’ – is a Ukrainian carol originally arranged by Mykola Leontovych in 1916 and later adapted as ‘Carol Of The Bells’.
The video sees Katie and the choir, conducted by Teona Tsiramua, performing the song in the recently restored Georgian National Opera Theatre in the country’s capital Tbilisi. Described by TheArtsDesk as “stunningly beautiful”, ‘The Little Swallow’ is the opening track on Katie’s critically acclaimed new album, ‘In Winter’. The album was co-produced by Katie, recorded in Gori, Georgia and features the distinctive 24 piece Gori Women’s Choir with whom Katie will tour this winter.
Speaking about ‘The Little Swallow’ Katie said:
“It felt right to sing the piece in its original language, plus Ukrainian belongs to the eastern Slavic languages and is close to Russian which is widely spoken throughout Georgia. I knew we had a better chance at pronouncing Ukrainian than English with the choir. But to be sure, we rang round to see if there were any Ukrainians living locally and it turned out the Mayor of Gori had a Ukrainian wife. She kindly came to visit us in the studio to give us any pointers on the vowels and consonants pronunciations.”
Released on October 14th ‘In Winter’ is a unique collection of songs centred round the theme of winter. Ranging from original works inspired by Katie’s childhood in Georgia, to new interpretations of traditional carols, choral works and folk songs, and performed in English, Russian, Romanian, Ukrainian and Georgian, the album features the arrangements of world-renowned choral arranger Bob Chilcott. In addition to ‘The Little Swallow’, Katie weaves in a pristine cover of Joni Mitchell’s ‘River’, a spellbinding ‘All Night Vigil–Nunc Dimittis’ (Rachmaninov) and closes the record with a magical rendition of ‘O Holy Night’.
‘In Winter’, Katie’s seventh studio album, was released on October 14, and is now available to buy.
Katie will be taking her band and the 24-voice Gori Women’s Choir on a tour across Europe this winter, performing the album in its entirety, as well as a selection of Katie’s back catalogue.
Wed 23 Nov 16 Guildford, G Live
Thu 24 Nov 16 Bristol, Colston Hall
Fri 25 Nov 16 Southampton, O2 Guildhall
Sun 27 Nov 16 London, Theatre Royal Drury Lane
Mon 28 Nov 16 Leicester, De Montfort Hall
Tue 29 Nov 16 Liverpool, Philharmonic Hall
Thu 01 Dec 16 Birmingham, Symphony Hall
Fri 02 Dec 16 Manchester, Bridgewater Hall
Sat 03 Dec 16 Glasgow, Old Fruitmarket
Find more information about the tour from Gigs and Tours’ website.
— Katie Melua (@katiemelua) 20 October 2016