Trevor Loucks of 92 Keys contacted us early this morning to share the group’s new Christmas video, released just yesterday, titled Carol of the Bells.
I had never heard of Trevor or 92 Keys. But we all know Carol of the Bells.
Carol of the Bells was not originally a Christmas song. It is a Ukrainian folk carol typically associated with the New Year and wishing good fortune on a family or friends in an upcoming season. It made it’s American debut in the 1920s.
Written in 1916 by Ukrainian composer Mykola Leontovich and titled “Shchedryk,” the song tells the tale of a swallow flying into a household to proclaim the plentiful year that the family will have. The song’s title is derived from the Ukrainian word “shchedryj,” which means “bountiful.” The song was performed by choral groups and then re-arranged with Christmas lyrics by American choir director and arranger Peter Wilhousky in 1936, who then started performing the work as a Christmas piece with many different choirs.
Since then this song entered the American Christmas songbook thanks to spirited performances from the Boston Pops, the London Philharmonic, the Mormon Tabernacle Choir, and then later becoming a feature in films such as Home Alone. Steven Sharp Nelson and the Piano Guys most recently made a hit with the song, too.
The challenge in taking on any work of Christmas, whether it is an ancient carol like God Rest Ye Merry, Gentlemen or a classic of more recent origins like Carol of the Bells comes in making it fresh and interesting.
In this Trevor and 92 Keys is gloriously successful. This rendition, which Trevor tells us involved 15 months and “everything I’ve got”, is not only fresh it is exciting and passionate. Whatever talent Trevor feels he lacks is obscured by his obvious love for what he is doing. And that’s the beauty of Christmas music done with heart and soul — it’s as much a wonder to behold as it is to perform.
We’re pulling for 92 Keys. We can’t wait to see what more, especially of Christmas, is to come from these guys. Enjoy: