Pat-A-Pan

Album: Christmas From The Heart (2009)
Play Video

Songfacts®:

  • This is a track from American singer-songwriter David Archuleta's first Christmas album, Christmas From The Heart.
  • This traditional minor-key carol is basically a French version of the Little Drummer Boy story. The song revolves around the birth of Jesus Christ, and is told from the perspective of shepherds playing simple instruments--flutes and drums. The onomatopoetic title, "patapan," is meant to mimic the sound of the drum, and an accompanying lyric, "tu-re-lu-re-lu," the flute.
  • Archuleta sings part of this in French - it was the first time that the 18-year-old singer had spoken the language. USA Today, noting the album's credits include a pronunciation assistant for this song, asked David if she was in the studio with him. He replied: "No. We were just like, 'These are French lyrics. I don't speak them, and I don't think I'm saying them right.' My keyboardist's friend spoke French, so the night before, we just called her and said, 'Hey! Can you help me with these words?' She just went over them on the phone with me, and I was, like, 'Thank you, because I'm going to have to record them in the morning.' It was pretty funny. It was someone I had known already, but I guess they were my coach for the day."
  • American composer and arranger Kurt Bestor did the arrangement, with The Prague Philharmonic strings enriching its melody. Archuleta told USA Today: "We were trying to give it a more contemporary feel, a more modernized thing. It's hard, because it's a pretty short song. They actually had to add to the song and make it an original arrangement of the song. I really like how it came out. Kurt did a great job with it."

Comments: 2

  • Sherry Atkinson from North Carolina UsaI Love this song and artist singing it. He is such a talented singer. I love his voice.
  • Camille from Toronto, OhArchuleta's version of this is sung far too fast for me; I have a version by a children's choir that I prefer much more. The song is a beautiful change of pace to more traditional Christmas tunes.
see more comments

Editor's Picks

Dar Williams

Dar WilliamsSongwriter Interviews

A popular contemporary folk singer, Williams still remembers the sticky note that changed her life in college.

Mike Rutherford (Genesis, Mike + The Mechanics)

Mike Rutherford (Genesis, Mike + The Mechanics)Songwriter Interviews

Mike Rutherford talks about the "Silent Running" storyline and "Land Of Confusion" in the age of Trump.

Facebook, Bromance and Email - The First Songs To Use New Words

Facebook, Bromance and Email - The First Songs To Use New WordsSong Writing

Where words like "email," "thirsty," "Twitter" and "gangsta" first showed up in songs, and which songs popularized them.

80s Video Director Jay Dubin

80s Video Director Jay DubinSong Writing

Billy Joel and Hall & Oates hated making videos, so they chose a director with similar contempt for the medium. That was Jay Dubin, and he has a lot to say on the subject.

Graduation Songs

Graduation SongsFact or Fiction

Have you got the smarts to know which of these graduation song stories are real?

Adam Duritz of Counting Crows

Adam Duritz of Counting CrowsSongwriter Interviews

"Mr. Jones" took on new meaning when the song about a misguided view of fame made Adam famous.