A SINGER-songwriter from Falmouth has teamed up with a Ukrainian choir for his latest Christmas single. 

Singer-songwriter The Gleeman has announced a Christmas single release, ‘I Love Christmastime’ to keep the focus of the world’s eye on the ongoing conflict in Ukraine and the impact it continues to have on the children of the war-torn country. The single is raising awareness for the charity War Child and will be released on Friday, December 1, 2023.

With the likes of Mariah Carey, The Pogues, The Beatles and Ed Sheeran, amongst many others all racing for the Christmas number one spot, The Gleeman’s heart-felt and poignant offering sends out a powerful message.

War Child received the track a few months ago and loved the song, which has been written from the perspective of a child, as The Gleeman crafts lyrics remembering the joys and magic of the Christmases gone-by. A gifted musician and storyteller, The Gleeman with the support of War Child was motivated to release the single to keep the plight of children in Kyiv and Ukraine at the front of people’s minds.

Jim Benner of War Child said: “War Child is very happy that The Gleeman is donating proceeds from “I Love Christmastime” which will raise awareness for and support our vital work with children in Ukraine and war zones across the globe. 

"Written from the viewpoint of a child, the song reminds us of the innocence of youth.  No child ever started a war, but they are innocent victims. The holiday season should be a peaceful and joyful time for children and families and we welcome this song of warmth and safety for children and grown-ups everywhere.”

The song features the Kyiv-based Shchedryk Children’s Choir, who recorded their parts in Ukraine at the end of November. The Gleeman had heard of the Shchedryk Choir after they performed in New York at Carnegie Hall last December to amazing reviews. 

In addition, to also raise awareness of those children directly impacted in the Ukraine, The Gleeman also wanted to highlight the impact on the displacement of families. He reached out to Yevheniia Diachenko, a Ukrainian refugee herself who runs Cherwell College Choir based in Oxford. The choir was formed in January 2023 to unite Ukrainian refugee children arriving in the UK.

The Cherwell choir children were recorded recently at Evolution studios in Oxford for the single. The behind-the-scenes music video features legendary broadcaster Bob Harris OBE who interviewed The Gleeman and the children as part of the video narrative.

The Gleeman also contacted St Mary’s Ukrainian School Choir from London. They also feature on the single, with a solo by 10-year-old Sofia Fedyna from Lviv in Ukraine.

Sofia said: “I love Christmas the most. In my house in Ukraine, it was always fun with carols. I miss it”.

No strangers to the spotlight the children from St Mary’s Ukrainian School Choir have previously taken part at the request of the Princess Of Wales in her carol service last year at Westminster Abbey. For the children, singing and taking part in the choir has helped make them feel like they were not alone.

The Gleeman said: “If I Love Christmastime with the participation of the Ukrainian children and the support of War Child can help raise awareness and support for children impacted by war, can connect with people, can unite people, can provide some comfort and joy or can encourage anyone to sing along so they do not feel so alone, this Christmastime will definitely become one of the magical ones…”