Composer Roxanna Panufnik has teamed up with a London gospel choir and two soloists from Afghanistan and Ukraine to release a unique Christmas benefit single.


‘Sleep, Jesus, Sleep’ is Roxanna's own arrangement of the traditional Ukrainian Christmas carol of the same name. This new version has been recorded by gospel choir Soul Sanctuary, Ukrainian soprano Inna Husieva and Afghan tabla player Sulaiman Haqpana.

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Composer Roxanna Panufnik

Proceeds from sales of the single, which is available in digital form via major streaming services, will go to the Refugee Council, which champions the rights of refugees and asylum seekers.

The nationalities of both soloists are significant in the light of current events. 'Since Putin commenced his ‘special operation’ in Ukraine, the many thousands of Afghan refugees that we airlifted out of Kabul in August 2021 seem to have been all but forgotten,' Roxanna, the daughter of noted composer, conductor and refugee Andrzej Panufnik, explains. 'Thousands are still waiting to be housed, often with multiple families sharing one hotel room.'

Sleep Jesus Sleep Roxanna Panufnik
Proceeds from 'Sleep Jesus Sleep', Roxanna Panufnik's arrangement of a traditional Ukrainian Christmas carol, will go to the Refugee Council

The Refugee Council will spend the proceeds from the single helping refugees of all nationalities to find their feet in the UK.

You can stream or download ‘Sleep, Jesus, Sleep’, and help raise vital funds for the Refugee Council's work, at


In addition to the single, Roxanna has also composed a more conventional choral arrangement that she has sent to various choral directors. As a result, there will be more than 40 live performances of this arrangement in cathedrals (including Salisbury, Norwich and Liverpool Metropolitan), churches (including Royal Peculiars Westminster Abbey and St George’s Windsor), concert halls and schools all over the UK, Belfast and Philadelphia. You can find more details about these concerts on the relevant page of Roxanna's website.


Steve Wright
Steve WrightMulti-Platform Content Producer, BBC Music Magazine

Steve has been an avid listener of classical music since childhood, and now contributes a variety of features to BBC Music’s magazine and website. He started writing about music as Arts Editor of an Oxford University student newspaper and has continued ever since, serving as Arts Editor on various magazines.