The second installment of the FOOLHOGG (Fooleryland Holiday Gift Guide). Sick to death of the same old Christmas music over and over -- or, even worse, new versions by musical lightweights who add nothing of value to an old standard (and probably ruin it)? Well, I am. So I was very surprised to hear excerpts from a holiday album that I actually wanted to buy.
And no, when I write "holiday album," I'm not being politically correct. You should know me better than that -- shame on you for thinking that!
The eclectic band Pink Martini is all about variety, flexibility and uniqueness. Nothing is as you'd expect. They're a little campy, sometimes old-fashioned, often very multicultural, and always extremely musical.
This album has a very sacred feel to it, whatever your beliefs may be. There is a gorgeous Hebrew prayer put to music that just about stops my heart every time I hear it. There is a song for new years from China, sung in Chinese and quite catchy. There are lyrics sung in Japanese, Arabic, French, German, Ukrainian, and yes, even English. This is not a Christmas album, really -- it's a holiday album in the best sense of the word. I downloaded my version but you can buy it from all of the usual suspects, including at the band's web site.
(As a bonus to my fellow NPR junkies, Ari Shapiro sings as a guest on two of the songs. It turns out he has a beautiful voice.)
You can read and hear the NPR interview, and three songs, here.