13 December 2010

Monday's mp3: A Christmas Party, Tender and Mild

Unlike some local retail outlets I could name, I'm not one to start celebrating holidays two months early. Honestly, if you bake your birthday cake a month early, it's gonna be more than a bit stale by the time the actual celebration rolls around. I think you get my drift.

Now that the big day is within a couple weeks reach, however, I'm happy to share some seasonally appropriate music with you.

World Christmas Party is Putumayo's sixth such holiday compilation, following A Putumayo World Christmas (2000), Christmas Around the World (2003), New Orleans Christmas (2006), Jazz & Blues Christmas (2008), and last year's A Family Christmas.

The kind of Christmas party Putumayo throws is, of course, not the kind at which your aunt Thelma has far too much eggnog and starts spilling the family secrets. Naw, it's a gentle, sober affair with acoustic sounds sounds suited to your mother gently brushing a stray strand of tinsel from your hair before you settle down for a slice of ham with your completely functional family members. It's the soundtrack for a nice Christmas.

Take the soft buoyant Brazilian sounds of Jose Conde's "Winter Wonderland," for instance, or Maria de Barros' "Alegria," (which is in fact "Deck the Halls" in Cape Verdean creole). For a "world music" compilation, the songs lean curiously toward English, the language of five of the eight tracks with vocals. Three of the remaining four instrumental tracks lean toward jazz and Latin jazz (by the Heritage Hall Jazz Band, Ed Calle with Arturo Sandoval, and Poncho Sanchez.

The final track, and my favorite so far, is a banjo/piano-jazz carol mashup by the Alison Brown Quartet With Joe Craven called "Carol And The Kings." It's just different enough from standard holiday fare to be a standout on this album, in the way that Ini Kimoze's "All I Want for Christmas" was a standout on A Putumayo World Christmas.

[mp3] Alison Brown Quartet With Joe Craven: Carol And The Kings
from the album World Christmas Party

More World Christmas Party:
Buy CD
Listen to song samples (and get a free download of the Maria de Barros track for joining the Putumayo email list)




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3 comments:

Anonymous said...

Great. Putumayo have always been great contributors to the world music scene.

S A Stevens said...

Indeed they have. I always recommend their compilations as great introductions for people just starting to explore global music. They tend to select songs with a certain accessible sound that are great for newbies.

LeRoc said...

I like the jazz feel mixed with a banjo in this song. (If I guessed the instrument correctly.) Ands that "Old Mac Donalds Had A Farm" that I am hearing about halfway in?

I like Maria de Barros, but I'm not to keen about this "Alegria". It is a too literal version of the Christmas song, I would like her to do something more with it, to give it a more Cape Verdian feel.

I'll be traveling in the next weeks, so let me make use of this occasion to wish a Happy Christmas to Mr. Stevens and the listeners to this site!