New Christmas Music for 2009
By Bethany Porter and Laura Young
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If you prefer your Christmas music to be without words, or sung in foreign languages, consider purchasing one of the following albums:
The multi-national quartet (members hail from France, Spain, Switzerland, and the United States) of male operatic pop singers has released this grouping of love songs and Christmas ballads.
What does it sound like? Although the album is not specifically a Christmas record, there are many holiday standards such as Leonard Cohen's "Hallelujah" (sung in Spanish) and "Amazing Grace," keeping yuletide fans satisfied. The group's grandiose tenors add elegance and gravitas to even the simplest of tunes.
Perfect for playing while you're addressing all your Christmas cards.
Standout tracks: "The Power of Love (La Fuerza Mayor)," "La Luna"
Yo-Yo Ma and Friends
Songs of Joy & Peace
Alongside a host of musical guests and friends, renowned classical cellist takes on some familiar Christmas standards, as well as traditional and spiritual songs from all over the world.
What does it sound like? This album is a true gem, as it is chock full of gorgeous orchestra work and brilliant arrangements. Particularly striking are the instrumental interpretations of some well known pop songs such as "Happy Xmas (War is Over" by John Lennon and Yoko Ono and a thoughtful and moving rendition of "Here Comes the Sun" featuring James Taylor.
Perfect for playing…anytime, really!
Standout tracks: "Improvisation on Dona Nobis Pacem (Give Us Peace)" featuring Edgar Meyer and Chris Thile, " a joyous version of "This Little Light of Mine" featuring Amelia Zirin-Brown, "Here Comes the Sun"
Bela Fleck & the Flecktones
Jingle All the Way
The 16-track album has plenty of music to keep your party going, including updated twists to J.S. Bach's "Chrsitmas Oratorio: Ich will nur zu Ehren leben"[BVW 248: # 41].
What does it sound like? Bela Fleck is known for his incredible banjo work, so it's no surprise that his agile technique really shines on this album, especially in their ramped up version of "Sleigh Bells" which features some blistering finger work. One listen to this jazzy/folk album proves that instrumental music is far from being boring.
Perfect for playing during a swinging, sophisticated holiday party.
Standout tracks: "Jingle Bells," "Danse of the Sugar Plum Fairies"
Read on for suggestions for hip and cool Christmas music to play for friends, your kids, or yourself!