Do You Wanna Build _ _________? (Holiday Music)

Admit it; it’s so easy to fill in the blanks for those beautiful, but oh-so-tired lyrics! It’s kind of crazy how often the same old songs are played over and over again, especially around Christmastime. The holiday tunes one hears on the radio and in almost every store this time of year have similar expressions and ever-so-familiar lyrics, which fosters a feeling of connection, but there are so many beautiful musicians and music compositions out there, why limit yourself to just those?

First ask yourself what beats, instruments or ideas are most important to you in musical piece. Do you like repetition? Is a wide variety of expression essential? If you want vocals, are simple, short messages appealing or do you want a story? Listen, listen, and then listen some more to find selections that soothe your soul (we have a huge collection to explore at CPL, after all)!

Here are some non-traditional selections I’d like to recommend for a break from the same old, same old "Ding Dong, Ding Dong" tunes this winter:

World Music – Buena Vista Social Club and Caribe! Caribe! are high quality, high-energy musical pieces to get you out of a slump. (Putamayo creates some noteworthy compilations of all kinds, and this one in particular includes the remarkable Afro-Central American folk-pop artist, Andy Palacio.)

Jazz is awesome for any time of year, in my opinion. If you haven't discovered Ella yet, you need to! I'd recommend starting with her ballads: Ella Fitzgerald, the Best of the Song Books. There are so many other amazing jazz musicians, but I thought I'd suggest a group less commonly played, to get you in the swing of the season: The Complete Glenn Miller and His Orchestra.

Finally, and in terms of classical music, in The Barber of Seville, Rossini offers some serious music, but in a playful context (don't forget that we have the full opera DVD too)! Also, The Four Seasons, while admittedly more commonly known, is still one of my all-time favorite classical pieces because Vivaldi’s music expresses so much emotion. While you’re appreciating different messages and styles of classical music, why not compare urban (George Gershwin) and rural (Aaron Copland) melodies?

What makes a music piece work for you? Please share some new favorites you discovered this year with me and other library patrons!