Happy New Year! It’s that time of year again and I am feeling a little more reflective than previous years. As the new year approaches, for me, things like a connection to our world, togetherness and balance keep coming up.
As such, I wanted to put together a list of music that conveyed these feelings. The list below manages to do that, in addition to evoking a sense of hope and joy. I hope you enjoy them with your family as you reflect, snuggle together and prepare for a fresh start in 2013.
SteveSongs – “Our World”
Families may be familiar with Steve Roslonek as “Mr. Steve,” co-host of PBS KIDS preschool destination. “Mr. Steve” typically appears in a short musical segment called Music Time with SteveSongs which airs before shows like Curious George, Clifford, The Cat in the Hat Knows a Lot About That and Daniel Tiger’s Neighborhood, among others. In addition to his PBS affiliation, Roslonek is an award-winning children’s musician with several of his own albums under the moniker of “SteveSongs.”
Just in time for the holidays, Roslonek recorded a song called “Our World.” According to Roslonek, “The song was inspired by a PBS request for a wintertime song to go with their digital holiday card. The card pictured Grover showing a child the moon and stars on a snowy night.” Roslonek certainly upholds the image he was inspired by with lyrics like “Last night the moon rose high in the winter sky/shining 240,000 miles/to light a path for you and I/snow fell like star flakes/and time/went flying by/thats why I know/and it always will be true/that the time I have/is better spent with you.” It’s a great song that you might just want to hear all year!
Bonus: Roslonek’s eighth CD, Orangutan Van, is set to release on January 29, 2013, but fans can purchase it ahead of time, online, at http://stevesongs.com.
Vanessa Trien and The Jumping Monkeys – “Let Your Light Glow”
Receiving a Parents’ Choice Silver Honor Award for their October release, Bubble Ride, Vanessa Trien and The Jumping Monkeys are back with a holiday song called “Let Your Light Glow.” Available as a FREE DOWNLOAD directly from their official site, “Let Your Light Glow” was written by Jumping Monkeys’ friend, Julie Rama Winslow and performed and recorded by the group. The song contains Trien’s beautiful voice along with the harmonious accompaniment of the rest of the group. According to Trien and the Jumping Monkeys, “The song is meant to honor the changing of the seasons and to celebrate light, warmth and connection to the people around us.”
African Treehouse – “Holiday Time is Here”
African Treehouse is an ongoing project to bring African music to kids around the world. It’s the brainchild of the SAMA (South African Music Award) winning team of Graeme Sacks and Erika Strydom. “Holiday Time is Here,” with its “World Music” accents, talks about the different ways of celebrating the holidays between the Northern and Southern Hemispheres. This song reminds me of the excitement I felt growing up while watching clips of people around the world celebrating as their own clocks hit midnight. “Holiday Time is Here” is an inspiring song, offering educational insights for children with a festive vibe.
The song can be sampled and purchased through the Bandcamp widget below.
Gustafer Yellowgold – “New is the New Old” and “Fa And A La”
Morgan Taylor, the mastermind behind Gustafer Yellowgold, a creature from the sun, recently released a couple of holiday videos from his 2012 release, Year In The Day. The 11-song CD/DVD set contains videos for each of the songs on the album. A Year In The Day celebrates various holidays throughout the year starting off with “New is the New Old,” which welcomes the New Year. The last track, available only for the month of December, “Fa And A La,” is a warm, harmonic ode to the holiday season, as well as gathering with friends and family. You can view both videos below and sing along as the lyrics are displayed throughout the song. Year In The Day can be purchased through the Gustafer Yellowgold store, as well as other regular media outlets.
Charity and the JAMband – “The Light”
Every month fans of Charity and the JAMBand can enjoy a free song directly from the band’s official site. This month’s song, “The Light,” sounds similar to a lullaby. I selected “The Light” for its soft beauty and the powerful message. After reading Charity Khan’s intentions and feelings about this song, I realized that this song could bring a sense of peace and love to all of us as we reflect on this year and prepare for the upcoming new year. I believe Khan’s summation speaks the most beautifully in the following snippet taken from her site:
“The song is called The Light. The theme is that light itself (whether in the form of twinkly tree lights, flickering candle-fire, the sun or stars) is central to every culture’s winter holiday. And it universally symbolizes purity, a hope for peace, a desire for awakening and transformation, and the amazing opportunity we’re given to recognize the basic human goodness in one another — the opportunity to lay down our fear, judgement, and illusion of separation and come together, in love, as one. For deep down, everyone wants to love and be loved. The experience of sharing love brings us our greatest joy, and the fear of separation from love is the source of our deepest pain. This truth is at the heart of all that is both tragic and transformative about humanity. And it carries within it the path to a peaceful world.”
You can read more in-depth about “The Light,” sample and purchase it here. The song can also be streamed and downloaded through the Bandcamp widget below.