Never mind that the traditional carol of the same name can be found on the CD, Joy To The World is an apt title for the multi-cultural and jubilant sonic holiday experience [lastfm link_type="artist_info"]Pink Martini[/lastfm] provide on their fifth CD effort.
Opening with a faithful rendition of White Christmas, you soon get the feeling that you’re in for a non-traditional holiday CD when the second track is once again White Christmas…but this time in Japanese and featuring the vocals of [lastfm link_type="artist_info"]Saori Yuki[/lastfm], known in her native land as the [lastfm link_type="artist_info"]Barbra Streisand[/lastfm] of Japan.
The neo-lounge style preferred by bandleader Thomas Lauderdale avoids camp (with the exception of a restrained version of Santa Baby) and instead settles on a non-denominational exploration of a variety of cultures. Western, Eastern, Middle Eastern…they’ve got them covered.
And while you have many traditional tunes, they’re all done in a decidedly non-traditional fashion. Little Drummer Boy blends a syncopated Arabic feel with a swanky lounge style.
Other tunes on the disc are lesser known, but equally delightful, including a song for the Chinese New Year and the lush La Vergine Degli Angeli from Verdi’s opera La Forza del Destino.
The one original composition, A Snowglobe Christmas, blends loungy piano with steel guitar to create an upper-crust country ballad.
Pink Martini’s Joy To The World isn’t for everyone, but if you’re somewhat adventurous there are definite treats to be had here. Put it on rotation with [lastfm link_type="artist_info"]The Puppini Sisters[/lastfm]‘ Christmas with the Puppini Sisters and you’ll have a truly unique holiday mix.
1. White Christmas
2. White Christmas (part II) featuring Saori Yuki
3. Shchedryk (Ukrainian Bell Carol)
4. Santa Baby
5. Elohai, N’tzor
6. Little Drummer Boy
7. Congratulations – A Happy New Year Song
8. Do You Hear What I Hear?
9. La Vergine Degli Angeli
10. We Three Kings
11. A Snowglobe Christmas
12. Ocho Kandelikas (Eight Little Candles)
13. Silent Night
14. Auld Lang Syne
Unfamiliar with Pink Martini? Take a look at this overview of the lounge-jazz-indie-pop group courtesy of bandleader Thomas Lauderdale.
You can also watch Lauderdale’s tips on Holiday Table Setiing Made Easy.