May we ask for a favor?
Please support local musicians this Christmas. Yes, GO, GO OUT and buy a CD... or two or three! Buy them as a present for your mom, your friend, your cousin, your child, your teacher... go, go buy one for everyone you know!
You may think it's a bit of a selfish cause — but please hear me out before you come to judgment too quickly. You may find it's a win-win situation after all! Ever wondered what musicians really want? They want to make music! They want to play and produce records — pieces of art for others to enjoy. They want to share a passion — with anyone who is keen to listen.
If you are reading this article, you are most likely one of those people who already know there is a music world beyond the Justin Biebers and Lady Gagas of commercial music — but do you know how BIG that world really is? In jazz alone — there are so many different styles, musicians, songs... there are the quiet instrumental ones and the ones with voices that give you goosebumps. There are ones with a million instruments and some with unbelievable energy as soloists. Need I go on?
So: giving MUSIC for Christmas is easy — simply because there is so much of it out there that it is impossible not to find the right CD for even the hardest-to-shop-for Christmas present recipient! You know those people in your family or circle of friends who are always so difficult when it comes to finding the right gift? How to find out what kind of music they like, you ask? Just poke your nose into their music collection! Or steal their iPod for an hour and listen in on the "most played" songs! Or check out which CD is currently stuck in their car radio... well, you could of course also just ask! Another great point about giving music for Christmas: it's cheap! Yes, CDs cost around $15-20 these days! That's cheaper than a new tie for dad (... you know, the kind he does not need anyway but it was — until now — the only present you could think of).
Now you may think: I don't have time to listen to hundreds of CD's just to find a good one that will suit my friend's taste of music. It's a semi-valid point. There is an easy solution to that though! Ask your friends! I bet you have at least five people in your circle of friends who are somehow involved with music. He or she may not be a musician him or herself but may be a teacher, a waitress in a local bar where live music is performed, a radio host or just a music lover. Go on, ask them!
To make it a little easier for you, I'll just start a list of albums by local musicians below. If you know of a great album that should be included in my list, send me an e- mail! If you are a musician who would like to have her/his album listed, just say the word!
The best thing of all about giving music for Christmas: you are not only making the person on the receiving end happy but also the musician! Just like supporting local businesses, you are helping the musicians to keep up their creative work and pay their rent at the same time!
On behalf of the musicians: thank you for your support!
And here the list of albums I currently listen to:
Mike Field: Rush Mode — Upbeat, energetic instrumental Jazz with a beautiful ballad sung by Sophia Perlman... for those melancholic cold winter days. (Yes, I may be a bit biased... but I truly believe it's a great album!)
Kevin Laliberté: One — A genius on the guitar, Kevin created a beautiful instrumental album with just the one instrument. World music with flamenco influences.
Auresia — Risin'! Great upbeat reggae album with a beautiful voice!
Joanna Moon — Vagabunda — The title gives a good idea already. Stunning voice with flamenco guitar. Happy and dancy comes to mind here.
Katie DuTemple — Mellow vocal Jazz that goes great with a hot cup of tea on a Sunday morning.
The Strumbellas — We still move on dance floors. Indie — the "let's get up and dance" kind of music.
Ainsley McNeaney — True Story Orchestra - Beautiful singer-songwriter album.
Drumhand — Cheer on the sun — African influence drum band.