Saturday, December 13, 2008


So I whipped out the Christmas music this morning. I love returning to it every year. And among the high angelic strains (I LOVE choir music), I found the African song Bethelehmu. The lyrics go "Where was Christ born? In Bethlehem, surely he was born in Bethlehem." I LOVE this thing. It's madness. It's the opposite of everything you've ever heard, unless you grew up in Africa or listen to much African music. It gets me going so much that I find myself dancing without realizing I started. And they're very much first-chakra moves. Not dainty. The kind of dancing it provokes is rough & real. It's all about the earth, and you find yourself moving powerfully and boldly to it. The clip is by the Men's Chorus of my alma mater, BYU, and if anyone would like I can send you a clean mp3 of it. What's some of your favorite Christmas music?


Blogger April said...

This is great, I would love the mp3 file! I can't dance, but it tugs at my gut and gets me itchy to move.

I love just about all Christmas music. Choral, orchestral, big band, jazz, rock... you name it.

"Classics" of course I recommend Bing Crosby, Nat King Cole, Ella Fitzgerald, Frank Sinatra, Perry Como, Johnny Mathis, etc. If you like these then I recommend the albums "Christmas with the Rat Pack", "Time-Life Treasury of Christmas", "Croon and Swoon: A Classic Christmas", "Ella Wishes You a Swinging Christmas", and any of the Christmas albums by these individual singers.

For choral classics I've been listening a lot to an album by the St. Paul's Cathedral Choir, "Christmas Voices". Of course there's the Vienna Boys' Choir, and even the MoTab.

For more "modern" I like the "Maybe This Christmas" compilations. LOVE the Sufjan Stevens set. I'm only recently exploring modern holiday tunes, so I don't have a lot of advice on this. I did just listen to one today that is growing on me, "This Warm December: A Brushfire Holiday". I have mostly been listening to new things by tuning into SOMAfm and WOXY's holiday mixers.

I know some people think it's corny, but I really like John Denver's "Rocky Mountain Christmas".

You can't go wrong with "A Charlie Brown Christmas" soundtrack.

I always love listening to the Tchaikovsky's "Nutcracker" cd.

Tom and I went to a choral Christmas concert last night where they sang one of our favorites, Jesu Joy of Man's Desiring (is this technically a Christmas song? I"m not sure). We were both crying our eyes out (ok his eyes were only shiny... he's better at holding it in).

December 14, 2008 at 1:21 AM  
Blogger mimi said...

April! Are you a musical bibliographer? Or you just LOVE music... I have yet to discover most of the music you listed! Thank you so much. Especially John Denver sounds really alluring. Seeing how I spent $43 yesterday on iTunes (3 Tenors, Cambridge Singers), John Denver & Charlie Brown will wait for next year! I do get tired of the same Christmas tunes every year, so your suggestions will really make a difference.

Everyone (April too), if you'd like an mp3 of Bethelemu, please send me your email, in a comment that I won't publish so you don't get spam.

Merry Christmas!

December 14, 2008 at 11:42 AM  
Blogger April said...

Wow, sorry I kinda went crazy there!

December 14, 2008 at 6:43 PM  
Blogger mimi said...

never, ever be sorry for anything you say on my blog!

December 15, 2008 at 12:22 AM  
Blogger Alisha said...

Maria, do you mind if i ask you a question? I don't know how you add You Tube clips into your blog. Do you mind sharing your expertise with me?

December 17, 2008 at 12:18 AM  
Blogger mimi said...

Sure! On the right of a youtube video there's a skinny window that says "Embed" and has a bunch of code in it. I copy that right where I type the post. I'm pretty sure that's what I do, but if it doesn't work, let me know! I love you and can't wait to see what you'll share!

December 26, 2008 at 12:52 PM  

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