This well-conceived, substantive album from respected children’s music veteran Katherine Dines and other top-notch musicians is definitely not your usual holiday fare. In the title track, Dines sings, “Holidays have stories, songs, and histories/woven in a blanket of lasting memories,” and each track that follows is crafted with spoken word introductions and eloquent lyrics and liner notes that tell the stories of holidays from many cultures and throughout history. Dines takes listeners back to “A Long Time Ago,” when “people depended on the sun and the stars/to guide them through the cold and dark.” “Stars” was inspired by a 14th century Persian poet. “Thanks to the Sun” is based on an early Mesopotamian festival. Dines tracks the tradition of the evergreen tree and the yule log, and brings fresh, informed perspectives to songs about Hanukkah, Kwanzaa, Ramadan, and Diwali, the Hindu festival of lights. These all-embracing original songs and spoken word tracks offer affirmation for people of all ages and faiths who are united in good will and whose holidays “celebrate global light.”
Lynne Heffley ©2020 Parents’ Choice
A freelance writer and editor for the arts and non-profit organizations, Lynne is a former staff writer for the Los Angeles Times, where she established the paper’s first weekly children’s arts and entertainment beat.