As a group who “vowed never to do a holiday album,” says [pianist Thomas] Lauderdale, interest from Starbucks helped convince the band otherwise.
“Everyone sat down and wrote a list of their favorite Christmas songs,” [vocalist China] Forbes says, “It was a fun process, because it wasn’t like the pressure of writing an album full of songs. It was like culling from your childhood favorites.”
A number of songs on the holiday-themed album are taken from other countries or are sung in languages other than English. Some come entirely from different cultures, including a Ukrainian bell choir, a Chinese New Year song and one track spoken in Ladino, an ancient language used by Sephardic Jews in the 15th century.
My favorite songs on the album are “We Three Kings” (I’m a sucker for the line that goes “Oh, star of wonder, star of light, star of royal beauty bright”)and the Ladino song “Ocho Kandelikas,” (sung by NPR’s Ari Shapiro). Also, the last song on the album, “Auld Lang Syne” done samba–style. It’s awfully catchy, with the chorus sung in English, French, and Arabic. It’s a good bet you’ll have heard it a hundred times before New Year’s Day arrives (especially if you ever stop in Starbucks). Go get it (at Amazon, or iTunes) and start your countdown now.