Pink Martini for the holidays

Wonderful news, chil­dren! Pink Martini—the irre­press­ibly cre­ative, lounge-​​y band from Portland—has released a new hol­i­day album, Joy to the World. From NPR:

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.