The holiday season is in full swing, and independent family entertainer Katherine Dines has a new album out now to help families celebrate the holiday season. The album, Hunk–Ta Bunk–Ta Holidays, was released independently by Dines Aug. 26 to give families a chance to start preparing for the season. This unique record is not just another run-of-the-mill presentation of holiday standards covers. Rather it is much more than that. It is a presentation that promotes multiculturalism. It is also a presentation that presents a rich history lesson about the different holiday traditions that various cultures take part in annually. Along with all of that, it also presents music that no one will expect from any holiday music compilation. Each of the items noted here is key in its own way to the whole of Hunk–Ta Bunk–Ta Holidays. All things considered, they make the album another welcome work from Dines and her fellow musicians.
Katherine Dines’ latest Hunk–Ta Bunk–Ta record is a welcome addition to any family’s holiday music library. That is proven in part through the fact that it openly promotes multiculturalism. In researching Dines’ previous Hunk–Ta Bunk–Ta compilations, this is nothing new for Dines and her fellow musicians. Her past records have each done their own part to promote the many cultures of the world. In an age when xenophobia and racism are running rampant, the world needs more acceptances of others’ ways of life. That is exactly what listeners get here. Chinee culture is celebrated here alongside that of Muslims, Indians, Africa-Americans and Christians. Along with those celebrations are those of the Jewish culture, that of early Mesopotamians and even Scandanavians. Simply put, Dines and company take listeners around the world, featuring cultures from a wide range of peoples, teaching about their cultures and promoting that diversity along the way. Again, promoting cultural diversity is nothing new nowadays, but doing so through a holiday album is relatively uncommon. To that end, Dines and company are to be commended for that approach here. It is just one part of what makes Hunk–Ta Bunk–Ta Holidays stand out among this year’s holiday music offerings. The equally rich history lessons presented throughout the album add their own special touch to its presentation.
In promoting the world’s cultural diversity, Hunk–Ta Bunk–Ta Holidays also explains the roots of the noted peoples’ holiday celebrations. The history lessons are such that they can be utilized in the classroom just as much as they can the living room. Audiences will be interested to learn that the Christmas Tree is not just a tree, but rather a real, physical symbol of the Christian faith. According to information provided in the album’s companion booklet – which is itself a bonus to the album’s presentation – an English monk traveling through Germany a long time ago was the first to utilize a tree as a Christian symbol. The history lesson is brief, but is a wonderful starting point for so many discussions. In focusing on the Jewish celebration of Hanukkah, Dines tells the story of Judah Maccabee and the fight against the Syrians, and how that battle led to the birth of that holiday celebration. The discussion on the Indian celebration of Diwali points out the celebration’s Hindu roots thousands of years ago and how it marks the victory of good over evil, despair and darkness. Once again, the lesson is brief, but still serves as a positive starting point for yet another discussion here. It’s just one more of the many history lessons that serve collectively to make this compilation that much more appealing to so many listeners. It certainly is not the last of the compilation’s most notable elements. The music that accompanies the record’s history lessons and lessons promoting cultural diversity add their own touch to the collection’s presentation.
What audiences get here in terms of musical selections, is a group of compositions that is more world music than just standard Christmas music. That, again, is because this record isn’t just a Christmas music collection. It celebrates the music of the world during the holidays as part of the many cultures that make up the world’s peoples. The Indian music actually incorporates real Indian musical instruments and music that celebrates the festival that is Dewali. The early Mesopotamian sounds with their related story have their own positive impact on listeners along with the violin sound so common with Jewish music in ‘Eight Little Candles.’ Even ‘Ramadan’ connects directly to the Muslim faith while lyrically promoting friendship between Muslims and Christians. It is just one more way in which the record’s musical content proves to be just as important to the whole of this record as the album’s other content. When all of the noted content is considered together, it makes the record in whole a positive presentation that easily holds its own against its fellow holiday music records and even among other World Music albums.
Katherine Dines’ latest Hunk–Ta Bunk–Ta compilation record is a work that will appeal to just as wide a range of listeners as the cultures that it promotes. That is due in part to its promotion of cultural diversity. The history lessons connected to the promotion of the world’s varied cultures adds to that appeal. The record’s music varies just as much as its lessons about the featured cultures, helping it to hold its own even easier against other holiday and even World music records. Each item noted is important in its own way to the whole of this compilation. All things considered, they make Hunk–Ta Bunk–Ta Holidays a welcome addition to any family’s holiday music collection. It is available now. More information on this and other titles from Dines is available online now at:
To keep up with the latest entertainment reviews and news, go online to http://www.facebook.com/philspicks and “Like” it. Fans can always keep up with the latest entertainment reviews and news in the Phil’s Picks blog at https://philspicks.wordpress.com.