2009 World Music Central Gift Guide

Thinking of rewrapping that purple and green striped sweater, the one with the arms in two different sizes, that Aunt Martha knitted and gave you last year? Are you wondering if you could get away with sticking a bow on that box of dried lentils you’ve had in your cupboard for the last two years to use as a gift for your office Secret Santa? Are you pining for the good old days, wishing the teenagers on your list would be satisfied with the big box of Crayola Crayons and a couple of Lion King coloring books? No need to worry because the 2009 World Music Central Gift Guide is here to help.

Times are tight, something we here at

Starting out the World Music Central Gift guide is our contributor’s picks for this year: Best World Music Releases of 2009.

Equipment

Next up is our picks for sound equipment. The Apple iPod still remains resoundingly popular and this year Apple is offering the Apple iPod touch 8 GB (3rd Generation) Newest Model  for $188.95. This iPod offers 8 GB which translates to 1,750 songs, 10,000 photos or 10 hours of video. It will play up to 30 hours of music or 6 hours of video. It has a 3.5-inch screen and comes with a one-year warranty.

The Apple iPod touch 64 GB (3rd Generation) Newest Model is pricier at $373.73, but boasts a 64 GB capacity that translates to a whopping 14,000 songs, 90,000 photos or 80 hours of video. It also has a 3.5-inch screen and will play up to 30 hours of music when fully charged.

The more modestly priced Apple iPod Nano 8 GB (5th Generation) Newest Model comes in at a more reasonable $139.99. Users get a 2,000 song, 7,000 photos or 8 hour video capacity with a 2.2-inch display screen.

The pricing eases a bit with the latest in MP3 players, as with the SanDisk Sansa Fuze 8 GB Video MP3 Player (Black), priced at $67.99. With 24 hours of battery life and a storage capacity of 2,000 songs, this little baby comes with a 1.9-inch display screen and a digital FM radio and a built-in microphone for voice recording. You can also expand the 8 GB memory with the microSD/microSDHC slot.

There’s also the SanDisk Sansa Fuze 4 GB Video MP3 Player (Black), priced at $51.10. Users get the 24 hours of battery life and a 1,000 song capacity, FM radio, built-in microphone and a 1.9-inch display screen. At 4 GB, SanDisk offers the same memory expansion slot.

 

Coby has the Coby 4GB Flash MP3 Player with FM and Color Display (Black), priced at $32.99. Users get a 1.8 –inch screen and plug-and-play OS support through Windows or Macintosh.

The Clip Plus 4 GB MP3 Player (Blue), priced at $39.99, comes with a 1,000 song, 2,400 photo or 12 hour video capacity, a memory card slot for pre-loaded cards, a digital FM tuner, a rechargeable battery and a clever built-in clip for easy carrying.

Zune marched out this year the Zune HD 16 GB Video MP3 Player (Black), priced at $219.00, that offers a 16 GB capacity for a 4,000 song capacity, a 3.3-inch screen and HD Radio will give you access to many of your local radio stations free!

No matter the price, all these iPods and MP3 players all came with good to excellent customer ratings. Having said that, let me caution buyers that you get what you pay for, so if you are purchasing one of the reasonable priced MP3 players and expecting an iPod you might find yourself disappointed.

For those hoping to tuck a home audio system under the tree this year, there’s the iLive iH328B Dual-CD Home Music System with iPod Dock (Black)  priced at $71.88. This little cutie comes a docking station for your iPod, a 2-disc CD player, a digital AM/FM radio, an LCD, speakers and a remote control.

The TEAC MC-DX32i Slim CD System is priced at $109.95 and comes with iPod dock, Diaphram NXT speakers, 4-inch active subwoofer and a remote control.

Now if you’ve been very, very nice maybe Santa will bring you the Denon D-M37S Micro Component Stereo Audio System, priced at $399.00. This sweet baby’s got a front-loading CD player, an AM/FM tuner and will play CDs, audio CD-Rs and CD-RWs, MP3 & WMA CDs. It also comes with 2 sets of analog stereo imputs. You could add the Denon ASD-11R iPod Dock (compatible with Denon Receivers) and get the pair for $487.50.

For those of you upgrading back to vinyl there’s the Audio Technica AT-LP2D-USB Fully Automatic Stereo Turntable with USB Output, Includes Recording Software and Dual Magnet Cartridge. Priced at $84.34, this turntable is PC and Mac compatible and boasts no special drivers are required for direct connection to your computer. The full automation promises to keep LPs scratch free in both 33 1/3 and 45 rpm.

The Sony PS-LX300USB USB Stereo Turntable System is priced at $112.00 and comes with USB audio output, built-in phono preamp and static balance tonearm, as well as full automatic operation.

Speakers

Our picks in speakers include: Sony SS-B3000 Bookshelf Speakers with 8" Woofer for $99.00. If you can afford the expense you can get a pair of Polk Audio RTI A1 Bookshelf Speakers for $339.95 or the JBL L830CH 6-Inch 3-Way Bookshelf Loudspeakers for $349.95.

Headphones

Now that you can turn it up, keep it down, will you? Our headphones picks include my personal favorite the Sennheiser HD 202 Headphones. Priced at $21.99, these babies offer closed, supra-aural sound, high efficiency drivers and a 10-foot cable so you can roam.

There’s also Sony’s MDR-XD200 Stereo Headphones, priced at $22.95. These headphones boast a design for listening comfort and neodymium magnets for crystal clear bass and treble sounds.

JBuds J3 Micro Atomic In-Ear Earphones with Travel Case (Jet Black) for $29.95 offers a rich sound and includes 4 sizes of silicone ear buds.

Teenage users, and those who act like teenagers, should get a firm warning about the proper use of headphones and the potential dangers of hearing loss from prolonged periods of listening to loud music. While there are cheaper models of headphones on the market, choosing a good brand of headphone will keep the sounds clean and clear and just maybe keep prevent loudness abuse.

Musical instruments

Maybe a musical instrument would be a perfect gift for somebody on your list. This is an ideal way to get the young person in your life interested in music or to get the old crankypants living in your house a hobby. There are loads of instruments out there and here’s just a few of our recommendations:

Amazon.com has loads of instruments and instructional materials. They’ve got Irish Bodhrans, Latin bongos, African djembes, Cajun accordions, Hawaiian ukuleles and Indian Bansuri flutes. Your home and family never need to be without music again!

 

Playing a musical instrument not only aids children in the learning of math and science, but gives an outlet to a child’s creative side. The giver also gets covered with years of related gifts like accessories or private lessons. And, don’t forget to put yourself on the list. All those years you dreamed of learning to play the Irish tin whistle can come true because there’s Waltons Irish Tin Whistle CD Pack that comes with a brass whistle, an instructional CD and 20 popular tunes for you to play.

Music Software

 

As with instruments, there’s a boatload of music making/writing software out on the market. ACID Music Studio 7, Guitar Studio: Sample CD Audio/Wav/Acid, Music Maker 15 and Finale Print Music 2009)are just a few of the packages out there. With most, except the Guitar Studio, being under $50, it’s a great deal for the music maker on your list.

Music Classes

Classes are a great gift idea for those hard-to-buy folks on you list. Check out your local arts scene and you can find everything from violin lessons to tango clubs to Latvian folk dance classes. Classes are a great way to get involved in community and the local arts, giving the recipient a chance to meet like-minded people and participate in an art form. And, let’s face it there are many dance instructors and music teachers out there who could use the work.

You also might check out your local community college or university for music and dance classes or an adult music appreciation class.

Books About Music and Biographies

If you’re looking for books about music or musicians, here’s a few that make our list:

DVDs

DVDs are a popular gift, so check out some of these music concerts and documentary DVDs:

Music Inspired Decorations

Decking the halls with a little music inspired decorations could be easier with the brass ornaments that come in the shape of a harp, lute or lyre and these ornaments are nicely priced if you want to give small gift to a large number of people on you list.

Posters

Framed posters or art might also be a good gift and there are some nice pieces out there, like the 12 x 18 Cuban Rumba Dancer poster or pricier art framed art like Marie Louise Oudkerk’s Ode to Music I, or Scott Steele’s The Music Shoppe.

There’s also the Musical Stepping Stone by Spoontiques that might charm the music lover in your life. Texsign has a series of musical signs out like Clarinet Player Parking Sign or Sitar Player Parking Sign priced at $19.95 that would be perfect of an office wall, bedroom door or dorm room and that just might be a reminder to the musician in your life to practice, practice, practice. Texsign has a series so you’d just need to do a search for your particular instrument.

The Handpainted 4-Piece New Orleans Jazz Figurine Set is another fine gift.

Sweet musical charms might be work for the woman or girl in your life. The Sterling Silver Music Note Charm with 20-inch Sterling Silver Chain costs a mere $27.74 and additions like the Silver Mandolin or the Harp Charm are nicely affordable.

Gifts for Children

There’s oodles of great stuff for children this year, including the Woodstock Wood Wood Conga Drum Music Maker Kid’s Toy or Melissa & Doug’s Deluxe Band Set and Band in a Box or the 6 foot Piano Mat, all of which are under 50 bucks!

There’s also the Child’s 6 String Guitar, the Jaw Harp by Trophy Music that would be a great stocking stuffer and the Hohner 7-piece Samba Music Party. Trophy Music’s also got the Melody Harp for $37.14 which is a great deal for the little music maker on your list.

Finally there’s the Ucreate Music digital music making system for kids or those on your list who act like kids. You can get Mattel’s Ucreate Music along with the Ucreate Games & Artimation and Bop It by Hasbro Games all for $99.90.

If you are looking for some sounds for children, you might want to check out some of these CDs:

Concerts

Another great gift idea is the just the gift of music, so why not check your local paper, art center or better yet World Music Central for a concert coming near you. Getting advance tickets to a favorite group that’s on tour might just be the thing to get you and your loved one or a pair of treasured friends out of the house to enjoy some live music. For you in the New York area or those planning a trip to the Big Apple, might want to consider tickets to the Broadway show Fela about the life and music of Fela Kuti.

Music Charities

Now we always urge you to think of others this time of year. Giving a gift to a music charity in someone’s name might just be the perfect gift for those on your list who have everything. Perhaps you could give the gift of music by donating a new or used instrument to your local school or arts center or to Saharawi musicians (Electric Guitar Donations for Saharawi Musicians) – you’re bound to make some music-hungry child extraordinarily happy. There are also some of our favorite organizations like VH1’s Save the Music Foundation, Freemuse.org and the Music Maker Relief Foundation. These organizations do an important job of giving music, keeping music free and helping struggling musicians, so I know you’ll be kind and offer what you can.

Crafty and Free Stuff

Now, if you’re looking for some crafty stuff or some free stuff, you might want to check out some of these sites:

We here at World Music Central hope that we’ve done our job well this year in giving you some great ideas for your holiday gift list. And as always let me wish all of our readers, contributors and friends around the globe a Merry Christmas … Feliz Navidad… Shuvo Naba Barsha… Kung His Hsin Nien bing Chu Shen Tan… Glædelig Jul… Joyeux Noel…Nollaig chridheil agus Bliadhna mhath ùr!…Buone Feste Natalizie… Merry Keshmish… Wesolych Swiat Bozego Narodzenia… La Maunia Le Kilisimasi Ma Le Tausaga Fou… Sawadee Pee Mai… Cestitamo Bozic……

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