It’s that time of year when World Music Central gives our readers the skinny on what’s out there for the music lover on your list. We’ve got musically inspired gift ideas for your mom, your dad, your kids, your music teacher and even that odd uncle who wows the family with the first couple of bars of “Stairway to Heaven” played on the organ.
So, over the next days be sure to check out the daily goodies on our gift giving guide. You’re just a click away from being the rock star gift giver in your family this year.
Today’s portion of the Gift Guide is an assortment of cool music-related stuff.
Today’s portion of the Gift Guide is all about playing music. Isn’t about time your Uncle Fred finally took up the Irish whistle? Or perhaps your nieces or nephews would enjoy learning the joys of the autoharp? Maybe you have a secret wish to pick up the ukulele? With these beginner kits, learning to play an instrument is now all about practice, practice, practice.
Right about now that leopard print Snuggie is probably looking like a fine gift idea, as are the Troll Chia Pets and one of those plastic devices that allow you to cook fluffy scrambled eggs in your microwave. As we get closer to Christmas it’s easy to be lured and lulled into coughing up some cash for just about anything just so long as you’ll be done with the whole Christmas gift buying business.
While it might be tempting to fall victim to those his and hers camouflage car seat warmers, I’m asking you to step away from the phone and put that remote back on the table and check out some musically inspired gifts from this year’s World Music Holiday Gift Guide. Yes, we’ve got the goods. We’ve got sparkly things, charming doodads, practical gifts and tech savvy gifts for the music lover in your life.
Over the next couple of days, World Music Central will be offering up musically inspired gifts for the music junkies in your life, and perhaps a couple of gift ideas you’ll want for yourself. Big or small, pricy or affordable, World Music Central hopes you find that perfect gift.
It’s that time of year again when World Music Central gives up the goods for our Holiday Gift Guide. We’ve found a boatload of new goodies to add this year, as well as some old favorites. So there’s no reason to tap your stash of boxed fruitcakes you bought back in 1975 or rummage through closets or attics looking to re-gift ugly sweaters, hat and glove gift sets or that The Best of Lionel Richie CD you got from you Aunt Sally. No, this year you are heading toward gold gift-giving status with some of our picks for the music lover in your life, and maybe if you’ve been really, really good some nice person will get you some of these goodies for you off your wish list.
Let’s kick things off with a little holiday music.
Christmas: The Mountain Way is a CD/DVD set with performances by Dale Ann Bradley, Steve Gulley, Marty Raybon, Audi Blaylock, Cumberland River and Common Strings packed with tracks like “Joy To The World,” “In The Sweet By and By,” “O Holy Night” and “Go Tell It On the Mountain” for an Appalachian Mountain inspired Christmas.
Celtic Woman has offered up Home for Christmas with goodies like “I’ll Be Home for Christmas,” “Hark The Herald Angels Sing” and “Adeste Fideles.” Other new offerings include Estrelas do Natal with such artists like Luiz Melodia, Jorge Vercillo and Margareth Menezes; The Classic Christmas Album by Willie Nelson; Mannheim Steamroller’s Candlelight Christmas ; On a Cold Winters Day: Early Christmas Music and Carols from the British Isles by Quadriga Consort; Putumayo Celtic Christmas and Canadian Ron Korb’s Europa.
For some older holiday music recordings you might want to check out Latin Christmas’s Merengue Navidad y Año Nuevo;” Jewish Cello Masterpieces by Richard Locker, Susan Walters, Ernest Bloch, Max Bruch and Maurice Ravel; Jazz and Blues Christmas by Putumayo Presents; World Christmas Party, also by Putumayo Presents; And Winter Came by Enya; Celtic Thunder’s Celtic Thunder Christmas and A Six Degrees Collection: Christmas Remixed – Holiday Classics Re-Grooved with various artists.
There’s also the Anthology of Moravian Folk Music Advent and Christmas Holidays, a very nice 5-CD set with booklet. The Voices of Bulgaria Perunika Trio has put out A Bright Star Has Risen as some lovely fare for your holidays.
Now for some fun stuff. There’s a saying about “a little something for everybody,” well, we got a whole lot for just about any music student, music teacher or music lover. Whether it’s the Music Lover’s Pen, the Well Noted Over the Door Hanger, Piano Key Chain or the Kikkerland Make Your Own Music Box Kit, there’s a whole heap of gifts looking for a stocking to stuff or a gift box to fill. Here’s a few that might strike the fancy of the music obsessed person on your list.
Greetings Card Sheet Music In San Domingo– These retro, beautifully handcrafted inked cards sport various old song book covers and would make a very nice framed collection.
Stylophone Music Synthesizer or Stylophone Retro Pocket Synth – These hand-held synthesizers have been recently re-launched with volume control, headphone or amplifier socket or MP3 socket and pitch control. Every synthesizer freak in the world wants ones of these babies.
R & M Musical 7 Piece Cookie Cutter Set – Talk about cool cookies!
Vinyl Record Clock – Pick an artist like Frank Sinatra, Pink Floyd, Bob Dylan, The Rolling Stones or others and pick a recording and get that 12” vinyl record fashioned into a wall clock.
Painting of India Embossed Miniature Painting of Indian Music Instruments on Marble Plate – These are just too lovely.
Red Black Guitar Comforter Bedding Set Full/Queen – Hey, sometimes you’ve just got to dream with a musical inspiration.
DENY Designs Anderson Design Group Music City Shower Curtain, 69 by 72-Inch – I know this is really specific, but I did say something for everybody.
Carter’s 4 Piece Crib Bedding Set, Monkey Rockstar – This is just the cutest thing around, so if you know someone about to have baby’s first Christmas this is really good gift for the fun-loving parents.
There’s a boatload of musically inspired posters that if framed would make a nice gift. Here are some options:
Bob Marley “One Good Thing About Music“, Music Slim Poster Print, Woodstock (3 Days of Peace & Music, Red) Music Poster Print, Guitar Heaven Chart of Famous Guitars Music Poster Print, Plato Music Quote Art Print Poster, Bob Dylan Piano Music Poster Print, Old Guitarist Art Poster Print by Pablo Picasso, Guitar Chords Learn to Play Print Music Poster, Fender Stratocaster Diagram Music, 1934 Cordoba Playing Music Europe Travel Tourism Spain Vintage Poster Repro, Django Reinhardt Poster, Jazz Pioneer, Gypsy Guitarist.
Other artful goodies include Benzara’s Lets Rock Guitar Metal Art Décor Sculpture(), Ashton Sutton Musical Clef Wall Clock or the Saraswati – Hindu Goddess of Knowledge, Music & Art statue.
Gifts for children
If you’ve got kids or people who act like kids and need a device, game or puzzle to keep them occupied on your list you might want to peruse some of these gift ideas:
Drums Chalkboard Peel and Stick Wall Decal – What could be better if you’ve got little ones who love to draw on walls?
Melissa & Doug Band in a Box or Melissa & Doug Deluxe Band Set – These are great for getting the wee ones in the groove, but keep in mind you are going to be hearing these instruments for a long, long time.
LeapFrog Learn and Groove Music Wand – This might drive some parents crazy but what a great way to teach about tempo.
Ucreate Music – A very cool gift.
Multi Voice Changer by Toysmith. It allows you to change voice with 10 different voice modifiers. – Hey, I know my husband would play with one of these.
If game systems are on your list you might want to check out a few of these.
Music Box Sets and DVDS
Okay, let’s hit the shelves for some music box sets and DVDs.
First up is Return of the Stuff That Dreams Are Made Of, a follow-up to Stuff That Dreams Are Made Of. And oh boy, this two-CD set is worth its weight in gold with tracks like “Roll and Tumble Blues” by Hambone Willie Newburn, “The Panama Limited” by Washington (Bukka) White, “Mon Chere Bebe Creole” by Dennis McGee and Sady Courville, “Fort Smith Breakdown by Luke Hignight & His Ozark Strutters, “Sun To Sun Blues” by Blind Blake and “Some These Days I’ll Be Gone” by Charley Patton. Chocked with 46 tracks of some of America’s 1920s recorded gems, this is the stuff that any self-respecting music lover would crawl over broken glass to get.
The Tito Puente Quatro: The Definitive Collection box set boasts 5 digitally re-mastered CDs, photos, artwork and liner notes by author, curator and music historian Joe Conzo, Add to that another yummy collection – Etta James: The Complete Private Music Blues Rock N Soul Albums Collection is a 7-CD set of some of the very best of Ms. James and her recordings on the Private Music and RCA labels.
For reggae fans, there’s Reggae Golden Jubilee – Origins of Jamaican Music. This box set boasts “100 of the most significant hit songs to emerge from the first fifty years of Jamaican independence, handpicked by the former Jamaican Prime Minister, the Honorable Edward Seaga. Paul Simon’s Graceland 25th Anniversary Edition CD/DVD set is available this season, as is Turkish Tradition – Masterpieces of Culture.
A few classics you might have missed include Fela Vinyl Box Set #1, Africa – 50 Years Of Music by Blaireaux, Bob Marley’s Live Forever: The Stanley Theatre, Pittsburgh PA September 23, 1980 [Limited Edition Collector’s Box with “Highlights” CD + T-Shirt], Anthology – Traditional Sufi Qawwalis, 100 Beats: Arabica by Various Artists and finally the box set History of Indian Film Music by History of Indian Film Music.
Now for DVDs, music fans might like The Mountain Music Project: A Musical Odyssey from Appalachia to Himalaya with Tim O’Brien, Tony Trischka and Riley Baugus, or Celtic Thunder’s Heritage, Tenth Decade – Live in Escondido starring Ravi Shankar or Paco DeLuci & Group. There’s also Fela Kuti’s Fela Kuti: Teacher Don’t Teach Me Nonsense & Berliner Jazztage ’78.
Naxos Records has come out with a DVD collection called A Music Journey. With a whole host of countries to choose from, one can go from Russia/Ukraine/Uzbekistan to Germany to Southern Italy and Sicily to England to China to Madrid, La Mancha, Toledo or even take a scenic musical journey of Norway.
If books on your gift list World Music by Jesse Russell and Ronald Cohn or Guitar World The Best Instruction Book by Guitar World might just be a hit. There’s also Terry E. Miller and Andrew Shihriari’s World Music: A Global Journey in the paperback and CD set value pack or Rick Beyer’s The Greatest Music Stories Never Told: 100 Tales from Music History to Astonish, Bewilder, and Stupefy. With all sorts of genres, formats and artists available, music books or instructional guides might just be a clever addition to a CD or even a musical instrument.
Speaking of musical instruments, this just might be the year that you give the gift that keeps on giving by presenting that special person in your life a lovely musical instrument. You might even put one on your own wish list, finally fulfilling that lifelong desire to learn to play an instrument.
With a plethora of styles and starter kits out there, giving a musical instrument is easy. There’s Alfred’s Kid’s Guitar Course, Complete Starter Pack or for the more seasoned player on your list there is Fender Starcaster Natural Acoustic Guitar Kit, Fender Starcaster Strat Electric Guitar Starter Pack, Full sized Black Guitar with Amp, Case and Accessories Pack Beginner Starter Package and the Lauren LA30N 30-inch Student Guitar just for starters. For the even more advanced and the very special people on your list there is the Antonio Hermosa AJ-15 Flamenco Guitar or the Cordoba 55 FCE Thin Body Flamenco Acoustic-Electric Guitar with Humicase.
Guitars aren’t your thing? Well, there are percussion sets, cajones, bongos, harmonicas, ukuleles, tin whistles, violins, jaw harps, kazoos, ocarinas, bamboo flutes, banjos, thumb pianos, sitars and even didgeridoos. Look at this way, learning to play an instrument will help the little people in your life with math, science and patience skills and help the somewhat older people in your life make it through the long winter and enrich their lives. Hey, maybe you can team up with another gift giver and offer a set of lessons to go along with the instrument.
Here are some of our favorites in the electronics department:
iPods and MP3s come in all sizes and capacities. This year you can choose an Apple product or a host of other MP3 players that fit just about every budget.
Here are some of the headphones we like. Remember these should come with a warning about volume level and hearing loss for younger users.
For those with a sizable vinyl collection or for those looking to go back to the good old turntable, here are a few options.
Here’s just a few more, clever little gift ideas:
Finally, don’t forget to give to those who need this season. Our favorite charities include VH–1’s Save the Music and the Music Maker Foundation, but donating an old unused instrument to your local school’s music department or local community center will go a long way to preserving the music you love and bring some real joy to someone who could use the help.
Have you turned into a parking space stalker at the mall? You know the ones who creep along at two miles-per-hour down a long aisle of cars behind a woman with three children who are running in three different directions, in the hopes of getting a parking spot, only to be thwarted at the last minute as the woman slips in between cars to the opposite aisle?
Perhaps you’ve survived the parking lot gauntlet and actually made it inside an overheated store to wander among the racks of rumpled, picked-through sweaters or last year’s DVD releases along with packs of unruly teenagers, frazzled sales help and a wayward toddler with sticky fingers and a croupy cough who wants to touch you.Have you found yourself mulling over the right gifts for the right people while changing the lyrics to “I Saw Mommy Kissing Santa Claus” to “I saw Mommy pushing Santa Claus under Mack truck last night,” and at the same time wishing there were some alternatives to the same old thing?
Well, that’s where the first World Music Central Gift Giving Guide comes to the rescue. Whether you’re a faithful visitor to our site or a newcomer, we’re ready with some simple, sane, and sometimes out-of-the-ordinary, gift ideas for this season.
Let’s start with some editor’s picks. For weeks now, we’ve nagged our editor-in-chief and some of our regular writers to come up with the top ten (or eleven) picks for the year and here they are:
Dave Atkin, thePhatPlanet Ltd
1. Nitin Sawhney – Philtre
2. Yat-Kha – Re-covers
3. Amadou & Mariam with Manu Chao – Dimanche a Bamako
4. Emmanuel Jal & Abdel Gadir Salim – Ceasefire
5. Souad Massi – Mesk Elil (Honeysuckle)
6. Geraldo Pino & the Heartbeats – Heavy Heavy Heavy (re-issue)
7. Eliza Carthy & the Ratcatchers – Rough Music
8. Iarla O’Lionaird – Invisible Fields
9. Djelimady Tounkara – Solon kono
10. Various artists – Golden Afrique 2
11. Kiran Ahluwalia – Kiran Ahluwalia
Patty-Lynne Herlevi, Cranky Crow World Music
1. Earl Ray – Traditional Songs of the Salt River Pima, Canyon Records
2. Alex E. Smith & Cheever Toppah – Intonation, Canyon Records
3. Debashish Bhattacharya – Calcutta Slide-Guitar, Vol. 3, Riverboat Records/World Network
4. Joseph Fire Crow – Red Beads, Makoche
5. Baka Beyond – Rhythm Tree, March Hare Music
6. Badi Assad – Verde, Edge Music
7. Le Vent Du Nord – Les Amants Du Saint-Laurent, Borealis Records
8. Savina Yannatou – Sumiglia, ECM
9. Pedro Luis Ferrer – Rustico, Escondida
10. Kiran Ahluwalia – Kiran Ahluwalia, Triloka/Artemis Records
11. Ronu Majumdar – A Sacred Space, Sense World Music
1. The Rough Guide to the Music of the Andes: Bolivia
2. The Rough Guide to Astor Piazzolla
Angel Romero, Editor-in-chief – World Music Central:
1. Shooglenifty – Radical Mestizo (Compass Records 744092, 2005)
2. Anoushka Shankar – Rise (Angel Records/EMI, 2005)
3. Various Artists – Cuba le canta a Serrat (Discmedi-Blau, 2005)
4. Ali Farka Touré and Toumani Diabaté – In the Heart of the Moon (Nonesuch/World Circuit Records, 2005)
5. César López y Habana Ensemble – Todo Incluido (Latin World Productions/Universal Music Latino 851 720 001-2, 2005)
6. Mártires del Compás – No Papers /Sin Papeles (World Village, 2005)
7. Djoss Diabaté – Haklima (Goin’ Native, 2005)
8. Celia Cruz – A Rough Guide to Celia Cruz (World Music Network RGNET 1150 CD, 2005)
9. Trans-Global Underground – Impossible Broadcasting (Europe: Mule Satellite Records MUL01, 2004 / US: Triloka Records TRI-CD-82054, 2005)
10. Oliver Mtukudzi – Nhava (Heads Up International HUCD 3102, 2005)
Perhaps you’re looking for a gift that keeps on giving. How about the CD Putumayo Presents: New Orleans or Mississippi Blues. Putumayo World Music is donating the proceeds of both CDs to the relief efforts of Hurricane Katrina victims.
For that person who has everything, a donation made in their name to a charitable organization that needs our help is truly the gift that keeps on giving. Music For Change is an international organization based in Britain, whose mission is to promote cultural diversity worldwide through music. They do some great stuff for kids. There is also Free Muse who champions the cause of all censored artists around the world. Finally, there’s Music Maker Relief Foundation. Music Maker is a relief organization for forgotten blues musicians who need food, shelter and medical care. Music Maker also has a fund for New Orleans musicians. Their Music Maker Treasure box is a three CD set boasting “an anthology of the greatest hidden purveyors of roots music in the south featuring blues from the early years of last century, electric blues, R&B, Indian music, old-time country, singer-song writer, folk, jazz and spoken poetry,” and a great gift.
Thinking outside the box, how about a musical instrument? I know what you’re thinking. You’re thinking about a squeaky rendition of “Greensleeves” on a black, plastic recorder. Yeah, but how cool would “Greensleeves” sound on, say, an Irish tin whistle or a harmonica? You can get one from Amazon.com for less twenty bucks! You can even replace that old black recorder for less than $20. New or used, there are some great bargains out there. You can play along with your favorite CD or with your friends on a jaw harp, djembe drum, a bongos set, a kalimba or even used guitar or violin for not much money. Checking the classified sections or local music stores can save you some money on new and used musical instruments. So why not put some music back in your life and add a kazoo or pan flute on your Christmas wish list?
Don’t forget to look ahead at the great music festivals or concerts coming up like globalFEST just around the corner in January in New York City. There’s also the Barbados Jazz Festival 2006. January in Barbados – does it get any better than that? Ireland ‘s Téada is traveling with Cathie Ryan, Gráinne Hambly and Tommy Martin for an Irish Christmas in America during December. Dinner and a concert might just be the remedy for the Christmas curmudgeon on your list. But if you’re planning a winter vacation, check out the local concerts before you book your tickets.
How about some dance classes? Check out your local dance studios for some salsa or tango classes. January can be a long, cold, bitter month, so why not spice it for you and your mate or maybe your lonely Aunt Lola. There’s a wide range of classes out there from flamenco to belly dancing. Not only do you get to meet some new people, have something to do on a Thursday night, but it’s also a good way to shake off the holiday pounds.
Now Christmas wouldn’t be Christmas without children. Here are a few suggestions for the wee ones. Putumayo World Music had put out a great set called Latin Playground Activity Kit. It comes with a passport journal, a CD and bunch of cool activities for kids to learn about Central and South America. Not only can they cut and color while dancing to the “Mardi Gras Mambo,” but they can learn something. The activity book is printed in both English and Spanish. Rounder Kids has put out Twice as Many Friends / El doble de amigos by Sol y Canto,” a bilingual CD for kids. On Panamusic there’s a Spanish song CD called Un Mundo, Muchas Voces.
There are loads of DVD concerts available and might be just the thing for getting the kids connected with their heritage or cultures around the world. Ladysmith Black Mambazo, with their unique sound and dances, has several DVD releases and would be lively enough for children and adults.
Don’t forget that musical instruments or music lessons make great gifts for kids. Target has a lap harp, ukulele, Band in a Box set, kid’s accordion, bongo drums and children’s guitars, all for under $50. Learning to play an instrument will get them out from in front of the television and could help improve their math skills.
Salsa or flamenco classes might also be the answer for that shy teen in your family, but you should check with parents first. Other dance classes for children might be found at your local arts council, so be sure to take a look at their schedules. Often there are local world music dance troops that offer classes or tours that come along that would be fascinating and world-friendly for children. Don’t be shy about calling up and asking for at least a peek for you and your children; a number of world music dance or music companies are eager to educate and open up their door to a new audience.
We came up with this guide to help you come up with a few alternatives to the standard set of slippers or the nose-hair trimmer. Please feel free to share any of your world music gift ideas with us for the countdown to Christmas and we’ll pass them on to our worldwide community. 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……