Welcome to AMERICAN MOSAIC in VOA Special English. I'm Bob Doughty.
As always, music makers released lots of new holiday albums this year. There are country, jazz, gospel and other kinds of holiday songs. Since it is Christmas today we thought we would take time to listen to some of the new offerings.
The biggest surprise came from this artist. Maybe you will recognize the voice.
Bob Dylan's album, "Christmas in the Heart," has many traditional Christmas songs. The video for the song "Must Be Santa" has been very popular on the Internet. Dylan is wearing false long hair and dancing around with a crowd of mostly younger people at a wild house party. It is all very strange. But it does seem merry. "Christmas in the Heart" is truly a gift, too. All of Dylan's profits from the album are going to aid organizations.
Also for charity is another release in the "Very Special Christmas" series. Two thousand nine marks the seventh recording in the series. It began in nineteen-eighty-seven to help the Special Olympics. Artists who took part this season include Colbie Caillat, Miley Cyrus and this country superstar, Carrie Underwood. She sings "Hark! The Herald Angels Sing."
The country band Sugarland released its first Christmas album this year called "Gold and Green." The band's two members, Kristian Bush and Jennifer Nettles, perform some traditional songs. They also co-wrote many new holiday songs too, like the title track.
Straight No Chaser is a famous men's singing group that began at Indiana University. Former members formed a professional group of the same name. Straight No Chaser is an acapella group which means the singers do not perform with any instrumental music. Their voices do all the work.
Straight No Chaser released "Christmas Cheers" in November. Here the men perform a funny piece called "The Christmas Can-Can."
Last month, the British musician Sting released "If on a Winter's Night ... " The album is filled with beautiful, old music from the British Isles. The recording is more about the winter season than a holiday. However, in "Christmas at Sea" Sting takes a haunting Robert Louis Stevenson poem and sets it to music.
"My Christmas" is Andrea Bocelli's new holiday album. The Italian singer invited many guest artists to perform on the recording. They include the Mormon Tabernacle Choir, the Muppets, and Mary J. Blige.
Here Andrea Bocelli and Natalie Cole sing "The Christmas Song," from "My Christmas."
Ayiesha Woods is a Christian musician originally from Long Island, New York. The singer-songwriter has won several gospel music awards and has released four albums. They include this year's holiday recording, "Christmas Like This." It was released last month. Here Ayiesha Woods performs "O Holy Night."
Neil Diamond is another American singer-songwriter. He has been a superstar in the music business for almost forty years. "A Cherry, Cherry, Christmas" is Diamond's third Christmas album. Diamond says his latest record let people experience the special feelings of Christmas year after year. One of those feelings might be the fun of a sleigh ride through the snow.
(MUSIC: "SLEIGH RIDE")
There is also a nice seasonal album out for jazz lovers. "Jazzy Brass for the Holidays" is the latest recording by jazz trumpet player Eddie Allen. Allen arranged all fourteen pieces on the recording. He also leads the four-member brass band, drummer and bass player.
We leave you with Eddie Allen and the band playing "Let it Snow! Let It Snow! Let It Snow!" from "Jazzy Brass for the Holidays."
I'm Bob Doughty. This program was written and produced by Caty Weaver.
Do you have a question about people, places or things in America? Send it to [email protected] and we may answer it on this show.
Join us again next week for AMERICAN MOSAIC, VOA's radio magazine in Special English.