Just in time for the Holidays, Katherine Dines, a Grammy-nominated independent family music artist, presents a wonderful new album of 13 songs and a collection of interesting stories and facts about how people around the world celebrate various holidays. Hunk-Ta-Bunk-Ta Holidays includes familiar celebrations like Thanksgiving, Hanukkah and Christmas, as well as Chinese New Year, Diwali, Kwanzaa and Ramadan. Dines wrote most of the songs, except for “Ramadan,” which is by educator-musician Nancy Stewart, and “Friendly Beasts,” which is based on a 12th century Latin hymn.
Evaluation comments from our Music Judge:
“Katherine Dines’ new CD is truly a gift for the holidays – and that is holidays, plural. On this globe-trotting set of tunes, she sings about a variety of holidays that involve celebrating some type of light (suns, candles, stars, etc.). The award-winning musician has studied anthropology and that is evident in her approach here. She sets up her songs with a brief illuminating story that helps to explain something about the holiday (do you how evergreen trees became a symbol for Christmas or that a monster named Nian is important to the Chinese New Year?). The holidays range from the familiar (Hanukah, Kwanzaa) to some less well-known to the general public (who knew that Zagmuth is the name of an early Mesopotamian spring festival?). Similarly, some songs that discuss a holiday rather literally (as in the tune “Ramadan”) while others hold a more figurative style (like “The Sun Will Rise,” about the Scandinavian holiday Jol). With “Hunk-Ta-Bunk-Ta Holidays,” Dines successfully accomplishes that tricky task of creating music that is informative, inclusive and entertaining. Quite fittingly, the closing track is entitled “Joy,” which describes the feeling that Dines’ music radiates on this festive album. “