Just like that, it’s that time again, where the holiday season is upon us and the mad scrambles down store aisles to find just the right gifts for friends and loved ones commences. It’s a yearly ritual that always seems to come sooner than later. It’s also a sign that the year is coming to a close, and of course there’s no question that 2016 will remain in memory and history as one of the most turbulent, challenging, and painful times ever seen. It is for that reason that the holiday time should hold even extra special positive emotional weight, as community and solidarity run high among people during this time, acting as sort of metaphoric concrete that fills in the gaps that division among many created. And music too, is an eternal, external, and ultimately internal healing agent for the soul, regardless if times are happy or sad, joyous or maudlin. Music also reflects those aforementioned emotions and more. Here’s some of the best released this past year that will for sure excite even the most hardened by the whirlwind of the times and warm someone’s soul like kindling a hearth on the coldest December nights.
Check out our 2016 Holiday Geek Gift Guide for Music…
This year, The Rolling Stones set a milestone as they celebrated their 50th anniversary. Now, another milestone gets set as it’s charismatic front man Mick Jagger celebrates his 70th birthday today.
Forty years ago, if you asked anyone, probably the band included, if the Stones, let alone Jagger, would still be performing in 2013, most people would have shook their collective heads in disbelief. In 1973, to imagine having not only that staying power, but the wherewithal and organic propensity to even WANT to continue playing rock and roll in what seems like an unofficial young man’s game, would have been scoffed at. But it’s precisely and exactly that which has happened, and from the looks of the success of the tour that just recently had a stint at London’s famed Hyde Park, in front of 65,000 plus adoring fans, there seems to be no sign of letting up.
Ravi Shankar, who in essence almost singlehandedly brought Eastern “raga” music to the American shores and wound up influencing scores of famous musicians and bands, The Rolling Stones and The Beatles to name two, passed away in San Diego, CA, on December 11, 2012, reports The New York Times. He was 92. Shankar had suffered from heart ailments and underwent heart valve replacement surgery it was reported in a statement released by Shankar’s family.
Excelling on the sitar, an eclectic string instrument in which neighboring strings on the neck in essence resonate when a melody string is played, gave off a sound that was instantaneously connected with Shankar’s style and musical language. Shankar played like an extension of his personality, soft spoken, well mannered, respectful, yet with an attitude and a verve almost akin to a Jimi Hendrix.
Lots of sonic platters of joy are ready to be served up this holiday season, and what better gift to give someone than the universal appeal of music? During this festive time, when credit card debts mount up, layaway plans become way too unmanageable, and the stress of owing money takes charge over one’s soul and wallet as the new year turns, it’s still worth the feeling one gets when one sees someone’s eyes light up when they tear the wrapping paper off a gift, positively effused with sincere delight at its contents. We all still do it, we all get by, we grumble as the new year rolls in, but it’s all worth it; gifts are cool, no doubt, gifts never go out of style, and the end result of giving someone a gift makes it all worth it. Music was no exception this year. There were some great collections for one to gnaw on, collections which run every genre and will turn even the most hard hardened curmudgeon of a Scrooge into the softest teddy bear imaginable, even if it’s only for one holiday. My holiday box set picks are below, this one goes to eleven: