Sounds of the Holidays CD cover

2006 Detroit Music Awards Winner

“This CD developed over several holiday seasons,” says Rich K. “Every year we’ve added a few new unique arrangements to our book; then people started asking if there was a recording. We finally listened, and enjoyed a lot of holiday fun in the studio in August as we recorded it.”

See PDF of Martin Bandyke Detroit Free Press review.

About the songs on this CD

“The First Noel”: This traditional English Christmas carol dates back to the 16th century. In samba style, it features the melody on fretless bass with improvisation on congas, drum kit and guitar.

“Jesu, Joy of Man’s Desiring”: Written by J.S. Bach in 1723, this arrangement in choro style presents an ensemble of cavaquinho, 6- and 7-string guitars, bass guitar, surdo drum, pandeiro and multi-tracked acoustic bass choir.

Chanuka Medley (hear clip): “The Chanuka Song” commemorates the 8-day Festival of Lights that takes place every December. It is featured in the 1959 movie version of The Diary of Ann Frank. “I Have a Little Dredl” is a children’s song about a holiday game played with a 4-sided top called a dreydl. The medley is played as a samba featuring the African cuíca.

“Happy, Happy Kwanzaa” (hear clip): Taking place from December 26 to January 1, Kwanzaa is a holiday observance honoring the African-American heritage. This arrangement is performed in the Afro-Brazilian pop style and features a 10-stringedguitar known as a violão caipira.

“Carol of the Bells”: This Ukrainian carol is based on an old Slavic legend. The bells in this version are supplied by a choir of cavaquinhos: three 4-string cavaquinhos and a 5-string cavaquinho.

“Winter Wonderland” (hear clip): Everyone knows this popular American holiday song, but this a baião-style rendering delivers the melody on 7-string guitar with accompaniment by go-go bells and triangle.

“We Three Kings”: Written for a Christmas pageant at the General Theological Seminary in New York City in 1857, this treatment sets the first melody in an Afro-samba style, with the second melody arranged in the style of a Bach chorale.

“Have Yourself a Merry Little Christmas”: Made famous by Judy Garland in the 1944 film Meet Me in St. Louis, this arrangement features a bowed acoustic bass melody and 7-string guitar solo.

Drummer/Dancer Medley: Accompanied by cavaquinho and 7-string guitar, this medley features a Brazilian “batucada” percussion throughout. Beginning with the holiday classic “Little Drummer Boy,” it concludes with “Dance of the Sugar Plum Fairies” from Tchaikovsky’s ver-popular Nutcracker Christmas ballet.

“Lullaby” (Lulajze Jezuniu): One of the most beloved “Koledy” Polish Christmas carols, Chopin used this beautiful melody in his Scherzo in B minor, Opus 20. Accompanied by two cavaquinhos and 7-string guitar the melody of this choro-style arrangement is played on a hundred-year-old mandolin that is a Kowalewski family heirloom.


Rich K: Cavaquinho, double bass, fretted and fretless 6-string basses, mandolin

Frank Marinello: 6-, 7- and 10-string guitars

Dennis Sheridan: Pandeiro, surdo drum, tam-tam, tamborim and others

Rob Emanuel: Drum kit and auxiliary Brazilian percussion instruments

Ken Braun: Cavaquinho, percussion, guitar

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