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The holidays, as we so loving call the months from October to January, are not just about one day for one culture, according to Lucy Kalantari, it's that nostalgic time of year full of memory making. As the singer/songwriter and bandleader of Lucy Kalantari and the Jazz Cats, Lucy's music has always focused on finding the joy in simple things. She continues to explore that theme on her latest album, It's the Holidays, which celebrates the festivities as well as family.
It's the Holidays, starts with a Halloween song called "My Mommy is a Mummy" which is a fanciful upbeat song inspired by the melody for "the mummy dance". Then the album takes us on a musical and magical journey through Thanksgiving, then winter, and then Hanukkah, Christmas, and Kwanzaa with the multicultural title track, "It's the Holidays". The album wraps with "Its's a Wrap", a song which commemorates the end of one year while welcoming something new.
Lucy will be spreading more holiday cheer later this year at a kids New Years Jazz Brunch in Industry City. Presented by the Rock and Roll Playhouse, these family dance parties are a perfect way to usher in the new year.
A holiday album to celebrate the holiday season. Very unique. What do the holidays mean to you and your family?
For us, the holidays mean getting dressed up. Decorating. Cooking a whole lot. Seeing family both near and far. More cooking. Baking LOTS of cookies. Snow! Baking more cookies so we have enough to give to all who come by–from delivery folks to friends. And another thing that’s not tangible, but is felt everywhere: Joy! During this time, when I look around my neighborhood, go shopping, or just go for a walk, I notice that many people are a little bit more willing to say hello–which in NYC is saying a lot. There are so many people celebrating different things around the same time, and even if it’s not our holiday, we feel compelled to take part in that joy. It’s contagious! I wanted to make an album that would capture that love and joy we feel during this season.
Check out Grateful by Lucy Kalantari and the Jazz Cats
Do you have a favorite track? If so, why?
Each song holds a special place in my heart, and each has its own story in which I explore something new in my songwriting and arranging adventures. But if I had to pick a favorite, it would have to be “It’s Snowing” (“My Mommy Is a Mummy” is a close 2nd!) It’s rare for me to go back and listen to my own songs once I’m done with the work, but I kept coming back to this one. I love the excitement it makes me feel and how much it captured the thrill I sing of. If someone else had written this song, I would’ve loved it. So it’s humbling to hear it, and think, “Wow, I made this!”
We hear you are involved in Sprout House on Universal Kids. Tell us more about that.
I’m excited to be part of Universal Kids’ new programming block, Sprout House! Universal Kids had recently rebranded from Sprout Network, and wanted to spice up their morning block for their youngest viewers by adding musical interludes. I had been in the middle of translating my song, “Fantastic” to spanish when they contacted me, and it gave me incentive to finish it. We wound up cutting a music video of a bilingual version of “Fantastic” and it was so much fun! We also made videos for “Big Things” and “Lovely.” I love that they requested we do “Lovely”. It’s not a song I perform live often, but love to sing. I’m so happy to have the opportunity to reach a larger audience to spread joy to.
How long have you been making music?
I was 9-years-old when I stepped on stage at my school auditorium to sing, “I believe the children are our future…” It appears that younger me knew what older me would be doing later in life.
This is your 3rd kids album. What inspires you to continue making music for kids?
Joy. Love. My son. I’ve been making music almost my whole life, and nothing has felt as right as making music for kids and families. I get to bring out my love for the cartoon-like silliness I grew up with, and unabashedly write tunes inspired by my adventures as mother, while viewing the world through the eyes of my son. I loved being around younger children even as a child myself, and the desire to enrich their lives with music feels completely natural. Children are a product of their environment, and it’s an honor to have a small part of their formation into adulthood.
You can purchase and listen to It's The Holidays at itunes, amazon and at lucykalantari.com