All cultures and religions have their own rituals, celebrations, and holidays. Longtime children’s musician Katherine Dines and her Hunk-Ta Bunk-Ta Band honor life’s traditions with their latest release, “Hunk-Ta Bunk-Ta Holidays: Stories and Songs that Celebrate Global Light.”
The album’s concept goes deeper than a Christmas song here and a Kwanzaa song there. Katherine and crew give a little background before every song, with surprise, mostly original material, some adapted from other sources (all credited in the liner notes and booklet). Katherine has traveled around the world and has listened to traditional music wherever she’s been. The 13 tracks on Hunk-Ta Bunk-Ta Holidays” present an atlas through children’s music.
“Light Rises Over Darkness (Diwali)” gives insight into the celebrations of the Hindu culture. “Stars” and “Eight Little Candles in a Window” tell the story of Hanukkah. “The Friendly Beasts” is all about the animals in the manger as well as the ones who traveled to Bethlehem with gifts for the newborn Jesus. “The Sun Will Rise” discusses the Muslim tradition of Ramadan, with no eating from dawn to dusk. “Kwanzaa!” is about buying used cars. Wait a second – it’s about what else? The song describes many of the terms behind the African-American holiday, such as “KiSawahili,” for family, community, and history.
I’m just giving brush strokes here, but also a caution. If you want to save some songs from “Hunk-Ta Bunk-Ta Holidays.” without the introductions, you’re going to need to editing software to snip those segments – they are embedded into each track. Otherwise, hunker down in your home and have a heaping helping of holiday cheer with the Hunk-Ta Bunk-Ta Band.
Here is the video for the band’s song, “Light Rises Over Darkness”: