Kamilah Taylor
To ring in 2011, I have my last holiday themed post. Kenny G. Regina Spektor. Pink Martini. Byron Lee & The Dragonnaires. Salsa Celtica.

Auld Lang Syne loosely translates to for the sake of old times. The song basically reminds us that we should remember old friendships. It's fitting that this is the song that has become associated with celebrating a new year beginning.

I admit, I'm not the biggest Kenny G fan, but I really love what he did with Auld Lang Syne (The Millenium Mix). He's mixed in samples from news clips from the millenium, and starts off with the first words ever recorded on a phonograph. Moments like that, man landing on the moon, Martin Luther King saying "I have a dream", news that Martin Luther King was shot, Acquired Immuned Deficiency Syndrome, "You've Got Mail", they remind you of how much we went through. I remember listening to this actually in 2000, and 10 years later it's just as poignant. It is of course a little US-centric, but so much of this affected even those of us outside of the US.

Regina Spektor's My Dear Acquaintance (A Happy New Year) is light and retrospective. She has this lovely ability to be quirky at times and serious at others.

Of course while it's nice to be retrospective as a year draws to a close, it's also great to party, new year, new slate. Pink Martini's Auld Lang Syne starts off my partying section with a good samba beat and lyrics in English, Arabic and French. This is from one of my brand new discoveries and what's shaping up to be one of my favorite holiday albums. As brawta (extra), I've included another New Year song from the album at the end of my playlist, Congratulations - A Happy New Year Song.

For a Jamaican version, I turn to Byron Lee once more for a very authentic not often played Auld Lang Syne. Interestingly, in the song the beat changes from a reggae beat to more of a mento beat. This song is very unusual, it really is a pity the Jamaican radio stations don't play it more often.

Finally, for just partying, Salsa Celtica as always brings both a Celtic and salsa vibe to Auld Lang Syne. The first two minutes or so are slow and lovely, reflective, very Irish with just the hint of a latin flair - and then the celebration starts and the horns wail. You really have to listen to this, I absolutely love this version. I thank the British film Driving Lessons for introducing me to the music of Salsa Celtica.

It's been quite a year! I've had some ups and downs, lost some very dear friends along the way, got my second degree, and started my first real job. I have to say, I'm ready for 2011 - bring it on!
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