It’s Christmas in the islands. Feliz Navidad from the Dominican Republic! Our ex-pat home is celebrating Orphan Christmas with a few friends under the watchful eye of the Christmas tree llama.
I first witnessed Christmas in the islands while living in Jamaica in 2006. I was back in the States for the actual day but spent Advent and the ensuing Christmas season there.
Continuing with our relatively new tradition, I’ve put together another mixtape for Ray Ray, the fourth such present. Hence the name above. I’ve been fortunate to come across some great tunes lately but am also taking the opportunity to reach back to material that never goes out of style. I’m even setting the Way Back Machine to the 50s for a ditty my parents introduced to me and that always puts a smile on my face.
One of my personal all-time favorite songs, Man In a Suitcase, makes it on this one. It’s by my all-time favorite band, and has become a personal anthem in recent years. I’m spending so much time in the Miami airport I can tell you which Duty Free shops sell which piece of swag (hint: they’re not all identical.)
Also, pay attention to the seventh track, Fam Jam. Shad has been around for a few years now, but I’ve only recently been introduced to him. He’s a voice you should pay attention to. Lyrics on Fam Jam take on a bit more of a poignant tone, especially when we’re living in a country whose neighbors come here for a better life and are treated like third-class citizens. (I’m talking about the DR and Haiti, but it works back home too.)
And in this Christmas season, let’s remember the Holy Family were refugees and immigrants for a time. I know that’s a heavier thought during a festive time of year, but a little awareness goes a long way toward keeping perspective.
Capital Cities – Safe and Sound
Ernie K. Doe – Mother-in-Law
George Harrison – What Is Life?
Van Halen – Dance the Night Away
Fleetwood Mac – As Long As You Follow
Shad – Fam Jam (Fe Sum Immigrins)
The Police – Man In A Suitcase
Billy Bragg – Waiting For the Great Leap Forwards
Widower -- Oh Catherine
Otis Redding – That’s How Strong My Love Is
JD McPherson – Dimes for Nickels
Common Market – Connect For
Mike Doughty – Madeline and Nine
STRFKR – Atlantis
Los Campesinos -- What Death Leaves Behind
Augustines -- Cruel City
Capital Cities (w/ Fitz & the Tantrums) – Kangaroo League