LOS ANGELES – The all-female Belgian rock choir Scala & Kolacny Brothers delivers an alternative to the over-used holiday canon with DECEMBER, a collection that explores a selection of non-traditional holiday songs by The Pretenders, Smashing Pumpkins, Damien Rice, The Band, and Linkin Park, as well as two new original compositions. On November 13, Atco will release DECEMBER on CD ($13.98) and digitally ($9.99).
Hailed by NPR as “rock’s heavenly choir,” Scala & Kolacny enjoyed a memorable year leading up to DECEMBER that was highlighted by a tour which besides Europe and the U.S. went as far as South Korea, the release of its second album in the U.S. (It All Led To This), and even more of its songs used in television and films, including its chilling version of The Police’s “Every Breath You Take” currently heard in the trailer for Showtime’s Golden Globe®-winning drama Homeland and their iconic take on Radiohead’s “Creep” from the trailer to The Social Network.
With DECEMBER, the choir’s angelic voice not only celebrates the joys of season with Smashing Pumpkins’ “Christmastime,” but also commiserates with its sadness, opening on a melancholy note with Linkin Park proclaiming “This is my December, this is me alone” and Joni Mitchell wishing she “had a river I could skate away on.” Those tracks are joined by two upbeat contributions by pianist/composer Steven Kolacny and lyricist Jo Dawson, “Tears Can Sparkle Too” and “Sun-Kissed Snow.”
The album also includes Scala’s rendition of “Did I Make The Most Of Loving You,” the theme to the award-winning television series Downton Abbey, composed by Emmy® winner John Lunn. Scala have a long-standing relationship with Downton Abbey as their versions of “With Or Without You”, “Every Breath You Take” and ‘Perfect Day’ have been used in trailers for each of the Downton Abbey seasons.
“Amazing that such a delicate and moving song, sung so beautifully, could be created from the overtly grandiose and frenetic theme for Downton Abbey,” says Lunn.
For an interesting change of pace, vocalist and frequent collaborator, Filip Huyghebaerts is heard on several tracks like The Band’s “Christmas Must Be Tonight.” Other featured songs are Pearl Jam’s wistful “Let Me Sleep (It’s Christmas)”, Coldplay’s lovelorn “Christmas Lights” and Sufjan Stevens’ ironic “It’s Christmas! Let’s Be Glad!”
The idea for the album grew out of a concert that was to be broadcast on Christmas day last year in Germany. In search of interesting songs ideas, the group asked fans on its Facebook page to suggest their favorite alternative holiday gems. A couple of hours later, they had a list of over 140 songs and the roots of DECEMBER, says Steven Kolacny. “The shortlist of songs seemed perfect. They sounded heavenly but none of the songs was really well-known, which makes the CD even more surprising. Of course, the word ‘Christmas’ can be heard frequently, but not in cliché lyrics, which people usually hear at this time of the year. Most of the songs seem like a perfect sound track for December days…”
Led by Steven Kolacny and his brother, conductor Stijn Kolacny, Scala’s music has been featured on a diverse array of television shows including Downton Abbey, Covert Affairs, The Simpsons (twice!), Sons Of Anarchy, Desperate Housewives and Nikita.
1. “My December” — originally performed by Linkin Park
2. “Christmastime” — originally performed by Smashing Pumpkins
3. “Christmas Lights” — originally performed by Coldplay
4. “River” — originally performed by Joni Mitchell
5. “Christmas Must Be Tonight” — originally performed by The Band
6. “Let Me Sleep (It’s Christmas Time)” — originally performed by Pearl Jam
7. “2000 Miles” — originally performed by The Pretenders
8. “It’s Christmas! Let’s Be Glad” — originally performed by Sufjan Stevens
9. “Tears Can Sparkle Too” — Steven Kolacny
10. “Sun-Kissed Snow” — Steven Kolacny
11. “Wintersong” — originally performed by Sarah McLachlan
12. “Did I Make The Most Of Loving You” — John Lunn / Don Black
13. “Eskimo” — originally performed by Damien Rice
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