Monday, December 03, 2012

25 Days of Holiday Music: Day 3

Our third holiday offering comes from one of my favorite singer-songwriters, Vienna Teng. Initially a successful software engineer in Silicon Valley who dabbled in music as a hobby (if someone who has studied classical piano since she was five years old could be considered a "dabbler"), she gave up her lucrative career in technology to pursue her passion. The move has paid off with a pair of critically acclaimed independent albums that feature her "chamber-folk" style.

I first heard of Vienna Teng, whose birth name is Cynthia Yih Shih, when she opened for Jonatha Brooke at the Sellersville Theater a few years ago. At that time, she provided her own accompaniment on an electronic keyboard. I was so impressed with her that I purchased tickets when she returned as a headliner. For that April 2007 show, her sound was augmented by a cellist, violinist, and percussionist (this latter musician being Alex Wong, a master on the Cuban box drum known as a Cajón). I have been a fan of her music ever since.

Vienna has not released a collection of holiday music. However, on Warm Strangers (2004), her second album,  she has a song that so completely captures the tone and spirit of this time of year, I have to share it with you. So today's song is "The Atheist's Christmas Carol." Now, do not let the title mislead you. This tune is not an anti-religious screed. Rather, it is a beautiful summation of the pure potentiality of each and every holiday that claims the Winter Solstice as its time of observance. Here is a video of Vienna performing the song live at THE LIVING ROOM in NYC (I've included the lyrics below the video):

The Atheist's Christmas Carol

It’s the season of grace coming out of the void
Where a man is saved by a voice in the distance
It’s the season of possible miracle cures
Where hope is currency and death is not the last unknown
Where time begins to fade
And age is welcome home

It’s the season of eyes meeting over the noise
And holding fast with sharp realization
It’s the season of cold making warmth a divine intervention
You are safe here you know now

Don’t forget
Don’t forget I love
I love
I love you

It’s the season of scars and of wounds in the heart
Of feeling the full weight of our burdens
It’s the season of bowing our heads in the wind
And knowing we are not alone in fear
Not alone in the dark

Don’t forget
Don’t forget I love
I love
I love you

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