In our final Holiday Spirit collection for 2022, we celebrate the solstice with an ode to winter. OK, maybe not all the pieces played here are directly related to the season, but they’ve all got the spirit of it, and that’s what counts here! Check out these five wonderful performances, including one semi-original, semi-eerie twist on a beloved holiday classic.
‘Krampus is Koming,’ by Heidi Swerberg and Daniel Ward
“Today is Krampus Day,” Heidi Swedberg says ominously. Thus begins the “(somewhat) original” song, loosely based on “Santa Claus is Coming to Town,” sung by her with ukulele accompaniment by Daniel Ward. Her acting skills shine in this performance, with evil laughs that give off serious Nightmare Before Christmas vibes. The silly sound effects (noisemaker, slide whistle, duck call, etc.) keep things light enough, but it’s still quite eerie. If you’re familiar with the legend of Krampus, you may agree that this nails the tone of that terrifying story. If not, don’t read this with the lights out and nobody home. Christmas (and Krampusnacht, Dec. 5) may be over, but he’s watching you year-round…
‘Winter’ from Vilvaldi’s Four Seasons, by Samantha Muir
This staple of classical repertoire from Vivaldi’s Four Seasons suite was arranged for solo ukulele by Tony Mizen and can be found in his book The Baroque Ukulele. It’s played expertly here by Samantha Muir, author of several ukulele books herself. She was able to get a great-sounding recording in a home kitchen that captures the wide ranging dynamics of this short, beautiful performance. Peaceful like gently falling snowflakes outside the window from a hearth-warmed home, it makes one want to curl up with a cup of hot tea and listen to a whole album of soothing classical ukulele music.
‘Silent Night,’ by Ukulenny
Keeping the tranquil feeling going here is Ukulenny with his soulful chord-melody rendition of “Silent Night.” As an instrumental, this feels right at home even after Christmas. It’s short, sweet, and tastefully played—downright cheery even. And those lights wrapped around his Kala uke add some nice atmosphere.
Upping the tempo is Andrew Molina with this blistering performance “Trepak (Russian Dance)” from Tchaikovsky’s Nutcracker Suite. This is a tricky arrangement at any speed, let alone the Warp-9 pace Molina sets here. Yes, he’s a virtuoso player, but it looks like this is a tough one even for him. And this is all one take, so there’s no fancy editing here. Nice work!
Bonus: Vivaldi’s ‘Winter’ by the Langley Ukulele Association
As a bonus, here’s another arrangement of Vivaldi’s “Winter” from the Four Seasons. This one comes from a performance by members of the Langley Ukulele Association’s Senior A Ensemble in 2021. Check out the individual solos by these four young students! It sounds like they’ve got a bright musical future ahead of them. This arrangement for four ukes is delightful—more Seasons for uke, please!