Multicultural Christmas album brings hope

Multicultural Christmas album brings hope

Uniting Church minister Rev. Radhika Sukumar-White is one of several artists featured on a new multi-lingual Christmas album.

The Sounds of Christmas from Asia Pacific is an album recorded during Sydney’s lockdown. It draws on artists from a wide variety of backgrounds and styles.

The eight local Sydney vocalists include Kiarateuila Lattimore, Peter Lazaro, Jinky Marsh, Kumi Matsuda, Loma Schaaf, Radhika Sukumar-White, Ruci Tuiwai, and Cynthia Su. The project is also supported by a multicultural team of producers, Kevin Bathman and Benjamin Oh, musicians, Jeremy Koay and Grace Song, audio engineer, Karna K. and illustrator, Freda Chiu.

The project was developed and conceptualised by producersKevin Bathman and Benjamin Oh who said that, “Christmas is marked as both a religious as well as a secular end of year celebration.”

“Many people take this time as a stretch of the end of year public holidays to relax, reflect, leisure and celebrate with their loved ones and community. For some, Christmas is also a difficult and lonely time, especially for those who are culturally minoritised, those being marginalised for who they are, or separated from their loved ones or community because of their being in this city and country.”

The Sounds of Christmas from Asia Pacific album hopes to reach out to them, reminding them that diverse Sydneysiders are an inclusive and affirming community that welcomes them. That regardless of who they are, they matter and that our community embraces you. Through these familiar tunes yet different renditions and multi-languages, we hope to bring them a new perspective and sense of hope and homeliness in Sydney.”

“As part of the Christmas celebration, many people look forward to the annual Christmas carols – either on the TV, radio or the door-to-door carollers. We found that most Christmas Carols in Australia are traditionally sung in English. Inspired by Putumayo World Music, a New Orleans-based record label that specialises in world music, we wanted to showcase the diverse communities in Sydney by adding a multicultural and multilingual aspect to these classic songs.”

“As part of the Christmas celebration, many people look forward to the annual Christmas carols – either on the TV, radio or the door-to-door carollers. We found that most Christmas Carols in Australia are traditionally sung in English. Inspired by Putumayo World Music, a New Orleans-based record label that specialises in world music, we wanted to showcase the diverse communities in Sydney by adding a multicultural and multilingual aspect to these classic songs.”

“We encourage people to purchase and support the album, 50 percent of profits raised from the sale of the CD album will go towards seeding funds for the next album; 25 percent will go to support Mudgin-gal Women’s Place, an Aboriginal Women-led organisation that provides vital services for vulnerable women in the Sydney community; and 25 percent will go to support The House of Welcome that welcomes, shelters, and empowers people seeking asylum and refugees, regardless of their age, gender, sexuality, nationality, or religion.”

“The album sought to have language representation from across Asia and the Pacific, so I’m honoured to represent South Asia by singing a beloved Christmas carol in Tamil, the language of northern Sri Lanka and south India,” Rev. Sukumar-White said.

“I think language is a key element of multiculturalism and cross-cultural work – humbling our ears to hear voices, prayers and songs in languages we are unfamiliar with. I hope this album will be a blessing to everyone that purchases and listens to it!”

For more information, visit the project website.

The album is now available to stream on Spotify and Apple Music.

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