By Simon Rentner, WBGO
One annual Checkout tradition is to pinpoint innovative takes on the holiday canon
This year we welcomed Martina DaSilva and Dan Chmielinski to deliver a lesser-known take of “Greensleeves,” a gorgeous selection from the Brazilian songbook, and a slick arrangement of the blockbuster hit “Last Christmas,” by Wham!
All of this music can be heard on A Very ChimyTina Christmas, a delightful new album featuring guest appearances by saxophonist Lucas Pino, guitarist Gabe Schnider and vibraphonist Joel Ross. For our studio session, DaSilva and Chmielinski enlisted guitarist Alex Wintz, who amusingly comments on the rich ways his Jewish heritage has added to the American Christmas tradition.
DaSilva, perhaps best known as the front woman for the Ladybugs, makes her songwriting debut with “Diamonds and Pearls,” partly inspired by Sex and the City and Jennifer Lopez.
In conversation, DaSilva and Chmielinski talk about their backgrounds as musical prodigies. They each hail from Catholic backgrounds. DaSilva, whose father hails from Rio de Jaineiro, Brazil, outlines the specific ways she celebrates the holidays: it includes a morning Pagodes, where her family engages in a samba drum circle, followed by going to a churrascaria steakhouse, and brimming glasses of caipirinhas (served with a twist of passionfruit).
Watch DaSilva and Chmielinski take on a unique version of “I’ll Know My Love (Greensleeves),” inspired from Beverly Kenney Sings for Johnny Smith (1955).