'Tis The Tiny Season: Our 5 Favorite Holiday Tiny Desk Concerts

Dec 23, 2019
Originally published on December 23, 2019 8:09 am

If music has a transportive power, able to send us back in time with a just a few notes, then no type is as powerful as the holiday variety.

This may be why I am a holiday music curmudgeon. For several decades on this planet, my musical Christmas list hasn't budged: I want jazz, the '40s/'50s standards and ambitious '80s originals. Essentially, I want all the songs I grew up with, when the warmth of the recording was the only thing fending off the cold pressing in from the windows — no covers or new originals, please.

But this year, my tiny (desk) heart has grown three sizes. In a season so viscerally connected to childhood, perhaps part of growing up is creating new traditions and celebrating togetherness with friends and with family. In our favorite holiday Tiny Desk concerts, we have a bit of all of that.

Family bands Hanson and The Oh Hellos make me optimistic about locking myself in a house with my siblings (and make me rethink whether I put enough effort into my decorations this year); Sharon Jones & The Dap-Kings bring some much needed jazz and funk (including tongue-in cheek "Big Bulbs," the 21st century's response to "Silver Bells,"); The Polyphonic Spree assures me it's not Christmas until I gather 15 of my closest friends and belt out the classics; "If you don't need therapy before Christmas — hang on," Amy Grant jokes. "You're going to need it after!" In the meantime, let this merry playlist of Tiny Desk concert holiday performances (yule)tide you over.


Tiny Desks In This Playlist

Copyright 2020 NPR. To see more, visit https://www.npr.org.