On Dec. 15, D.C.-based duo Astra Via released a music video for their latest holiday single, “A Christmas Spirit.” The festive, lighthearted piano-driven track pays homage to Charles Dickens’ “A Christmas Carol,” taking audiences on a journey to Christmas Past, Present, and Yet to Come.
Describing “A Christmas Spirit” as “a perfect song to spice up that tired old holiday party playlist,” Olivia Mancini (Olivia and the Mates, Washington Social Club) and Jarrett Nicolay (My New Mixtape, Virginia Coalition) have established an annual tradition of releasing a holiday song, which provides the duo with a welcome invitation and dedicated space to spend time in each other’s company.
“After years of being members of a band living in different cities, now that we’re both back in the D.C. area, our annual tradition provides a reliable opportunity to get together, collaborate, drink a few eggnogs, and create,” said Mancini. “A Christmas Spirit” follows last year’s single, “It’s A Prepper Christmas.”
“In the past, Christmas was poorer / Living on scraps from our employers, politicians, and the lawyers / But I feel the Christmas spirit for those I hold the dearest,” Mancini sings in the opening lines of “A Christmas Spirit” backed by warm doo-wop vocals.
In Christmas Past, any seeming deficiencies in terms of material possessions are ameliorated by an abundance of love and a sense of community. During these simpler times when all of your belongings could fit “in a single drawer,” the Christmas spirit was perhaps the most magical.
The track travels to Christmas Present next, a time when there are “so many presents in the present.” The accompanying music video finds our character in an elaborate costume, leading a press conference. Amazon and other giants make an appearance in the breaking news, and consumers – whose insatiable drive is compared to an adolescent – get immediate access to their cravings.
“A Christmas Spirit” uses dark humor to shine a light on consumerism that has increasingly eclipsed the holiday season. “I don’t want anything / I’m afraid of plastic, but a gift is a gift, is a gift,” Mancini declares, as an assortment of gift boxes rain down from overhead.
Unsurprisingly, technology drives Christmas Yet to Come. The scene opens with Nicolay playing Atari, a vintage Nintendo video game. Twitches, glitches, and computer programming inform the future, where human beings turn to smart computers rather than each other for companionship.
Is there hope for redemption from the demise to come? If Ebenezer Scrooge is any indication, Astra Via likes to think so. Check out the video for “A Christmas Spirit” below, and find this and more exciting new music on our Alchemical Multigenre Mixdown playlist on YouTube and Spotify.
Maryland-based singer-songwriter Cynthia Gross seeks to inspire an awakening to all we are and all we can become. With a passion for language in all of its forms and more than a decade of experience as a professional ghostwriter, she is a light seeker who understands the power of each individual’s voice to create positive, meaningful change.