Tuesday, May 19, 2020

A Place to Call Home

A Place to Call Home. Performed by Dana Cohenour. CD. Approx. 40 min. Music Playground. 2020. Digital: $7.00.
K—Gr 3

Dana Cohenour performs on piano, keyboard, organ, and synth steel drums for her 11 original songs. Her clear, soaring vocals adeptly handle the various musical styles of pop, rock, bossa nova, bluegrass, and reggae. Dana’s heartfelt melodies are professionally backed up by guitars, bass, fiddle, viola, dobro, banjo, mandolin, saxophone, flute, drums, and percussion. An enthusiastic and cheerful children’s chorus joins in on several of the songs. Everyone and every creature needs “A Place to Call Home.” Creatures digging tunnels create an “Underground Traffic Jam.” Accompanied by humpback whale song, "Migration" tells of the annual tug felt by the whales. Beavers tell each other “Let’s Build a Dam,” in this rollicking, driving rock tune, complete with guitar riffs. Bird calls enhance the “Rainforest Symphony,” as do gentle sounds of splashing water. The “Honey Bee Bee Bop” shines a light on the bee’s waggle dance to direct other bees to flowers. A “Bluebird” flies high in the sky accompanied by a lovely flute descant. It’s hard to sleep with a “Dog on My Head.” For a hermit crab, every day is “Movin’ Day.” Lots of animals like to play “Animal Hide and Seek” and reach home base. “Home” can be many things: a cabin on a lake, a castle, an apartment, etc. Partly bouncy and lively, and partly gentle and soothing, this album ably presents young listeners with different concepts of home.
Website: www.danasmusicplayground.com

Thursday, May 7, 2020

Night Life

Night Life. Performed by Sara Lovell. CD. Approx. 45 min. Unbreakable Chord Music. 2020. Price: CD: $15.00.
Pre-School – K

Multi-award winning Sara Lovell performs 13 rocking and beautiful songs of the end of the day on her 3rd album in rock, disco funk, R & B, pop, and folk musical styles. Sara’s lovely voice handles each musical style with aplomb and is joined by other vocalists who contribute gorgeous harmonies and descants. Great musical performances can also be heard on guitar, bass, mandolin, banjo, ukulele, piano, horns, synth, shaker, tambourine, triangle, chimes, glockenspiel, whistle, harmonica, kalimba, drums, and percussion. This Parents’ Choice Gold Award winning album starts off with the lively “I Don’t Want to Go to Bed,” (I just want to keep playing on). Planet hopping, trapeze flying, and deep-sea diving are among the activities in one child’s “Nightlife.” A variety of animals are making too much noise, so send them outdoors, but “Leave the Monkey.” There’s a “Rocket” in the sky and it’s waiting there for me. An owl keeps a log of the miles of dreams that the “Sleepwalkers” travel. Furry intruders, “Scooter and Skeeter” produce vibrating purrs at the end of the song. “I Don’t Sleep in a Bed” because I am sleeping in a tent with my dog. A child makes friends with “Little Bug.” Another child begs “Bed Oh Bed” to be allowed to stay awake and play. A parent encourages their child to “Wear Yourself Out Now” so they can sleep later. “Rock-a-Bye My Baby,” “How the Jungle Sleeps, and “Lullaby for Grownups” will help young ones drift off to sleep. Well-deserving of the award, Lovell’s catchy tunes and clever lyrics will please adults as well as children.
Website: www.saralovell.com

Thursday, April 30, 2020

Songs for Singin'

Songs for Singin’. Performed by The Okee Dokee Brothers. 2 CDs. Approx. 71 min. Okee Dokee Music. 2020. Price: CD: $14.99; Digital: $9.98.
All ages

Grammy-award winning duo The Okee Dokee Brothers (Joe Mailander and Justin Lansing) perform 27 original songs on two discs, divided into “Day” and “Night.” Vocals soar in beautiful harmonies on several of these tunes performed in bluegrass, folk, sea shanty, calypso, Celtic, and zydeco musical styles. A whole orchestra of excellent musicians make beautiful music on guitar, slide guitar, banjo, violin, fiddle, bass, upright bass, piano, organ, flute, tin whistle, saxophone, trombone, xylophone, accordion, harmonica, bottles, jaw harp, bodhran, and percussion. The “Day” section includes 15 songs: “Hope Machine,” “Early Bird” (waking up early),  “Neighborhood Band,” “One Little Heart” (that’s full of song), “Sally-O” (salty ship with a salty crew), “If You Want a Song,” “Jubilation” (for new baby), “Music Train,” “Sunnyside Up” (silly, nonsense song), “Afternoon Walk,” “Colors,” “Wastin’ Time,” “Grandmaderation” (do everything in moderation), “You Are the One,” and “Language of the Flowers” (exceptionally lovely tune). The “Night” section concludes with twelve songs: “Raise a Ruckus” (before bedtime), “Campin’” (the hazards of camping in the woods), “In My Bones” (feeling weather in one’s bones), “Let’s Throw a Party,” “Jumbo Gumbo” (cooking a Cajun family feast), “Ask Away” (answering “why” and “how” questions), “Church in the Woods” (heaven on earth), “Singin’ for Me Supper,” “Go Slow” (because the years go by fast), “Thank You,” “Seasons in a Day,” and “Hushabye” (lullaby). The oversized, illustrated, accompanying booklet contains an introduction and lyrics and chords for each song. This spectacular rootsy, folksy celebration of life, with homages to Woody Guthrie and Pete Seeger, will appeal to all ages and will enhance family get togethers. 

Friday, April 24, 2020

¡Muévete! Songs for a Healthy Mind in a Healthy Body

¡Muévete! Performed by José-Luis Orozco. CD. Approx. 66 min. Smithsonian Folk Ways. 2020. Price: CD: $14.98; Digital: $9.99.
Ages 1 – 7

Mexican-American treasure Orozco, a premier bilingual children’s music artist, performs nine Latin folk songs in Spanish, then repeats all the songs in English. A mix of traditional and original songs, they promote fitness through movement. The guest musicians perform with excellence on guitar, guitarrón, violin, congas, guiro, gaita, maracas, and tambor alegre. Several enthusiastic children join their voices with Orozco’s lively baritone vocals. “Clap, Tap, Tralala=Clap, Stomp, Tralala” will have listeners clapping, stomping, and singing along. “Los Pollitos=Baby Chicks” is a lullaby about hungry, sleepy baby chicks. Listeners are asked to stretch their arms in “Arriba, Abajo=Up High Down Low.” Jumping in time to “Palomitas de Maíz=Popcorn” will help listeners expend excess energy. “Domingo Flamingo” encourages listeners to balance on one foot at a time while counting from 1 to 10. Listeners are encouraged to move and dance with “Mónica.” Listeners can join in a circle dance or a conga line for “El Baile de los Colores=The Dance of All the Colors.” A traditional Mexican dance, “La Raspa,” urges listeners to dance with a partner. “Juanito” encourages listeners to move and dance along. Get those young couch potatoes up and moving with Orozco’s bright and lively new album! A great album for both home and classroom.
Website: https://folkways.si.edu/

Wednesday, April 15, 2020

Fiesta Global

Fiesta Global. Performed by Flor Bromley. CD. Approx. 36 min. 2020. Price: CD: $10.00; Digital: $10.00.
Pre-School – Gr 3

Flor Bromley performs 11 original bilingual songs in several Latin styles including Peruvian marinera, Mexican son jarocho, Brazilian batacuda, Colombian cumbia, plus Dixieland jazz and punk rock. The band of professional musicians give excellent performances on well-known instruments such as guitar, bass, violin, clarinet, trombone, accordion, drums, bongos, and percussion; as well as some lesser-known instruments including jarana, zapateo, pandoro, quijada, congas, cajon, requinto, and leona. Guest vocalists 123 Andrés, Noemi Gasparini, Damaris, Claudio Vega, and Jazzy Ash join in on several songs. Several enthusiastic children also join in on some of the tunes. Flor hosts a dance “Fiesta” (party) with Brazilian rhythms. “We Came to America” celebrates immigrants from every country and every color, race, and religion. “Lalalalalá (Cumbia)” encourages listeners to step to the right and step to the left. Flor celebrates the miracle of “Vida” (life), with which God has gifted her. “Bamba” presents an authentic Mexican version of Ritchie Valens popular dance song. Children use a white “Pañuelo” (handkerchief) while dancing, moving it up and down and all around.
“Otoño describes autumn weather, leaves changing color, leaves falling, and pumpkin picking. The bouncy and lively “Salta” encourages listeners to jump, and then freeze when the music stops. Children play with balloons at the “Balloon Party,” passing them around to each other while trying not to pop them. Who is strong, valiant, saves the world from evil and has a secret identity? A “Superhéroe” of course (which has only Spanish lyrics). But normal people, such as mothers and fathers, can also be superheroes. “Vinimos a América” is a reprise in Spanish of “We Came to America.” This upbeat album can be enjoyed by both Spanish and English speakers, and each may learn a little of the other language. Parents can find the lyrics at Flor Bromley’s website.  

Friday, April 10, 2020

Dinosaurs and Metaphors

Dinosaurs and Metaphors. Performed by Danny Weinkauf. CD. Approx. 33 min. Red Pants Music. 2020.  Digital: $9.49.
K – Gr 3

Multi-award winning Weinkauf performs 15 original songs in various styles of rock, polka, pop, and R&B. Weinkauf performs expertly on guitars, bass, ukulele, piano, drums, and percussion. The various guest vocalists are excellent and the harmonies soaring. There is even some expert whistling. A parade of “Dinosaurs on Roller Skates” includes tyrannosaurs, stegosaurs, iguanodons, velociraptors, and others. “Your Love is a Metaphor,” and is compared to a puppy chasing his tail; a pizza with lots of extra cheese; and a Jedi when Darth Vader is at the door. A poor child has the “Hiccups All Day” and tries different ways to get rid of them. A “Perfect Day” is one in which one can ride bikes, build forts, and play basketball. On a “Lovely Lazy Saturday Morn’” one child loves sleeping in. The “Boy with a Hole in his Heart” hears a bird sing, then his heart is filled with love. “Hooray It’s Monday” is the opinion of at least one child who gets to get up early and walk to school. There’s a “Hairy Little Bug” dancing on this toilet bowl. “A Song That Makes Us Happy” is one that brings a smile at work or play. One child complains, I “Don’t Want a Haircut,” but loves it when it is done. “My Nose Knows” all the smells that goes around. On “Halloween,” the night that this child loves, one might hear rattling bones, hear tapping at the front door, or see kids in their costumes. “Homer, Danny, and Alf” is an instrumental, orchestral piece that sounds like background music for movie or TV show. “Cut the Cheese” is exactly what it sounds like, with disgusting sound effects. Rounding out the collection is the very catchy rock anthem “Superstar.” Young listeners will be singing and dancing along with these catchy, lively tunes.
Website: https://www.dannyweinkauf.com/

Monday, March 23, 2020

Kokowanda Bay

Kokowanda Bay. Performed by Ruth and Emilia. CD. Approx. 33 min. Baa Baa Farms Music. 2020. Price: CD: $12.99.
K-Gr 3

Extra-terrestrial URR, last met in the award-winning The Spaceship That Fell in My Backyard returns to Earth to visit with Emilia again, and to help her clean up Kokowanda Bay. The multi-award-winning mother-daughter duo, Ruth Weber and Emilia Lopez-Yanez, present another rousing album of 11 songs, in various styles of rock, calypso, and pop. Their vocals combine in some wonderful harmonies. The tunes are cheery, bouncy, lively, and dance-inducing, accompanied by great performances on guitars, piano, oboe, saxophone, brass, trumpet, drums, and harmonica. Instead of sleeping in, one should “Get on Up” and spread one’s love. In “Who Would Believe It’s True, URR returns to Earth because there is more to learn. “Kokowanda Bay” is a great place to spend a Saturday. A “Little Kid with a Great Big Heart” can help pick up trash and garbage around the bay. Growing plants, emerging butterflies, and hatching birds all seem “Like Magic” events. Determined to reduce their carbon footprint, “We’re Goin’ Green” by turning off lights, recycling, and composting. “With My Snorkel On”, I can see underwater ocean animals much more clearly. One can “Turn It into Something New” by recycling old clothes, cans, and boxes into something new. The other songs are “The Food Chain,” “Good Friends Never Really Say Goodbye,” and “Soaring Through the Galaxy.”  This excellent album will encourage listeners to go green.
Website: https://www.ruthandemilia.com/