Saturday, September 17, 2016

Post Folk Absurdist

Music CD Review

Post Folk Absurdist. Performed by Funkinships. 2016. Approx. 42 min. $13.99

          Led by Derek McGee and Charlie Chamberlain, this album was partly created aboard the Mystic Whaler on the Hudson River. This silly and humorous album includes hip hop/rap, bluegrass, reggae and blues musical styles. The musicians perform primarily on stringed instruments such as guitar, mandolin, banjo, ukulele, and violin. “Sea Legs” encourages listeners to get up and dance along. “The Platypus and Steve Buscemi” describes the unique characteristics of platypuses, eels, penguins and bats. “Kid Van Winkle” will not stop playing his video game, having to beat one more level, as he grows older and older. In “Chicken Flap Fly,” Duke the rooster wants to be the first rooster to fly. In this partly spoken, partly sung story, the chickens eventually receive a postcard from Duke in Mexico who states that flying is the greatest thing in the world, but the walk to the airport was a pain in the tail feathers. “The Great Whale Ball” includes puns and double entendres. The other songs include “A Dragon Tale,” “If You Can’t Sing Well, Sing Loud,” “The Shad and the Eel,” “Nightmare on the Kid’s Menu,” and “Left Foot, Right Foot” which extols the benefits of walking. Both children and parents will enjoy singing along to these fun and lively tunes.

Bucket of Wow!

Music CD Review

Bucket of Wow. Performed by Stephen Michael Schwartz. Approx. 35 min. S-Team Productions. 2016. $12.98

          Award-winning Stephen Schwartz, a member of the children’s band Parachute Express, performs 11 original songs in jazz, pop, show tune, country western, and bluegrass musical styles on this second solo album. Stephen’s vocals are glorious, and the backing musicians make beautiful music on guitar, violin, trombone, clarinet, keyboards, bass, drums, and percussion. “Bucket of Wow” tells about a very happy day. A child encourages his Dad and Mom to leave their daily worries and “Take a Hike.” Schwartz has a conversation with a little girl about her loose tooth, and assures her that it is a sign of growing up in “Losing a Tooth.” A child imagines a world with everything colored differently in “My Rainbow World.” In “The Panda Bear,” a child drinks tea, takes walks, and rides bikes with his imaginary friend. A child feels safe in his “Sanctuary,” which also has Chinese lyrics sung by Lily Yuan. The other songs include “I’m Being Followed by the Moon,” “One Rainbow,” “Going There With You,” “My Baby Tree,” and “The Boo-Boo Song.” A delightful album that the whole family will enjoy. 

Friday, September 9, 2016

When I Was Your Age

Music CD Review

When I Was Your Age. Performed by Nathalia Palis-McLaughlin. Approx. 36 min. Prod. by Nathalia Palis. 2016. $11.80.
PreS-Gr 3—

Colombian born Nathalia Palis-McLaughlin performs ten original bilingual songs in Latin, rock and reggae musical styles. Backing up her lovely vocals are excellent musicians performing on guitar, keys, accordion, violin, horns, bass, drums, and percussion. A lively children’s chorus joins in on the songs. “Dinosaur Dance” starts out with jungle sound effects and dinosaur roars, and encourages listeners to move like various dinosaurs. “Senor Opuesto” always does the opposite thing from his friend. In “It’s My Birthday,” a child worries that everyone has forgotten his big day, but a surprise awaits him. Giant ants, monsters and witches are just some of the “Pesadillas” (nightmares) experienced by a child. “Que Llueva” celebrates rain and touches on the water cycle. “When I Grow Up” suggests several career opportunities. “La Iguana Pepa” eats Mom’s flowers, so she chases him with a broom. The remaining songs are “Oh, Math,” “Que Me Dices Tu,” and “Otra Vez.” This album will help both Spanish-speakers and English-speakers learn a little of the other language.

Ora de Despertar

Music CD Review

Ora de Despertar. Performed by Sarah Aroeste. Approx. 25 min. Aroeste  Music. 2016. $9.97.

           Sarah Aroeste performs 10 original songs in rock, funk, blues, pop, and soft lullaby musical styles. The vocal performances are very nice, and the back-up musicians make beautiful music on guitar, bass, upright bass, piano, ukulele, flute, tuba, trombone, drums and percussion. In order to help preserve the Ladino language and culture and pass it on to children, the songs are all sung in Ladino, a dialect of Spanish spoken by Sephardic Jews. The accompanying booklet includes the Ladino lyrics and the English translations. In “Ora de Despertar” it is time to wake up, stretch, get dressed and greet one’s family. “Las Komidas” celebrates breakfast, lunch, dinner, but especially dessert. “Kualo Tienes” and Komo Vas a Ser” are lullabies. “Las Manos” names body parts and what each does. In “Kuantos Animales” the listener counts animals on the farm and hears their individual sounds. In “Si Yo Era el Sielo” one imagines being different things, like the sky, a star, or a rainbow. “Nochada Buena” is a going to bed song. The other two songs are “Mi Famiya” and “Saludos.” This is a great album for anyone who wants to learn some Ladino.