Today I have a unique offering for my dear readers. The album is called Cantilena (night songs from around the world) by guitarist Hilary Field and vocalist Patrice O'Neill.
This is a lush and beautiful album of nighttime music. The orchestral arrangements and the sweet and, at times, haunting vocals featured on this CD set a calming and peaceful tone. Hilary Field's skillful classical guitar work are the perfect compliment to Patrice O'Neill's emotive performances. I appreciated the collage style artwork that is very reminiscent of picture book art by illustrators such as Lois Ehlert or Ellen Stoll Walsh. I am thankful that children's music is still a genre where physical CD's and liner artwork can compete with digital downloads.
As a collection of music from around the world the list of languages featured on the album is long, French, Swedish, Gaelic, Spanish, Romanian, Italian, Japanese, Ladino and in most songs sections of English translation. The classical guitar foundation and characteristic tone of O'Neill's voice are the threads that tie these disparate elements together. I can't speak from experience, but O'Neill's delivery seems effortless switching language to language with ease. As musicians, I think there is a strong connection with language and dialects. She pulls it off with grace.
I don't know if I would go so far as to call this an album of lullabies. There is a peaceful quality to much of the music, but there are certain moments of expressiveness that caught my ear and kept my imagination working and my mind active.
The Mike Brady Wrap-up: I have come across a few albums of kids' music that incorporate classical elements. There is always a level of musicianship and production value that can't be matched with the more poppy stuff. I know it's not for everyone, and I don't want to scare listeners off. To say this is a "classical" album would be selling it short. You won't hear electrified instruments, but you will hear some of the sweet music that helps kids around the globe have a pleasant night of sleep. I highly recommend this one!
Kid's Quote of the Day: "I saw the REAL Santa and he was really funny. He is a boy, but he had a really funny voice like a girl. And his beard came down from his face, and I said how can somebody's beard come down." ~Lucia (age: 6)