Friday, April 22, 2011

Happy Earth Day

On Earth Day Eve this year I caught a PBS documentary double feature. Nova had a film called "Power Surge" which painted a much less apocalyptic view of climate change (the basic message: if we do our part we have the tools to solve the problem), and later I saw a documentary called "Bag it" inspired by a plastic bag but covering the entire plastics industry from one consumer's perspective.

Besides making me much more aware of my daily plastic intake, my nightly TV watching left me feeling a bit more optimistic about our global future. I consider myself to be "greener" than your average American, but I recognize that I have a long way to go. Singing for kids makes me feel like I can pass on the message of environmental stewardship at an early age. Start 'em thinking green young and perhaps the next generation will do better than we have.

Kid's Quote of the Day: I was sheepishly singing "Day-o, The Banana Boat Song" with all of the Caribbean affectations ("Me say Day-O") during my recent multi-cultural music unit when a young boy commented, "Hey, You sound like Jar-Jar Binks!" (yep that's what the critics said kid!) ~Hugh (age: 5)

Friday, April 8, 2011

For The Love of Dance

This week for your listening enjoyment, I have a review of Canadian duo, Splash n' Boots' latest album, Back In Yellow.

When I reviewed Splash n' Boots last album Razoo I was struck by the theatrical quality of the music, Back In Yellow has a decidedly more rockin' feel (hence the title and the AC/DC inspired fonts). There are loads of 80's synths, dance beats, and punk rock guitar to get those wee listeners grooving.

I met Nick and Taes almost a year ago at Kindiefest 2010, and their infectious smiles and the joy that they get out of making music for kids together really comes through on this CD (you know how you can hear when someone is smiling when they sing?). I enjoy that they have really "hammed" it up on this album. They're not afraid to use goofy voices, or funny foreign accents like in "Bow Wow" (I guess in Canada, French isn't foreign). The song "Chantelle The Chicken" sounds almost like a cut from a South Park album, minus the foul language and inappropriate material.

Though they are a duo, Splash n' Boots always assembles a great team of musicians to produce rich musical arrangements. In an age of cheesy synth instruments, I like to see liner notes that include tuba, trumpet, mandolin, bodhran, accordion, banjo, harmonica... and the list goes on. I was also glad to see/hear that their cute doggie Lilly made both the cover and a cameo on "Bow Wow." I think dog people make good kids' musicians, I don't know why!

The Mike Brady Wrap-up: It's always great to review music from artists/groups I know and consider friends. I enjoy seeing people grow and improve, and Back In Yellow is a big leap forward for Splash n' Boots. All I can say is that this album is SO MUCH FUN. The lyrics are funny and creative. The music is rich and well produced. The vocal performances are off-the-cuff and irreverent, and I am left with an ear-to-ear grin after the final track "Met You" wound down. Sadly, I'll miss my good friends Nick and Taes at this year's Kindiefest because they're touring the world. This kind of success couldn't happen to two nicer people, Kudos! I'll leave you with an awesome video for the opening track "For The Love of Dance."

Kid's Quote of the Day: "Mr. Nick you got a haircut!" Sophia said as she walked into the room for music class. "Well, no, not recently," I replied. "You know what I mean, your face-hair!" she said. "Oh yes, I did trim my beard, thanks for noticing!" ~Sophia (age: 3)