Sunday, June 7, 2009

In review--Musical aid to Palestine children

Rim Banna
April Blossoms
Kirkelig Kulturverksted

Helping children laugh and sing during an era of crisis is a precious commodity. More and more musicians have been doing just that, bringing the power of music, joy and up-liftment to children that have lost their innocence because of war, privation and other human frailties. Palestinian vocalist and songwriter Rim Banna has sent out a powerful message with her latest children's music CD, April Blossoms. Even with the success of Banna's previous internationally-acclaimed recordings, I was unaware that the singer was a Palestinian star of children's music.

Joining such women musicians as Navajo-Dine Radmilla Cody (Precious Friends on Canyon Records) and Sweet Honey in the Rock (Experience 101 on Appleseed Records), Banna has recorded a sophisticated collection of children's songs that could also appeal to adults. She doesn't talk down to the children, but instead helps them to reclaim their innocence, joy and playfulness with songs about springtime, birthdays, holidays, moons, shepherds, a donkey and other topics which are bound to bring smiles to children's faces.
Banna teams up with her Russian-born husband, Leonid Alexeienko, Norwegian, Turkish and American musicians and a Palestinian children's choir. The instrumentation includes the usual band instruments plus the Armenian duduk, Arabic oud, bansuri flute and clarinet.

Produced by Erik Hillestad with support from Norwegian Church Aid, and Action by Churches Together, this CD was distributed among Palestinian children in Gaza. Support this project and buy this recording for your own children or other children that you love.

For more information (although in Norwegian), go to

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