Monday, November 11, 2013

In Review--Bird Songs & Child's Play

Storybook with CD/Children’s Music 
Songs from A Journey with a Parrot
Lullabies & Nursery Rhymes from Brazil 
Collected by Magdeleine Lerasle 
The Secret Mountain

My journey with music consciousness has led me to explore children’s music on occasion.  Perhaps this is because when I was a child I listened to music written for children and this helped greatly with my development.  In the US especially, music programs have been cut out of many public schools which leaves it to parents to bring quality music into the home and expose children to music of varying genres.  The storybook and CD, Songs from A Journey with a Parrot offers parents that opportunity while also giving the parents sophisticated world music for their own listening pleasure.  I don’t have children and I’m enjoying this delightful project.

First off the book portion features colorful ethnic illustrations by Aurelia Fronty that pop off the pages.  The musical portion features traditional Brazilian and Portuguese instruments giving off a warm acoustic feeling.  Adults and children share the vocal portions often sung over delicious Afro-Brazilian polyrhythms or on the slower tempo songs accompanied by various lutes and accordion.  The publisher squeezed 30 songs onto a 44 minute disk so we only hear snippets of circle dances, lullabies and game songs that derived from love and work songs of another era.  I would love to hear fuller versions of a few of the songs.

While I’m unable to comment on all 30 tracks, for brevity sake, I selected a few to describe.  The titular track sports a jaunty melody over a lively bandolim (mandolin family).  The Water Seller (track 2), a work song, stands out with its swirly and whirling accordion and catchy melody.  The Little Window Closes rolls by at a slower tempo, but is a playful children’s game song.  My Lemon, My Lemon Tree, is another love song transformed into a children’s dance song--in this case a bossa nova performed on accordion, guitar, bass, maracas and a high-pitch percussion instrument, cuica that sounds like it's barking. Samba Samba Samba Lê Lê sports a catchy melody sung by children, wiggling their hips, no doubt since the rhythms are delicious. 

The circle dance I went to Itororò hails from medieval Iberia and here features the suave vocals of Gerson Leonardi.  The Neighbor’s Hen, a rhythmic counting song delights and Carolina’s Eyes brings us another love song turned into child’s play.  Dance Little Dance finds its roots in Spain and Arabia, here it is performed as a circle dance.  With the holidays coming up, Songs from a Journey with a Parrot makes a wonderful gift for children and adults too.

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