Sunday, March 14, 2010

Big Green Alligator, Big Messages

Messages in Spirituality Through Allegories

The music of Lisa Weyerhauser's Big Green Alligator conveys a number of larger issues – spirituality, dark emotions, even death. Since these are uncomfortable topics for many parents, I'll put an advisory right at the top. Clicking through to the host Web site might immediately polarize visitors, with a quotation from the Psalms. But that's expected, coming from a Pastor's wife. Lisa wears many hats as a worship leader, licensed counselor, and a professor of adolescent psychology with master's degrees in both religion and counseling psychology.

"I put a lot of questions into the lyrics of Big Green Alligator – 'Where did we come from, Where are we going, and How did you find your way to me?' – because I wanted kids to feel like they could ask this character anything," Lisa said. "I believe it is essential for kids to learn to express their feelings at early ages. I want them to know that if they are shy, it's OK. If they feel sad about something, it's OK. There is a freedom in learning to correctly express emotions. If kids can learn how to do that when they are young, it will be more natural for them to do as they get older."

Putting aside religious connotations, the 18 songs on the disc cover the standard little kids topics – relationships with your parents, friends, and family, learning, coping with the world around you. But Lisa (a.k.a La-La-Lisa) provides a framework that is clear and continual:

Oh there are some days

that you could just cry

Or at least wish that you could die

But on those days remember that

God He still loves you

And that's a fact

– That's A Fact

Generally electric/acoustic, Lisa sticks with mostly country arrangements, but sticks a little auto-tune into "The Countdown Song." And a sweet "Goodnight" song that wraps up the CD.

Big Green Alligator is Lisa's first foray into kid's music, but her nickname (La-La-Lisa) was earned a long time ago. "I started singing at youth camps when I was 16," she said. "And to this day, I have 30-somethings come up to me in the grocery store and ask, 'Aren't you La-La Lisa?' That name has stuck even after all these years." Lisa wrote and performed all 18 songs on the project, and has dedicated a portion of the proceeds of the sales of the CD to Teen Mother Choices International. One of the goals of TMCint is to keep all the girls off of welfare and to date, 100 percent of the girls who have participated in the program have graduated from school and found jobs to support themselves.

If you don't mind some mild proselytizing, Big Green Alligator delivers a combination of common sense lessons along with an introduction to an awakening in one's sense of religious principles. Keep that in mind if you don't have problems separating music from its (intended or unstated) message.

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