Wednesday, November 28, 2012

Dance With, Don't Spell Kaleidoscope

Music has been an integral part of our family experience.

We took Ben to his first concert (Dan Zanes at Symphony Space) when he was just shy of three years old.

Matt (two years old) is attending Music Together classes and beginning to grasp the basics of instrumentation and melodies. He is beginning to recognize – and request – songs that he likes, by name or through humming or singing snippets.

Which brings me to Alex and the Kaleidoscope Band. The Philadelpia-based troupe has released their fourth CD, I'M SO GLAD! and the title track incorporates the Nigerian folk song, "Fum Wah Alafia Ashe Ashe," which coincidentally is a standard for Music Together. As such, Matt was delighted to hear it when I played the CD for the family. And he subsequently requested the Kaleidoscope version be replayed. An early fan has been created.

Band founder Alex Mitnick should be pleased. A faculty member at both the University of the Arts and the Princeton Center for Teacher Education, he directs the music program for young children at the Princeton Montessori School. "What better way to ensure a bright future than to work with those who are closest to tomorrow – children," Alex said.

I'M SO GLAD puts lessons on the back burner and concentrates on the fun in music. The songs by Mitnick and lyricist Alan Bell give kids distinctive sounds and easily-digestible verbiage. "Kangaroo" gets kids up and bouncing. "Dino Dig" wonders where the dinosaurs went, with a middle eastern groove. "Blue Sky Time" delves into the vastness of the atmosphere:

I'm so big, I'm so empty
Even birds and planes fly in me.
Up I go above the trees
I'm the giant of the sky.

"Rhythm gets my feet to dance," the Kaleidoscope Band sings on "Music," and they mean it. Sweet music brings together a family – to dance, to laugh, and to share a common interest. This is a troupe for you, if you like the occasional euro beat but aren't "all-in" with World music. The Kaleidoscope Band has built its goals within arm's length of children and lets them swim in their colors.

Here is the video for the title track, I'M SO GLAD:


I'M SO GLAD is available from the band's website, CDBABY, Amazon, and iTunes.
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