Monday, June 03, 2013

Two New CDs Keep Your Pulse Racing

The road to children's music is paved with good intentions.

Music therapist Jeffrey Friedberg and his Bossy Frog Band have been entertaining families for more than a decade.

But Friedberg was not satisfied – he wanted to provide a solid, structural base for kids to base their musical education. Hence, his Kickstater project that yielded 15 SONGS EVERY KID SHOULD KNOW (AND WILL LOVE!). The new CD is 15 tracks of, well, it's self-explanatory. You get "Skip To My Lou" as well as "Hush Little Baby" (with Alice Leon and Jonathan Gregg) and even "Old McDonald" (featuring Mayra Casales).

The CD is filled with good intentions. And yes, it fulfills its purpose of rebranding these songs with new voices for new audiences. So kudos to Friedberg and company. I may not be the target audience, having heard "Waltzing Matilda" a gazillion times. But I understand who the CD is for, and he's 2 1/2 and trying to climb onto my lap as I write this review. Which means, time to fire up the CD player again ASAP.

15 SONGS EVERY KID SHOULD KNOW (AND WILL LOVE!) will be available later this summer from the band's website, Amazon, CDBABY, and iTunes.

I've never seen STOMP, the Broadway revue that features a high energy percussive symphony. Why? It's not my thing. No matter how rhythmic, to my ears it's still a bunch of people banging on things, very proud of themselves at the variety of sounds that they can produce.

Once again though, we're speaking about good intentions. And the Crosspulse Percussion Ensemble (CPE) is all about those. A non-profit arts organization dedicated to the creation, performance, and recording of rhythm-based, intercultural music, and dance, you have to like CPE. Or say you like them.

Well, I can say that I like their integrity. And I like their clear purpose. It just took me more than a month to get through their first CD, ironically entitled I LIKE EVERYTHING ABOUT YOU (YES I DO!).

These two CDs reviewed today have something in common – cover versions of the classic tune, "Little Liza Jane." But they couldn't be more different. But ask me which I'd like to hear time and time again, if my sons got control of the iPod, and it would be no contest.

CPE started in 1992 in the San Francisco Bay area and brough together a multitude of influences, including jazz, Afro-Cuban, and West African drumming. But any regular reader of my reviews has seen that I already chafe at "world music" concepts. Add the heavy percussive methodology and I'm almost out the door right there.

Once again, I couch my opinions by saying that I am not the target audience. But I listened to the CD with my kids and watched their reactions. And the older one did ask me to turn it down so we could "talk over the noise." Ouch! But if your brood is into using their surroundings to make their own sound, the Crosspulse Percussion Ensemble may be your thing. And I say that with the best of intentions.

I LIKE EVERYTHING ABOUT YOU (YES I DO!) is available from the CPE website, Amazon, CDBABY, and iTunes.
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