Tuesday, July 31, 2007

CD Review: Beautiful Rainbow World by Daria

DARIA: Beautiful Rainbow World

Daria Marmaluk-Hajioannou, an amazing, world-renown folk singer who has preformed in over 14 different countries.

What: Daria's 3rd CD, Beautiful Rainbow World, a wonderful world tour of music that combines traditional folk favorites and touching original songs. Over 10 different cultures are represented on this album of peace and harmony.

Where: International day at school or anytime you want to hear instruments from other cultures.

Additional Positives: There are more instruments on this CD than I have ever seen. Daria also does a great job on the liner notes, providing additional information about each song.

Things to grown on: A pronunciation guide would help those of us who would like to sing along to the music but after listening a few time you can pick the words up.

Tuesday, June 19, 2007

CD Review: Robot Monkey Head

JOHN HADFIELD: Robot Monkey Head

John Hadfield, an Delaware based, East Coast touring, multi talented musician.

What: Robot Monkey Head - John's follow up CD to his 2002 Children's Music Web Award winning debut album, Monkeys in the House.

Where: This is totally a LISTEN EVERYWHERE album. My daughter loves this CD and has asked for it every day since I played it for her. I think it is great for the 5-8 year old set. There is a ton of variety in the music - everything from a country reel to the title song which has a little bit of a Devo feel to it. I don't think I have heard another ode to salt on an album and this one is hard to shake loose once you hear it.

Additional Positives: I love it when musicians use a lot of different instruments. John and his guest musicians break out a Dobro, mandolin, sax, stand up bass, banjo, ukulele, octachime (I have no idea what this is), duck tape, and whoopee cushions (2 of which got blown out during the making of the CD).

Things to grow on: The one song that I didn't really like is Bunny Foo Foo, the High School Years. It is an anti-bullying song but the moral of the story is you shouldn't be a bully because someone bigger will hit you with a carrot one day. Not quite what I was hoping for. The second thing I would like is in John's first album his liner notes gave small blurbs about each song. I loved reading them. This CD doesn't have it. Bring the blurbs back.

For those of you who live in the Washington DC metro area like we do... John will be playing 4 concerts in Fairfax for the Arts in the Parks series. Click here for more information and dates.

Friday, March 2, 2007

CD Review: Play! Milkshake

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Who: Milkshake This Baltimore band has hit the big time with the preschool set. They have videos on both Noggin and PBS Kids. They manage to provide fun, happy music that doesn't drive parents crazy.

What: The band's 3rd CD PLAY! which is jammed packed with 13 songs and three BONUS tracks from Discovery Kid's ToddWorld. That's 15 songs for those of you counting. The songs are so easy to sing you are chiming in before you are even finished listening the first time. From pirates, to baseball, to planting a garden, to being in a band... The variety in the tunes means this CD won't get old quickly.

Where: Perfect for long car rides because everyone can sing along and the songs don't get on your nerves.

Additional Positives: Baseball legend Cal Ripken Jr. helps with a voice over on the Baseball song. How cool is THAT?

Things to grow on: Hummm. This one is really hard for me. Milkshake is doing a great job developing into a top notch kid's band. I see them getting their own imagination/music kids show some day. But in the meantime maybe they should try a polka? Everyone loves a polka RIGHT?

Saturday, February 10, 2007

Quick Shoutout to Yosi and More on the Imagination Movers

So this blog, while only a few months old, has been YEARS in the making. I go to so many kid's concerts and I love talking to the musicians. In fact last summer in a conversation with Yosi, he complimented me on my insight into kid's music and suggested that I start a kid's music blog. I didn't have faith in my writing ability, my knowledge, or even my opinions so I put it off. Until now. Thank you SOOO much Yosi for the suggestion.

With all of the contacts I have had with kid's musicians (in person and via email). I have not met a single artist who wasn't kind, polite, and eager to talk to their fans. I have been to a few concerts where I wondered if the performers were performing for the wrong group (like adult humor they think kids won't get but I think some of the savvy kids did). Some kid's musicians are such positive role models I want to make sure not just their music is highlighted in this blog.

The perfect example of this is the Imagination Movers. They are from New Orleans and their album Eight Feet (referring to the level the water rose in one of their houses after Katrina destroyed their city) is AMAZING. The song 'We Got Each Other (the Evacuation Song)' talks about what really matters when leaving a city because of a hurricane. We have seen the Movers 2 times and in both cases the guys walk through the crowd shaking hands and saying heart felt "Thank yous" for coming to see them play. Firm hand shakes, posing for photos with kids followed by a show full of so much energy that it just makes you smile. Not only that but they sell their DVD and CDs for $10 at the show. $10... can you believe that? We bought the DVD for our daughter and she watched it every day for about 6 months. When we went on vacation last summer we woke up every morning to requests for the Movers (Lesley couldn't say Imagination). I sent an email at 6:30am one day saying how happy I was that their website had videos and had a response from one of the Movers in a matter of hours. The Imagination Movers have signed with Disney which is a pretty big deal. I do not know what this means for them and their concerts, I would hate to see them go the way of other children's artists who now hock breakfast cereals to our impressionable children. I have a feeling that Rich, Scott, Dave, and Smitty just wouldn't let that happen.

Take Care,
Momma Daria

Tuesday, February 6, 2007

CD Review: The Hipwaders

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This is my second CD review and I have been procrastinating not because of the CD but because I have very little faith in my reviewing abilities. Please bear with me.

Who: The Hipwaders These California guys really bring me back to days of House of Freaks - an awesome band out of Richmond, VA. Totally NOT your average kid's music band! They cover it all from 1920 jazzy percussion, guitar with great leading vocals to 1960s trippy tunes.

What: The self titled CD The Hipwaders. My family loves the 'Messy Room Song' which has had some nice air play on XMKids. When this CD landed in my mail box I was thrilled. It is packed with 18 songs but more than half are under 2 minutes and 30 seconds.

Where: You're going to want to dance to most of these songs. Pretend to be a bus, a plane, a green bicycle. I think the songs are a little too short to be car friendly but maybe not.

Additional Positives: Any band that had a mandolin, airsynth, bass and congas on their CD gets a vote from me.

Things to grow on: I really wish more of the songs were longer. 18 tunes are a whole lot for a CD. Pick the best and expand on them - some songs sounded too similar to each other.

So in a nutshell this is a GREAT first album. The Hipwaders have a lot of promise and I wish them a great future.

Thursday, January 25, 2007

CD Review: Snow Day! by Eric Herman and the Invisible Band

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This is my first CD review and I have NOOO idea what I am doing so I am going to do the best that I can. Feedback from readers would be appreciated.

Who: Eric Herman and the Invisible Band. He sounds like a Disco/Electronic Yosi. I'd love to see a full band show sometime.
What: The CD Snow Day! Their third CD filled with 12 songs many have funny zinger at the end (like "Melony Ring" or "When I Grow Up".) The songs are different enough you won't find yourself feeling TRAPPED listening to the CD. There were two positive thinking songs, "No Big Deal" and "My Lucky Day", that I think are good for kids to hear. The album ends with two beautiful songs, "Hide and Seek With the Moon" and "This Little Light of Mine". I wish they weren't at the end of the CD.
Where: A great CD for the car or home. "Dance Like an Animal" would fit in at school or at a
Additional Positives: GREAT Liner notes...very comprehensive.
Aditional Positives: Compared to the previous CDs it seems like Eric is coming into his own now. The CD is very professional and he seems to have found his audience. I wish him the best of luck.
Things to grow on: I would probably put the songs in a different order and I'd love for him to write a few "Universal values" songs, like about sharing, caring, love, etc. I think that teaching these values to kids though song is a wonderful thing.

So in a nutshell I really like Snow Day! And my guess is you will too. If you're interested check him out at CDBaby.

Take Care,
Momma Daria

Friday, January 19, 2007

A Great Kid's Music Day... Milkshake at XMK!

Wow, what a great day! Lesley Lou and I joined a TON of XMK and Milkshake-lovers in XM Radio's live session studio to see Milkshake preform for the Valentine's Weekend Rumpus Room concert. I am not going to review this one because a XM concert isn't like any show you will see anywhere else and this one was even more special because they were filming it add it to their DVD. Talk about COOOOOOOL.

What I will do, is in a few weeks, I will add my review of their new album (their 3rd), Play. For those of you who want to check it out yourself before then I suggest you pick it up at CD Baby.