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    Music for Kids...AND Their Parents





    Have you ever been driving along in the car, or cleaning up around the house with the kids, with the music on, when you suddenly, unbelievingly, you realize you’ve been singing along (for the 50 bazillionth time) to Raffi’s Baby Beluga?  Which, you really don’t much like? At all.  Has it really come to THIS, you wonder, stink-eyeing the Wiggles CD? What happened to the GOOD music?

     

    I’m here to say you don’t have to endure Row, Row, Row Your Boat any longer. Just because you're a parent doesn't mean you have to give up the good stuff.  Really. It’s okay. In fact, I think it’s preferable! Kids need exposure to real music, with harmonies, layered instruments, and complex beats.  And adults need… well… let’s put it this way: there’s only so much, “Mister Sun, Sun, Mister Golden Sun…” that you can sing without losing a little bit of your mind. And we need to maintain ALL of our minds in order to be the best parents we can be, right?

     

    Right. So, here’s to holding on to sanity, while improving everyone’s musical experience:

     

    KellyNaturally’s Kids AND Adults Mix:

     

    1) They Might Be Giants: Women and Men

    2) John Denver: Grandma’s Feather Bed

    3) Straight No Chaser: The 12 Days of Christmas

    4) Squirrel Nut Zippers: Put a Lid On It

    5) Wally Pleasant: If I Were (note: this song DOES use the words prophylactic & crappy… but its so worth it, seriously)

    6) Peter, Paul, & Mary: If I Had a Hammer

    7) Barenaked Ladies: If I Had a Million Dollars

    8) Simon & Garfunkel: 59th Street Bridge Song (Feelin’ Groovy)

    9) Owl City: Fireflies

    10) Cyndi Lauper: Girls Just Wanna Have Fun

    11) The Beatles: When I’m 64

    12) Bjork: It’s oh so Quiet

    13) R.E.M.: Shiny Happy People

    14) The B-52s: Rock Lobster

    15) The Chordettes: Lollipop

    16) Bob Marley: Three Little Birds

    17) James Taylor: Jellyman Kelly

    18) The Cure: Friday I’m in Love

    19) Peter Gabriel: Big Time

    20) Paul Simon: Diamonds on the Soles of Her Shoes


    (dancing to the good stuff!) 

     

    Now, if you’re not in the mood for putting together the above mix, here’s a few already complete album cheats:

     

    - The For The Kids compilations are awesome (there are three) featuring people like Jason Mraz, Lisa Loeb, Moby, Guster, etc. singing kid-themed songs that are quite bearable for adults.

     

    - Broadway Musicals: There are lots of fabulous musical soundtracks with kid-and-adult friendly songs like Les Miserables, The Sound of Music, A Chorus Line, Phantom of the Opera, The Wiz, etc.

     

    - They Might Be Giants: They have several “kids” albums which are awesome (Here Come the 123s is my favorite) and many of their “pre-kid-album” songs have innocent-ear-friendly words, like: Women and Men, Why Does the Sun Shine?, Am I Awake?, Dinner Bell, Birdhouse in Your Soul

     

    - Barenaked Ladies has a kid’s album which is very adult-listenable, called, Snacktime!

     

    - Dave Matthews Band: While there are some mature-themed songs, the majority of his lyrics aren’t offensive, and they’re all catchy. Plus, each contains LOTS of instruments to pick out for the kids. Besides, DMB just has to rock the mini van now & then.

     

    What do you all like to listen to with your kids?  Do you smile your way through Laurie Berkner or do you make your kids to listen to the stuff you grew up with, like me?

    Posted: Oct 22 2010, 18:03 by kelly | Comments (6) RSS comment feed |
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    Twitter Rocks!





    I love making mix tapes.  Okay, let me rephrase that for the twenty-first century:  I love putting together thematic playlists in iTunes and burning them onto CDs.   So, last night, I was in the mood to make a emo playlist (in the emotion sense of the word, not the hardcore music sub-genre sense of the word).  In search of inspiration, I reached out to my Twitter followers:

     

    I received a ton of replies – quite varied in genre. I also received a few requests to post the list of responses.  So, here are the answers I received (without appropriate capitalization nor spell/accuracy-check, my apologies):

     

    placebo - running up that hill

    harry nilson - i can't live

    mazzy star - fade into you

    jeff buckley - last goodbye

    sarah brightman - love changes everything

    dead can dance - severance

    glen hansard - falling slowly

    gary jules - mad world

    queen - the show must go on

    leona lewis - happy

    kelly clarkson - sober

    christina aguilera - if you're out there, ordinary people

    sigur ros - hoppipolla

    elgar - nimrod

    beach boys - god only knows

    peter gabriel - book of love

    al green - lets stay together

    lauryn hill - ex factor, a song for you

    pearl jam - black, in hiding, rearviewmirror, present tense

    david grey - the other side

    coldplay - speed of sound

    tracy chapman - at this point in my life

    kd lang - a case of you

    amiee mann - wise up

    velvet undergound - candy says

    david bowie - word on a wing

    john cale - ghost story

    pink - long way to be happy

    peter gabriel & kate bush - don't give up

    annie lenox - into the west

    loreena mckennitt - lady of shalott

    wilco - my darling

    israel kamakawiwo'ole - somewhere over the rainbow

    dar williams - i had no right

    the dresden dolls - sing

    ani difranco - angry anymore

    c.r. avery - pocket knife

    joni mitchell - case of you

    kate bush - the woman's work

    u2 - stuck in a moment you can't get out of

    springsteen - if i should fall behind

    colin hay - i just don't think i'll ever get over you

    pink floyd - wish you were here

    ryan adams - la cienga

     

    Also received the answer "anything by" the following groups:

    the smiths

    fiona apple

    death cab for cutie

    portishead

    andrea bocelli

     

    And several songs given sans artist:

    danny boy

    that girl crystal

    piano man

    total eclipse of the heart

    major tom (coming home)

    its raining men

    leaving on a jet plane

    amazing grace

    swing low sweet chariot

     

    And finally, soundtracks/movie songs:

    suo gan from empire of the sun

    hans zimmer  - thunderbird & gladiator soundtrack

    god is trying to tell you something from the color purple

    i know where i've been from hairspray

    ae ajnabi from dil se

     

    I haven’t had an opportunity to look up/listen to all of these songs yet, nor add my own choices & make a mix… but I will! Thanks Tweeps, you rock.  Literally.

    Posted: May 16 2010, 15:37 by kelly | Comments (4) RSS comment feed |
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    Lullabies, English Madrigals - all the same, really.





    But I  -
    I love it when you sing to me
    And you -
    You can sing me anything

    ~Peter Gabriel

     

    And to my children, I have sung pretty much anything & everything to help them to sleep.  As a teen & 20-something, I sang in several choirs.  Many of those songs stayed with me; so naturally, when I became a lullaby-singing parent (to a colicky infant who required constant motion & song) my favorite English Madrigals, Sacred Songs, and Spirituals came right to mind. I admit, to not only not knowing (or bothering to learn) many “lullabies”, but to preferring interesting lyric & melody over repetitive humdrum (think Twinkle, Twinkle Little Star – ack!). As a result most of what I’ve sung as stand-ins are neither particularly light nor baby-related.  Not that rock-a-bye baby is light of lyric. Baby falling from a tree – sheesh.

     

    Yet, certain songs I love to sing, and as a bonus, over the years I’ve found really work well to help baby (or toddler, or child) sleep. (Babies don’t care one lick what the words are; just keep singing.  And toddlers think my Latin is hilarious).

     

    I’ll share with you some of my most beloved bedtime songs (random choirs on you tube just so you can get the tune – I do not vouch for the quality!):

     

    Ride The Chariot (my son’s favorite)

    I'm gonna ride the chariot
    In the morning Lord
    I'm gonna ride

    Ride the chariot
    In the morning Lord

    I’m getting ready for the judgment day

    My Lord, My Lord

     

    Are you ready my brother/sister?

    Oh yes

    Are you ready for the journey

    Oh yes

    Do you want to see your Jesus

    Oh yes, I’m waiting for the chariot ‘cause I’m ready to go

     

    I never will forget that day
    When all my sins were taken away
    My feet were snatched from the miry clay

     

     

    Blow The Candles Out  (my daughter’s favorite)

    When I was ‘prenticed in Plymouth

    I went to see my dear

    The candles they were a-burning, the moon shone bright and clear

    I knocked upon her window to ease her of her pain

    She rose to let me in, then she barred the door again.

     

    I like your good behavior darling, thus I often say

    That I cannot rest contented while you are far away.

    The winds they are so cold, that we cannot stay there out

    So roll me in your arms, love, and blow the candles out.

     

    Now Father & Mother in yonder room do lie

    A-hugging one another, so why not you & I

    A-hugging one another without a fear or doubt

    So roll me in your arms, love, and blow the candles out.

     

    Psallite! 

    Psallite unigenito
    Christo, Dei Filio,
    Psallite Redemptori,
    Domino, puerulo
    jacenti in praesepio.
    Ein kleines Kindelein liegt in dem Krippelein.
    Alle lieben Engelein dienen dem Kindelein
    und singen ihm fein.
    Psallite unigenito...

     

    (English Translation: Sing Your Psalms!

    Sing your psalms to Christ,
    the begotten Son of God,
    sing your psalms to the Redeemer,
    to the Lord, the little Child
    lying in a manger bed.
    A small Child lies in the manger.
    All the blessed angels fall before Him
    and sing.
    Sing...)

     

    The Silver Swan

    The silver swan who living had no note
    When death approached unlocked her silent throat
    Leaning her breast against the reedy shore
    Thus sung her first and last and sung no more:
    Farewell all joys oh death come close my eyes
    More geese than swans now live, more fools than wise

     

     

    If Ye Love Me

    If ye love me,
    keep my commandments,
    and I will pray the Father,
    and he shall give you another comforter,
    that he may abide with you forever,
    e'en the spirit of truth.

     


    Please share with me YOUR favorite bedtime songs!

    Posted: Nov 12 2009, 09:35 by kelly | Comments (8) RSS comment feed |
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    Desert Island Discs





    Inspired by an accidental (thank you  iTunes randomizer) listen to The Cure’s Staring At The Sea album yesterday morning, I realized I’ve often thought about & talked about my “top 10” albums ever, but never have actually created a list.

     

    I know so many of you hang on my every word, as is evidenced by the amount of comments I get on my blog (Anyone?…Bueller?…), and so I’m sure you’ve be anxiously awaiting the day when I’d actually come through with this list, instead of incessantly chattering on about it. Well, dear readers, the wait is over!

     

    Now, I’ve decided, seeing that it’s near impossible to narrow down hundreds, nay, thousands of albums to “ten favorites”, to instead, make this my “Desert Island Discs” list. That is: we shall imagine that at some point in the future, were I to be stranded on a desert island, with only 10 CDs, and a solar-powered CD player (that has, obviously, no other way of transmitting or otherwise getting myself off the island, or giving me access to additional music.  OBVIOUSLY.), that these would be the albums I would choose to listen to. Ad nauseum. Forever and ever, amen. 

     

    So, the major qualification to make it on to THIS list, then, is that if a particular album came on, I’d willingly listen to it, in its entirely, pretty much any time, and could listen to it repeatedly. Which means quality of each song on the album, plus the album as a whole - is key. Which also means, that there COULD be better songs out there – in fact, I know there ARE better songs than what I’ve chosen, as I have several favorite artists (Tori Amos for one BIG one, actually – darn it, woman! And REM for another. Sheesh. And yes, I do notice that only one female artist made it on this list, and for that, I am annoyed and apologetic, yet perhaps more annoyed that I couldn’t find another female musician in my collection where I’d say an emphatic “YES!” to every song on the album.) that didn’t make this list because of their consistent inability to create an album with a cohesive mood or quality throughout. My reasoning for this qualification is that when you only have 10 discs to listen to for the rest of your life, you can’t have an album that contains one or two songs you’d like to fast forward over (okay, yes, I realize I’m dating myself with this post – both in use of the word DISCS and phrase FAST FORWARD.  But what can I do, I’m a child of the 70s. And 80s.).

     

    These are in no particular order. That’s a challenge for another day (month, year, whatever).

     

    So, with no further ado (and I often have quite a bit of ado), my 10 Desert Island Discs:

     

    The Cure – Staring at the Sea (1986) - Good background music, no complaints.

    The Pixies – Doolittle (1989) - For when I'm feeling a little riled up - say, I'm running out of coconuts.

    Depeche Mode – Black Celebration (1986) - For my darker, moodier moments on the island.

    Dave Matthews Band – Under the Table & Dreaming (1994) - because there's no way I could be on an island forever & not have Dave along for the ride.

    Chopin - Nocturne #2 in E Flat, Prelude #4 in E Minor, Nocturne in C# Minor, Impromptu #4 in C# Minor  - Need piano.

    Sinead O’Connor – I Do Not Want What I Haven’t Got (1990) - Got to have a strong woman along.

    Peter Gabriel – So (1986) - Because there's nothing wrong with this album. And, In Your Eyes. 

    John Denver – John Denver’s Greatest Hits (1973) - The only thing missing is Annie's Song, but I've got to have John.

    Simon & Garfunkel – Simon & Garfunkel’s Greatest Hits (1972) - Couldn't go the rest of my life without harmonic perfection.
    Coldplay – Parachutes (2000) - Just goodness.

     

    If you were stranded on a desert island with a CD player, no other electricity, and 10 disks, what would YOU choose?

    Posted: Nov 10 2009, 14:24 by kelly | Comments (5) RSS comment feed |
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