by Jim Chase and John Wood
Go gently into the night or jazz up your day with the
sounds of this year’s 1999 NAPPA music winners. Your CD player will
be working overtime playing this eclectic mix of soothing melodies,
multicultural music, a cappella songs and playful tunes. Be sure to
get your ears on these albums!
We Sing. A drug-free way to become one with your pillow. Go
to gentle and hang a left. Twelve traditional lullabies sung by child
vocalists include instrumental singalong tracks . . . if you can stay
awake. Twin Sisters Productions; $8.99 cassette, $12.99 CD. (800)
248-TWIN (8946). www.twinsisters.com.
A Sleepytime Journey For All Ages. Molly Conole and Nancy Waldman,
two classically trained musicians, call themselves "Dreamsisters"
for good reason. This beautifully performed mixture of original, traditional
and international lullabies should encourage multiple listenings and
an open door to the Land of Nod. Dreamsisters Inc.; $9.95 cassette,
$14.95 CD. (407) 647-4466. www.dreamsisters.com.
of Latin America. International bilingual recording artist
Maria Del Rey offers a gift of music to all who hear "Lullabies."
Using traditional instruments and Latin American arrangements, she crafts
14 precious lullabies—first in Spanish and again in English. Bueno.
Music for Little People; $9.98 cassette, $15.98 CD. (800) 409-2457.
Noel Nighty Night. This delightful package of new Christmas
songs will put any youngster gently to sleep, dreaming of sugarplums
and ho, ho, ho’s. Diana Rae’s songwriting and vocals are exemplary.
She was the "best part of waking up" vocal for Folger’s, so
she can start your day as well—the best of both worlds. Raeworks
Music; $10 cassette, $15 CD. (615) 794-0076.
A Child's Garden of Songs. As if the brilliance of
Robert Louis Stevenson's poems weren't enough, 16 of his finest works
are set to outstanding music and voice here. Introduce your infant to
classic poetry combined with near-perfect instrumentation. On second
thought, treat the entire family to this gentle gem. Music for Little
People; $9.98 cassette, $15.98 CD. (800) 409-2457.
Experience. The soothing music of Mother Nature is digitally
captured with this quiet, calming CD must-have for any audio library.
Simple, lyrical music is skillfully blended with a collection of sounds
from water, songbirds, rain, storms, the forest floor and more. Relax
and enjoy. Genius Products Inc.; $13.98 CD. (619) 793-8840.
Joint Jump. On this latest release in the popular "Jungle
Jazz" series, 10 wild and wondrous songs are written from the jungle
animals' points of view. From cool and crazy "Hippo-Party-Mess"
to the playfully percussive "Welcome to the Shake And Rumble,"
this album is the perfect soundtrack for your jungle. Play It Cool
Records; $8.98 cassette, $11.98 CD. (303) 444-5722. www.junglejazzband.com.
Can A Jumbo Jet Sing The Alphabet? Hap Palmer is a steady
musical friend and teacher for any young person to pal around with.
This release is the third in a comprehensive guide that creatively teaches
basic skills and fundamental concepts through music and movement. Hap’s
clever lyrics, easy vocals and organic arrangements are always a pleasure.
Great liner notes for teachers, too. Hap-Pal Music Inc.; $9.95 cassette,
$12.95 CD. (800) 645-3739. www.happalmer.com.
Sing. Kids love to hear other kids sing, and there are some
splendid performances by 2, 3 and 4 year olds on this 22-song collection.
Name a song and it’s probably on here, including "I'm A Little
Teapot," "Itsy Bitsy Spider" and "1, 2 Buckle My
Shoe." Must have been fun wranglin' them young ’uns in the studio.
Music for Little People; $7.98 cassette, $11.98 CD. (800) 409-2457.
Together/Singin' at the Swing Set. Santa Barbara brothers Ben
and Alex Meisel team up to share their love of music, family fun and
being a kid—no matter what your age—with this exceptionally well-produced
14-song treasure. It’s sure to get your family's toes tappin’ and faces
grinnin'. Alex, Ben & Company; $9.98 cassette, $14.98 CD. (800) 543-6386.
Lithgow: Singin' In The Bathtub. Oscar-nominated and Tony/Emmy
Award-winning actor John Lithgow explains, "When we got together
to do this album, one of our notions was to record the kinds of songs
that I remember loving as a kid." Therein lies the magic. The arrangements
are reminiscent of the original versions, particularly in "At the
Codfish Ball," "The Gnu Song," "Swingin' on a Star"
and the hilarious "From the Indies to the Andes in His Undies."
This album is way too much fun for kids only. Sony Wonder; $9.98
cassette, $13.98 CD. (800) 221-8180.
LaFond & Rockadiles. Lois reaches out and hugs the world with
a talented ensemble of multicultural musicians and singers known as
the Rockadiles on this wall-to-wall funfest. Sit still? Not a chance.
Lois LaFond & Company; $9.95 cassette, $14.95 CD. (303) 444-7095
or (800) 443-4727.
World Playground. No less than 12 countries on six continents
are represented on this delightful new CD. Take a magical tour around
the world with international children's music stars such as Buckwheat
Zydeco from the U.S., Trevor Adamson from Down Under, Nazare Pereira
from Brazil, and others. It's your passport to play! Putumayo World
Music; $10.98 cassette, $15.98 CD. (888) 788-8629. www.putumayo.com.
the Good Ship Lollipop—featuring The Persuasions. Now, you
may be thinking to yourself, "Wouldn't an all-a-cappella-all-the-time
children's album get boring?" Don't be ridiculous. This collection
of classic and original children's tunes has a touch of class, a whole
lot of soul and a heart of gold. The seamless blend of voices fits hand-in-glove
with the timeless material. Music for Little People; $9.98 cassette,
$15.98 CD. (800) 409-2457.
John McKutcheon’s Four Seasons: SpringSongs. This is
the fourth volume in McCutcheon’s "Four Seasons" series, and
it completes the cycle of the seasons by linking the last of the snow
to the first signs of summer. One of the best pure songsmiths and musicians
around. Rounder Records; $9.50 cassette, $15 CD. (800) 768-6337.
Click on a category below for reviews
of the 1999 NAPPA Gold Award Winners
The National Parenting Publications Awards (NAPPA) program
began in 1990 as a consumer awards program for children's media, including
books, toys, music, videos, software, and storytelling/spoken word. Expert
judges within each category review and select the best submissions to
receive recognition as either Gold or Honors Award winners. Winners are
announced annually prior to the holiday season.
Jim Chase has been a NAPPA judge for several years. He is an award-winning
copywriter and former professional musician and songwriter.
John Wood is the music reviewer for eight regional parenting magazines.
He co-created and performed more than 7,000 shows with the popular group
J.P. Nightingale. Visit him on the Web at www.kidzmusic.net.