The Harmonica Pocket, a solar-powered Puget Sound based band, released their third family music CD on August 14th. The 14 songs on Apple Apple reflect the band’s deep connections to the natural world as well as the humor and wonder of childhood. This truly green recording was produced off the grid at The Harmonica Pocket’s solar-powered studios on an island in Puget Sound.
The Harmonica Pocket is part of the acclaimed Seattle area collective of family-centric musicians. Fellow “Kindiependent” artists Chris Ballew (aka Caspar Babypants) and Jack Forman (of Recess Monkey fame) and Johnny Bregar (whose songs are featured on Putumayo Kids CDs) appear as guest artists on Apple Apple. The Harmonica Pocket won a Parents’ Choice for their second children’s album Ladybug One, which also won acclaim from Seattle Times, San Jose Mercury News, New York Post, Parenting and Time Out New York magazines among others. Like Ladybug One, the vibrant cover art for Apple Apple was created by Matthew Porter.
Kids might learn a thing or two from these songs, including how to count to ten using stones on a beach (“I’m Gonna Count”). They might begin to sound out the syllables for words like apple and banana in the title song, and they might learn a little patience from “Waiting Takes a Long Time.” But the impetus for this release is more related to the world around us: “Wood and dirt and sky and earth*h/Beaks and birds and leaves and worms” (a lyric from the song “Bare Feet”).
Review – My kids and I loved The Harmonica Pocket album, Apple, Apple. I like surprising my kids with new music on the way to and from school. I put on “Diaperman” for them when they jumped in and they thought it was hilarious! My favorite was “Waiting Always Takes a Long Time”. That is the story of my life! The line “Now I’m stuck behind this red stop sign, and I really wouldn’t mind waiting in this line, if waiting didn’t take a long time” sums up my mornings! Another one of our favorites was “I’m Gonna Count”. Besides being an adorable song with a great beat, it teaches counting by ones, twos and fives.
Hot Peas ‘N Butter, the family oriented, multicultural, New York City-based touring band, announces the release of their first-ever lullaby recording: Catchin’ Some Peazzz. This new album of original lullabies and soft renderings of familiar songs will be available on August 28 (Sony/RED Distribution). Guest artists include pianist Rob Arthur (Peter Frampton Band) and virtuoso jazz guitarist Oz Noy.
The album has been at least two years in the making and offers glimpses into the band’s family lives. Dad-musicians Danny Lapidus and Francisco Cotto are the principal members of Hot Peas ‘N Butter. The hours they’ve spent putting their own kids to bed inspired these songs, particularly Lapidus’ ode to his daughter Lily, “Time To Fly.” And the song “In Belgian Rain,” features the voice of Lapidus’ father (who sang this song to Daniel when he was growing up in Brussels). Both songs are new arrangements of tracks on the Parents’ Choice Award winning release Hot Peas ‘N Butter Volume 4: The Pod Squad.
Review – So this album, unfortunately, settled an on going disagreement with my husband. I was always taught that it was “The Eensie, Weensie Spider”, not Itsy Bitsy. My husband always made fun of me, but I was convinced that I was right! (I think there are a few versions that would prove me right) My husband caught my kids listening to the Catchin’ Some Peazzz album and had to call me in to the room to listen to the Itsy, Bitsy Spider. If this album wasn’t so amazing, I would probably hide it so he would stop giving me a hard time! I LOVE the music! The piano in the background of each song is beautiful and gets my kids in the mood for bedtime. I will put this on in their room while they are getting their pajamas on and it helps them calm down and not put up as much of a fight! Every songs is peaceful and relaxing. This was a fantastic lullaby album!
Aaron Nigel Smith, known for his work on PBS TV and his award-winning music for children, will release Welcome to the Village!, a globe-shrinking collection of songs featuring the voices of hundreds of children from New York, Los Angeles, Portland and a school near Nairobi, Kenya. The release is the first from Aaron’s non-profit One World Chorus project.
Welcome to the Village! just launched on iTunes and will be available on CD September 4th from Aya World Productions. A portion of proceeds from the new release will help build a music program at the Cura Rotary Home, an orphanage and school in Kenya.
Nearly a year in the making, Welcome to the Village includes 13 songs, including “Fanga Alafia,” traditional Nigerian morning greeting song, performed by children at Cura. Aaron spent time at the orphanage in February working with the children and recording this and other vocal tracks for the album. Aaron mixed these children’s angelic voices with those of kids he’s worked with at the Palisades Children’s Choir near Los Angeles, the Achievement First Academy in Brooklyn, NY, and 5th graders from Forest Hills Elementary School (near Portland, Oregon) as well as 45 children from the greater Portland area. All in all, more than 300 voices are included in the collection of songs. For more information about the One World Chorus, click here. For a glimpse of Smith’s visit to the Cura Rotary Home, visit his YouTube page.
Welcome to the Village was such a fun CD! This was a huge hit with my girls especially. They loved the the children singing in each song! They recognized about half of the songs so they were able to sing along right away. It didn’t take them long to learn the rest of the songs after listening to it over and over! My three favorite songs were “Wonderful World”, “Hands”, and “One Love”. The kids have amazing voices and they blend perfectly with reggae type music. This album always seems to put my kids in a good mood and they love singing the songs even when the music is off!
Apple, Apple can be purchased on The Harmonica Pocket website for $14. Catchin’ Some Peazzz can be purchased on the Hot Peas ‘N Butter website for $9.99. Welcome to the Village! can be purchased on iTunes for $9.99.
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Disclosure: I received 3 children’s CDs in exchange for my honest review. I was not compensated in any other manner. The opinions expressed above are my own and any claims should be verified on the sponsor’s site.