Sweet Honey in the Rock
The Grammy winning Sweet Honey In The Rock has assembled an album of songs aimed at children. Unlike most, it's not hard for adults to listen to either. Enjoyable African-American traditional and original songs will please any child. However, the better their sense of rhythm, the better they will enjoy this. The album is aimed at children with an African background, and many parents will certainly learn about their heritage. The original songs are based on Southern spirituals, Senegalese rhythms, rap, and other African basics. The seventeen songs are short and can hold the attention of any child. Six recesses called "Improv Time" let the group play and sing off each other as the spirit moves them. These could easily be used with your youngster to play along with on their own percussion instrument, whether a drum set, an oatmeal box, or pots and pans on the kitchen floor!
Songs circle around simple call and responses like jump rope and playground songs. Some like "I Love To Laugh" are about being a child, and others such as "Oh My Goodness, Look At This Mess" are aimed at improving the little one's manners or cleaning habits. Older kids will catch on pretty quick, but youngsters will enjoy the lessons.
The interviews in the liner notes let the singers and signer of Sweet Honey share influences in their early lives. Carol Maillard remembered letting her imagination soar playing her mother's piano. Nitanju Casel wanted to be a neurosurgeon. Shirley Saxton, who signs their shows, remembers the freedom of the climbing tree in her front yard. Aisha Kahlil was sure to be an actress or a doctor. Ysaye Barnwell wanted to be a Miracle Worker like Annie Sullivan to Helen Keller, and Bernice Reagon wanted to be a singer. Get this album for you and your kids. You'll both be happy you brought it on the next long trip to Gramma's house. - Brian Grosjean
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