Since I have young children, I am always on the look-out for compromise CDs to play in the car.
What I mean by "compromise" is music that my kids like and that I like -- or rather that I don't hate.
There is a good deal of bad children's music out there, especially newly written tunes and poorly played classical music. With the latter, even if the concepts for the CDs are creative or educational, the actual performances can just grate, as if they were all sight-read in a rushed recording session. "Beethoven's Wig," "The Mozart Effect" and "Baby Einstein" are prime suspects, but Disney's "Little Einsteins" and various compilations made by major classical labels using their own catalogs are better. In contrast, traditional music and nursery rhymes find many excellent advocates (our favorite artist lately is the talented Susie Tallman).
Of course, I am not above suffering through mediocre music if my kids like it -- I leave the music criticism at work. But why suffer if there are some great discs we both enjoy? So I am always searching for new discs that fit this bill. Leaving aside new interpretations of traditional and classical music for the moment, let me point out some new tunes we recently discovered that we all love.
Surprise, its Canadian! (They always do everything better, don't they?) The label is The Secret Mountain. We have been listing to some French Canadian music on a disc called "Let the Good Times Rouler" and some silly music on a CD called "A Treasure in My Garden" (originally a DVD) Both have a song on them written by Gilles Vigneault that should become an instant kids classic: "Barati, baratin" or in a loose translation, "Scuttlebutt, What a Nut." Here is a 30-sec clip of it in English:
and in French:
And a typical verse (in translation):
This is Mister Look at That
He says he's an acrobat
Thinks that he is full of grace
Till he falls flat on his face
Scuttlebutt, what a nut, big net
Needs a net in his backyard
How can you not love that?! The whole song is hilarious and catchy. Vigneault shows a considerable ability to be silly and musically substantive in the rest of "Treasure," too, and the musicians of Hart-Rouge who perform have just the right, light touch.
Let the Good Times Rouler" is a real party disc, no matter if you don't know what they are saying (as I don't)! I recommend both, and recommend checking out more of The Secret Mountain's catalog.
Now, back to "adult" (and classical) music...