Sunday, January 17, 2010
I may be a "little white girl" but I'm going to defy some stereotypes and say that I like me some hip-hop music. Some of the artists on my iPod include OutKast, LL Cool J, Notorious B.I.G., Jay-Z, The Fugees, The Roots and Black Eyed Peas. The beats are infectious, perfect for working out, cleaning or driving. Unfortunately, some of the subject matter is a bit mature and inappropriate for munchkins, so it's been hard to share my love of hip-hop with Nate. Instead, I rely on our collection of kindie pop-rock or folk music for wholesome good fun. But when I was offered a review opportunity for a new hip-hop/folk hybrid family album (from local artists no less!), my curiosity peaked.
Grammy Award-winning children's music vets and traditional folk musicians Cathy Fink and Marcy Marxer have teamed together with D.C. hip-hop ingenue Christylez Bacon to create Banjo to Beatbox, an innovative collaboration that has earned the duo yet another Grammy nod. Combining bluegrass sounds of the washboard, banjo-cello and five-string banjo with contemporary beatboxing (or mouth drums), Banjo to Beatbox has been awarded top honors from Parents' Choice, NAPPA, Oppenheim Toy Portfolio, Mr. Dad, Creative Child Magazine and more.
2. It's the Beatbox
3. Syncopated Washboard Rhythm Song
4. Soup, Soup
5. Froggy Went A Courtin'
6. Hip-Hop Humpty Dumpty
7. Barnyard Dance
8. New River Train
I will admit I was a little skeptical at first. Midwest Americana fused with urban street style? Layers of banjo strings atop vocal percussion? Those were two unlikely companions if I had ever heard them. I was afraid it would be like the Odd Couple of music, wherein two distinct styles duel for the spotlight. But to my surprise, they meshed beautifully into one cohesive unit.
Neither the banjo nor the rapping or beatboxing overshadowed one another; they receive equal billing throughout the album. Not once does the project feel experimental or contrived. Each instrument - each noise - feels deliberate, as if the artists had no doubt about their avant-garde approach.
My family and I had a blast listening to Banjo to Beatbox. My husband is an avid country and classic rock fan, while I am more of a bubble-gum pop, alt-rock, and R&B/hip-hop kind of gal. Both of our musical tastes were more than satisfied. Nate was amused as we tried to imitate Christylez Bacon's flow on "It's The Beatbox". He also liked the mish-mash of eclectic sounds such as the washboard, block, and squeaky toy on the "Syncopated Washboard Rhythm Song", which has the potential to even get me excited about laundry day. Maybe. Nevertheless, we had great fun turning the track into a guessing game, trying to identify the instruments.
My personal favorites were the appetizing "Soup, Soup" that got my shoulders shrugging, the revamped call-to-response nursery rhyme "Hip Hop Humpty Dumpty" and the closing track "New River Train", which made me feel right at home in the Dust Bowl. It's no wonder why there is so much buzz and critical acclaim surrounding this CD.
Bottom line: Banjo to Beatbox is a fresh, progressive take on today's children's music. I like that hip-hop is no longer off limits to kids, and they can realize that one's body can be an instrument just as much as a guitar or drum set. Country fans to rap fans, both young and old, can appreciate and enjoy this album. Think the O, Brother Where Art Thou? soundtrack meets Biz Markie.
BUY IT: You can purchase the Banjo to Beatbox CD or download the digital version on www.cathymarcy.com or Amazon.com ($6.99-$7.99).
WIN IT: One lucky Goodie Goodie Gumdrops reader is going to win a copy of this album!
MAIN COURSE (MANDATORY ENTRY): Visit the Cathy & Marcy website, listen to some of the song samples from the album and tell me which one is your favorite. Remember to please leave your email address in your comment if it isn't visible on your profile to prevent disqualification!
SUGAR ON TOP (BONUS ENTRIES): To maximize your chances of winning, you may do any or all of the following. Be sure to complete the above mandatory entry or your bonus entries will not count! Remember to leave one comment per entry.
1.) Follow my blog or subscribe via reader or email. Comment telling me which method you chose. If you already follow or subscribe, that counts! (1 entry)
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4.) Enter any of my other current giveaways and leave a comment telling me which one(s) you entered. (1 entry each)
Giveaway will end on January 31, 2010 at 11:59pm EST. Open to U.S. only. Winners will be chosen via Random.org and will have 48 hours to respond to congratulatory email or prize will be forfeited and another winner will be chosen.
Disclaimer: I was sent a free copy of this CD from Beth at Sugar Mountain P.R. to facilitate my candid review. I was not compensated in any other way for this post. The thoughts and opinions expressed in my review are purely my own, and your experience may differ.