Tuesday, June 20, 2006

Review in Brief: Kaleidoscope Songs Volumes 1 and 2 - Alex Mitnick and the Kaleidoscope Band

Kaleidoscope Songs Volumes 1 and 2, released in 2004 and 2006 by Alex and the Kaleidoscope Band would seem to have all the elements of a successful children's music album. Lyrics that target kids and their experiences, a large cast of musicians playing an even larger set of real instruments, and a fine, soulful voice in lead singer Alex Mitnick -- what's not to like? Well, despite all those advantages, there wasn't enough that said to me, "you won't mind hearing this repeatedly." This is partially the result of those lyrics targeted right at the 3-year-old audience -- they're not meant to speak to the parent ("I'm so glad to be alive / I like to learn new things / I like to notice all that I can," for example). The music itself is mostly mellow children's pop, and perhaps I was looking for a hook that never came. Only in a few songs did I find a spark -- "So Blue" and "Rock of Ages" both had a pleasant Van Morrison-vibe to them, while "Water Lily" is a gentle and appealing tune with touches of reggae. Those three songs are off Vol. 2 -- if you're interested in learning more about the band, I'd recommend starting there. You can listen to samples of some songs here. Your preschool-aged kids may like the two Kaleidoscope Songs albums, your preschool-aged kids' preschool teachers may find a lot of songs good for inclusion in lessons on the albums, but you, the parent, may not be so enthused by the albums.

2 comments:

Gwyneth said...

Did you see that they just won a couple of awards?

http://www.childrensmusic.org/a2005winners.html

(And so did Ralph, our favorite.)

Sammi said...

No disrespect, I think that this review is way off about adults not liking this music. I listened to Kaleidoscope 1 every single day with toddlers, they LOVED it, and I LOVED it. Each day something new would emerge from the music, and I liked the lyrics. I was suprised how fast and easily the children picked up the melody and the lyrics. The toddlers would sing "Thats why I am who I am.." This first person perspective gives children a chance to experience the song first, and then later on as an emotional output. The second album continues to grow on me, I never get tired of the songs. I work with children from 2-12, they all appreciate this music. The children from ages 2-9 LOVE this music, and it is appropriate for all of them.
Don't underestimate your children's ability to appreciate fine music, these albums are a rare musical gift to the world of children's music.