Tuesday, June 13, 2006

***Melanie Dill***

How to describe these CDs…a panoramic view of a great children’s television show without the visuals. Use your imagination and picture a wonderfully flowing, funny, sweet, highly entertaining stream of music, dialogue, and rhymes, and you have a good idea of what you’ll find in Melanie Dill’s series of Music for Learning CDs.

Rainbow Lemonade and its companion CD, Alphabet Parade, have been out for some time, but in anticipation of the third album in this series, I thought it was important everyone should know about these first two.

Well-played by a host of musicians and sometimes accompanied by children’s voices, the 24 songs on Rainbow Lemonade and 26 songs on Alphabet Parade are connected by spoken vignettes, multicultural hellos, and children’s musings. On Alphabet Parade the songs range from short and sweet singalongs like “Look Out the Window” to full blown productions like “The Parade!”, while Rainbow Lemonade contains swinging jazz numbers like the title tune and multipart songs like “After the Rain” (part stack-o-vocals harmonies with chamber orchestra, part punk rock mini-song, “Mud”).

Alphabet Parade, the first CD in Ms. Dill’s Music for Learning series, was released in 1998. The follow up, Rainbow Lemonade, came out in 2002, with a third title, Swingset Serenade, to appear this fall. Songs on Rainbow reference Alphabet, and I’m sure Swingset will incorporate ideas from both previous CDs, which will make owning all three that much more fun. The album artwork and layout for both albums are beautifully done, and the production on each is flawless, both great examples of self-released, indie kids’ music masterpieces.

Hot off the presses: Since the description in the first paragraph sounds suspiciously like an old time radio program, it only makes sense that Ms. Dill is at this very moment in negotiations with the University of Kansas’ KJHK 90.7 FM and National Public Radio to create a kids radio show taped live with an audience of children, and broadcast with additional songs and material interspersed throughout. Cool!