Tuesday, August 23, 2016

Vote For Jim Gill?

Two years ago I began working on a new musical game that would involve words that referred to body parts, but also had other meanings.  Words such as "back," "nose (knows)," and, of course, "rear." 

After compiling a list of words that would fit my scheme I began to construct rhyming phrases.

Lets knuckle down and cut the waste.
Shoulder burdens that we face.

At first I was thinking only of the opportunity for listeners to cheerfully focus on the active playbending knuckles and pointing to their waists, shoulders and faces.  Anyone familiar with my songs knows that creating movement games like this, in the context of rhymes, is my signature style. 

I soon realized, however, that the rhyming phrases I was creating sounded more and more like a campaign speech and, with a smile, I playfully pursued that approach.  The result is "Vote For Jim Gill," a song in which the lyrics all reference body parts, but also reference the sorts of promises we hear during election season from candidates. 

Give the song a listen and you'll hear a whole series of empty statements and promises that you might hear other candidates say out on the campaign trail.  But I am the only candidate that could have strung them together in ridiculous rhyme and created an active movement game out of them as I did.  Thats a fact.

Who would have guessed that this year I would be the one candidate that so many people can....well....get behind. 

The song is just one of 14 new musical games on the recording.  There are finger plays, sing-alongs and jump-alongs.  The songs were created as opportunities for children and the adults that work with and care for them -parents, grandparents, care givers and educators - to sing and play together. 

"Vote For Jim Gill"  is a challenging listening game for young children and might also, perhaps, help adults maintain a sense of humor during this election season.  My hope is that this game gets played on and on for years when this current election is just a distant memory.

Thursday, February 4, 2016

I Have a Favorite

I have a favorite.

It is not a favorite CD of  mine.

It is not a favorite song.

It is a favorite moment.

At each of my concerts there is a point at which I sing my song “Face The Facts,” an active movement game with some silly word play:

We must face the fact. Our swimming arms are back.
They are splashing, flapping, stretching, lapping one full mile exact.
We must face the fact. Our swimming arms are back.

Watching everyone rousingly pantomime "swimming arms,"  "scissor legs," and "driving hands" is fun….but those moments aren’t my favorite. 

My favorite moment is when I look out at the children, parents and grandparents as I sing:

We must face the fact. Our binocular eyes are back.
They are peering, peeking, scanning, seeking needles in haystacks.
We must face the fact. Our binocular eyes are back. 

I break into a smile at every concert as I see each family’s “binocular eyes”….not on me, but on each other.  Moms and dads make silly faces as they peer into the eyes of their children and the children excitedly stare back with “binocular eyes” of their own.   Grandparents join in the play as well.  As the verse ends it is not unusual for everyone to sneak in a little hug before the next verse. 

This moment, at each concert,  reminds me why I picked up a banjo and started strumming.  Unlike most musicians, it’s not because of the music.  It is because music provides so many opportunities for children, parents and grandparents to play together.