Tuesday, 15 June 2010

Cheery children's music from South Africa: Review of Beautiful Creatures

All week long I've been dancing around the house and the garden singing "It's just a Boom! Boom! Boom! to the left...wiggle your tail in the sunlight...a Boom! Boom! Boom! to the right... ". Much to the amusement of fellow customers at my local cafe I have also had an uncontrollable urge to sing it to myself while waiting for my coffee.

Let me explain - I have not actually lost it. Rather, I was recently sent a free download for a South Africa Children's music album, Beautiful Creatures, and was hooked from the first note.

The album features cheery, fun and educational children’s songs from Africa, introducing children to characters like "Invubu the Happiest Hippo", "Lucas the Lazy Lion", and "Wallace the Wondrous Warthog", among others. The idea behind Beautiful Creatures was to bring families together by creating music that children and adults alike would sing along with, dance to, and genuinely enjoy.

Beautiful Creatures songs are performed by some of the finest musicians and singers in South Africa, and the music has a very distinctive South African feel. The first track (Invubu the Happiest Hippo) is evocative of those days enjoying the warmth of Cape Town's sunshine watching some live street music, or the feeling I had when I saw Paul Simon's Graceland Tour on the TV. It's a beautifully written song, full of joy and silliness, and it is simply impossible to listen to it without dancing and singing along. From Hippo wiggling, you're taken on a journey through various musical styles and moods, including a warm song about why it rains, a beautiful African lullabye, and a weird but catchy introduction to lions that conjured up an image of Dr Frank N. Furter performing with The Beautiful South.

Overall I enjoyed the CD but wasn't blown away, so I would give the album as a whole 3.5 stars out of 5. Saying that, there simply aren't enough stars for the brilliant first track (Invubu the Happiest Hippo) so I'll have to settle for a 5 out of 5. Outstanding.

Click here to listen to or download Beautiful Creatures from the iTunes Store

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