Young Avenue Kids, the brainchild of South African born Ilana Melmed, has released what is one of the year’s best children’s albums. It is a compilation of classical pieces written by great composers such as Rossini, Strauss, Hayden and others. The album came about as a result of Ilana’s lifelong passion for classical music and opera. Given, most of the songs included on this album are not the full works that most classical music aficionados know. But they do make for a suitable introduction to a whole new world of music for young listeners who would otherwise likely not give classical music a chance. A prime example of this is the compilation’s opener, ‘Blast Off With Suppe.’ This piece provides only a little over ninety seconds of what is in reality a roughly seven minute-plus work. So no one involved in cutting its length down can be criticized for that, especially considering the length of younger listeners’ attention span. The inclusion of lyrics and young people singing said lyrics makes the song clips chosen for this record all the more relatable for younger audiences.
The music itself is just one part of what parents and kids alike will enjoy about this record. While it is in essence one more way to introduce young audiences to the joys of classical music, the record also boasts a pair of songs that not only are classical pieces, but also are songs that promote positive lifestyles. One uses a classical backing to encourage young people to clean up their messes. The other does much the same. Only this time, instead of promoting cleanliness, cleanliness in terms of personal oral hygiene is promoted. To say that this is smart would be an understatement.
The use of classical music to promote both itself and healthy lifestyles is very smart when presenting this genre of music to audiences who would otherwise be more interested in the next big pop sensation. So this record already has two positives to its reputation. It has one more positive that should be noted. That positive is the album’s sequencing. The same songs used in the first half of the album are brought back again for the album’s second half only with a minor tweak. That tweak is that they are presented sans children singing and with an introduction on each composer by the children instead. Yet again, this maintains the album’s ability to relate to young listeners and vice versa. Again, not all of the songs are presented as they might be on one’s public radio station. But they are still just enough to hopefully grab the interest of the album’s key audience and keep them turned on to classical music. And that is what is most important. It is the goal of the album. Given the opportunity by parents, it will achieve that goal, too. Whatever I Want To Be will be available May 28th. Kids and their parents can check out pieces of the songs on this compilation now online at http://www.yougnavenuekids.com/CD/html. Parents and kids can also find out all the latest on this CD and more from Ilana Melmed on the official Young Kids Avenue website, http://www.youngavenuekids.com.
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