Typically, when one thinks of children’s music, one doesn’t generally think of the likes of The Banana Plant. This Grammy nominated company recently released its sophomore release, Treasure Swamp: A Pop Opera. And for anyone that is looking for something away from the typical sing-a-long songs records that so many kids’ records are known for being, this new release is exactly that.
Treasure Swamp: A Pop Opera is a kids’ record. But it’s also a record that promotes environmental awareness without being preachy. This record boasts music from across the pop spectrum. There’s some pop, rock, blues, and even a touch of Zydeco, too. The different musical genres aren’t just tossed across the record, either. Each one is used to help identify the story’s different characters. It’s a musical style somewhat along the lines of the famed opus, Peter and The Wolf. For instance, the evil pirate and his monkey sidekick are identified with some really “mean” sounding guitars whenever he comes in. Not only does the music help to identify certain characters, they expertly set each scene, letting audiences know the emotion of the characters. One of the best examples of that is in the song , ‘Swamp Land.’ Petey and Pattie Possum solemnly sing of their pledge to defend the swamp against the evil, greedy pirate. The response by Petey and Pattie’s friends in ‘Plan A’ gives an immediate sense of urgency and optimism at the same time. By comparison, ‘Running Out of Ideas Blues’ does the job complete with an alligator that sounds strangely like jazz legend Louis Armstrong. This balance of music and lyrics will keep both kids and adults alike listening to find out what happens with the swamp and its inhabitants throughout the course of the near hour long story. The whole thing has a happy ending. And audiences will laugh when they discover what happens to the evil pirate.
Treasure Swamp: A Pop Opera is a wonderful piece of music both for kids and adults due to its overall construction. That it ties in a message of conservation without being preachy makes the record all the better. Far too often kids’ records are made with a very obvious intent. In the case of this release, audiences aren’t being preached to. Rather, they are being given an important message and being entertained at the same time. Neither the entertainment nor the message of ecological preservation outweighs the other, making it out to be one fun record for the whole family.
The balance of music with an environmental message is expertly executed with this album. The combination makes it a family friendly release. What makes it even better is that as expertly as it is executed, it could just as easily be translated into a visual format. It would be interesting to see this piece turned into a short, straight-to-DVD animated feature. That makes Treasure Swamp: A Pop Orchestra even better and more enjoyable. One can only see if an animated companion piece will be made from it. In the meantime, audiences can pick up the album in stores and online at http://www.thebananaplant.com/. Audiences can also follow all the latest from The Banana Plant at http://www.thebananaplant.com and http://twitter.com/bananaplantsong.
To get the latest entertainment reviews and news, go online to http://www.facebook.com/philspicks and “Like” it or its companion page, http://www.facebook.com/pages/Reel-Reviews/381028148587141. Fans can always get the latest entertainment reviews and news in the Phil’s Picks blog at https://philspicks.wordpress.com.