Parents' Choice Foundation: Reviewing Children's Media Since 1978



Fall 2015 Music
Ages: 5 - 9 yrs.
CD Price: $15.00

Joanie Leeds and the Nightlights deliver a baker's dozen of well-crafted and skillfully performed songs that also introduce some Hebrew language words and Jewish traditions. The CD begins with the playful title track, where everyone becomes "Meshugana" (crazy people), while "Ahava" (love) celebrates the closeness of family and community. Inspired by a famous Beatles song, "Hello, Goodbye, Shalom" cleverly explains how one word can have two meanings, while "Honey and Apples" serves as both a sweet love song, and a tune that evokes Rosh Hashanah. "Al Cheit," is a lovely song about forgiveness during the time of Yom Kippur, "Sukkah Shake" transforms into a 60s dance party tune, and "Spinning" compares the wild energy of childhood to that of a spinning dreidel.

For a change of pace, Leeds and company apply a country western vibe to "Tu Tu Tu B'Shevat," a song about the tradition holiday to celebrate the New Year for the Trees. "Haman" takes an unusual approach as Leeds sings about wanting to play the "bad guy," for a change, in the yearly Purim play. One of the album's true highlights is Leeds's amazing adaption of the old spiritual "Wade in the Water" transformed into a Passover tale called "Mi Chamocha." The album begins to wind down with a suite of songs about bedtime preparation, including the twangy "PJ Party," and the lovely acoustic folk of "Lila Tov" (good night). This collection ends with the celebratory "Mayim," that evokes the elements of water, wind, earth and fire, to remind children of their place in the natural order of the Earth and the universe.

Leeds's striking voice and superior musicianship is fully evident and the highly adept Nightlights back her throughout. The CD comes in eco-packaging, complete with excellent art, full lyrics and translations of key Hebrew words used.

Lahri Bond   ©2015 Parents' Choice
Lahri Bond is a father, a writer, music historian and an art professor in Western Massachusetts. His published books include Spinning Tales Weaving Hope (with the Stories For World Change Network) for New Society Press and People of the Earth (coauthored with Ellen Evert Hopman) for Destiny Books.

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Joanie Leeds Music for Kids

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