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April 24, 2014

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Pick of the Day: Welcome to the Village! (CD)

star Pick of the Day: Welcome to the Village! (CD)welcome to the village Pick of the Day: Welcome to the Village! (CD)Welcome to the Village! CD. approx. 37 min. Prod. by Aya World Prods. Dist. by NewSound Music. 2012. ISBN unavail. $13.98.
PreS-Gr 4–The voices of hundreds of children can be heard on Aaron Nigel Smith’s latest recording. Best known for his work on the PBS show Between the Lions, Smith will surprise listeners as he skillfully mixes original songs with traditional and classical tunes that he arranged in this well-programmed, charming album. Opening with the traditional Nigerian song, “Fanga Alafia” (the title means welcome and blessings), it continues with wonderful arrangements of “Man Gave Names” (a Bob Dylan song that features solos by Laurie Berkner, Lucky Diaz, and Secret Agent 23 Skidoo), “One Love” (Bob Marley’s reggae/rhythm and blues classic), and “Sound the Trumpet” (Henry Purcell’s baroque duet features Smith and a boy soprano). Other highlights include Dan Zanes’s solo on “Grateful” and the traditional call-response song from Ghana, “Che Che Cole.” Smith has done an admirable job of making “Banana Boat Song” (the traditional Jamaican mento song) and “Wonderful World” (the Thiele/Weiss classic) his own. He closes with “Siyahamba,” a South African hymn whose title means “We Are Marching in the Light of God” in Zulu. Proceeds from the sale of the album will aid the Cura Rotary Home orphanage and school in Nairobi, Kenya.–Stephanie Bange, Wright State University, Dayton, OH

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