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

Aaron Nigel Smith ONE

Aaron Nigel Smith ONE

Fall 2016 Music
Ages: All Ages
CD Price: $9.99

Among the chief modern contributors to authentic reggae albums for children has been Aaron Nigel Smith, founder of FUNdamentals of Music and Movement, an arts program used in early education centers in Los Angeles, San Francisco, New York and Boston.

One, Smith's fourth album for children, offers eight original compositions and three fine covers. The collection opens with the joyful "Dance to the Reggae Rhythm," which also incorporates some nice Jamaican rap known as dub step. The title track is a song of positive vibrations in the mode of classic Bob Marley; "Banana Bread" may leave you with an overwhelming desire to do some baking.

"Loving & Kind" recalls the sweet Ska songs of the late sixties, while it offers lessons in compassion; "Jamaican Market Place" paints a vivid picture of a Kingston outdoor market, and "Natty Dreadlocks" explains the symbolism of Rastafarian hair, set to a very danceable beat. "Take Time in Life" is a traditional Liberian song of appreciation, arranged here in the mode of the old Melodians-style singles, while "Seasons" is possibly the only reggae song that references playing in the snow. "Clouseau" is a sweet song to a favorite pet, followed by a swinging rendition of Pete Seeger's seminal (If I had a) "Hammer." The album concludes with Harry Belafonte's love song to Jamaica, in the pastoral "Oh, Island in the Sun."

An exceptional cast of musicians back Smith, including reggae music icon, Ernie Smith, Dubtonic Kru, Ras I, Grammy Award-winning children's music performers Father Goose and Tommy Shepherd (Alphabet Rockers), as well as Smith's One World Children's Chorus.

Lahri Bond   ©2016 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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