Happy Land Is Tierra Feliz
Happy Land is Tierra Feliz, a collection of 16 charming and very catchy songs in Latin, Rhumba and Flamenco styles, begins with the exuberant, electric and dance inducing “Happy Land,” before sliding effortlessly into the acoustic, days-of-the-week naming song “Dias De La Semana,” and the color naming rhumba of “Azul.” These songs set the pattern for the overall album, as Hamlet Meneses sings in either Spanish or English, seamlessly moving from one language to the other. Other favorites include the sound-making song “Go Go Go,” the sweetly scented flower song “Pajarito” and the pure celebration that is “Laila.” “Hola” examines many kinds of greetings and parting phrases, while “Cara Babeza” uses a melody borrowed from “Frere Jacques” and some Andrew Sisters-style backing vocals to teach the names of body parts, and “Rock Paper Scissors” is a riotously rhythmic nonsense song. “Los Instrumentos” surveys various instruments, “The Months of the Year” employ playful sound effects, and a rainforest environment is evoked in the willowy “La Lluvia.”
Meneses closes the portfolio with songs from the heart: the exquisite folk song “Love,” “Thankful” which expresses different forms of gratitude, and an elegant finale about appreciating simple things in “Little Fish.” This lovely album is co-produced with Grammy-winning producer Dean Jones of Dog On Fleas, and also features Latin percussionist Roberto Juan Rodriguez, guitarist Ken McGloin, violinist and vocalist Marianne Tasick, upright and electric bassist Jason Sarubbi, Jazz musician Charles Frommer, and young vocalist Rhys Ellis.
Lahri Bond ©2018 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.