Wednesday 13 March 2013

Folk music for little folk - Megson

I see it as a pretty important role as a parent to open our children's eyes and ears to different cultural experiences, whether it be art; music; theatre or film.  I guess it's inevitable that Ruby will eventually find her own style, influenced by peers; friends and TV, but for now I want to expose her to as much variety as possible.

Ever since Bill Haley, Elvis Presley and the invention of Rock and Roll, it's been the natural order of things that parents hate their children's choice in music, but I'm hoping to keep her away from the over-synthesized, electronic, adult lyric based music that's in our charts now for as long as possible.

The new album by husband and wife folk duo Megson is a great new addition to our music collection.  A CD rammed full of children's songs, you can be sure there'll be no inappropriate words (no cringe-worthy episodes of "hey sexy lady" shouted at the bus stop.  No Gangnam Style grinding in the school playground) and the music comes from REAL instruments- accordion  guitar; fiddle; and banjo to name a few.  I genuinely worry that the 'yoof of today' are in danger of not being able to recognise what a string instrument looks like, let alone sounds like.

When I was a lad is a delightful mix of traditional nursery songs - like 5 little ducks and a frog he would a woo-ing go - together with some traditional songs, mainly from the north of England, and some of their own composition.

A lot of the songs struck a distant chord with me, and I suspect they are songs my Nana used to sing to me as a young baby.  Ditties like Dance to your Daddy and Oats and Beans and Barley-O, and I found that I seemed to subconsciously know the words already.

If we don't expose our little ones to this kind of music, what will they sing to their children?  Can you imagine them rocking their sons and daughters to sleep humming Olly Murs or Jessie J?  Will the traditional folk tunes and old Music Hall songs be forgotten forever?

Ruby's favourite from the whole album (which we've played many times) is one of Megson's own entitled All the shops have fallen down.  She loves it because it has "funny words"- I guess you can't expect a 5 year old to pick up on the nuances it makes about the decline of the British High Street and the breakdown of local communities...  Have a sneaky listen to this sound cloud.

We thought the album was beautiful.  Melodic, harmonic and innocent.  A real simple pleasure in our complicated world.

It's available to purchase from their website at £10 and they are also touring over the next few months, so we hope to catch them in Cambridge.

Disclosure: We were sent a CD for the purposes of this review however all opinions and views expressed are my own.

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