Sing Books with Emily, the Blog

Archive for the ‘Artist Interview’ Category

This weekend, I got to see the excellent American Masters documentary about August Wilson:
AUGUST WILSON: THE GROUND ON WHICH I STAND

An actress performed the following short monologue from August Wilson’s play MA RAINEY’S BLACK BOTTOM which I found to be informative, inspiring, and thought provoking:

Ma Rainey says:

White folks don’t understand about the blues. They hear it come out, but they don’t know how it got there. They don’t understand that’s life’s way of talking. You don’t sing to feel better. You sing ’cause that’s a way of understanding life… The blues help you get out of bed in the morning. You get up knowing you ain’t alone. There’s something else in the world. Something’s been added by that song. This be an empty world without the blues. I take that emptiness and try to fill it up with something.

I don’t deny that white folks generally cannot grasp the struggles of African Americans. There is undoubtedly a deep rooted, yet often invisible, racism that white people just cannot see or perceive which is experienced by and oppressive to African American people.

However, what she says (what August Wilson has written) about singing can ring true of anyone. Everyone’s life has struggles and those struggles can make us despair. My only disagreement with Ma Rainey here is that one doesn’t sing to feel better. Though this may be true for the reason for singing the blues, I find that singing DOES make one feel better. Much, much better. I find singing and the sharing of song to be transformation and transcendent. The act of singing (alone or with others) elevates the spirit and changes an ordinary moment (maybe full of sadness, frustration or despair) and changes it into something of beauty, joy, wonder. The music fills up the empty space with glory. If I have any understanding of heaven, this is one of the first places I look to find it.

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Related Posts

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INFO AND THINKING ABOUT SINGABLE PICTURE BOOKS
https://singbookswithemily.wordpress.com/resources-for-inspiration-and-information/

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BLUES, THE BLUES
The Blues in Illustrated and Otherwise Musically Related Picture Books (yet another list inspired by Nikki)
https://singbookswithemily.wordpress.com/2013/03/29/the-blues-in-illustrated-and-otherwise-musically-related-picture-books-yet-another-list-inspired-by-nikki/

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August Wilson and a Monologue He Gives to Ma Rainey
https://singbookswithemily.wordpress.com/2015/02/23/august-wilson-and-a-monologue-he-gives-to-ma-rainey/

In December 2013, I had the wonderful pleasure to perform in Jill Leger’s musical revue called Christmas Again?!

Just a few weeks ago, she got a video from someone who attended one of the performances.  She writes marvelous, character and story driven songs.  Every song is a stand-alone 3 act play.

This is an addendum the post I wrote about the show:
Christmas Again?! A Holiday Delight!
https://singbookswithemily.wordpress.com/2013/12/18/christmas-again-a-holiday-delight/

If you’re looking for a song to sing that will show off your vocal or acting chops, check out the Jill Leger songbook.  You can see a revue’s worth of her songs in the video below:

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December 2013

Jill Leger’s Musical Review titled Christmas Again?!

https://singbookswithemily.wordpress.com/2013/12/18/christmas-again-a-holiday-delight/

Link to view video of the show:
https://vimeo.com/90691529
This video requires password:  Leger

Music and Lyrics by Jill Leger
Piano Accompaniment played Amy Conley

I got to sing 3 solos, group numbers and duets.  My favorites are I MAKE CHRISTMAS HAPPEN and MEADOWBROOK SPRINGS, two of the marvelous songs by Jill Leger, one funny, one to swell your heart:

  • CHRISTMAS AGAIN? (opening group number, seen at the very beginning)
  • I WANT (solo, the second number of the show)
  • I MAKE CHRISTMAS HAPPEN (solo, song starts at 30 minutes and 20 seconds into the video)
  • RETIRED AT LAST (duet, song starts at 37 minutes, 40 seconds into the video)
  • MEADOWBROOK SPRINGS (solo, starts at 50 minutes, 11 seconds into the video)
  • MY CHRISTMAS PUDDING (duet, begins right after MEADOWBROOK SPRINGS)

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Related Posts

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EMILY’S UPCOMING (AND PAST) PERFORMANCES:
https://singbookswithemily.wordpress.com/emilys-upcoming-performances/

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CHRISTMAS AGAIN!? This Weekend. Two Performances at Black Fox Lounge, DC
https://singbookswithemily.wordpress.com/2013/12/09/christmas-again-this-weekend-two-performances-at-black-fox-lounge-dc/

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CHRISTMAS AGAIN!? FACEBOOK PAGE:
https://www.facebook.com/events/415498988572801/

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CHRISTMAS AGAIN?!  Again, this time in a video.
https://singbookswithemily.wordpress.com/2015/02/22/christmas-again-again-this-time-in-a-video/

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VIDEO
For videos featuring “Sing Books with Emily” and Emily’s cabaret performances, visit:
https://singbookswithemily.wordpress.com/video-series/

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Something Martha Graham Said and My Friend Jill
https://singbookswithemily.wordpress.com/2012/06/02/something-martha-graham-said-and-my-friend-jill/

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The Sparrow, a Singable Book, an Interview and a Karaoke Sing-Along by Jill Léger (and an Exploration of Collective Nouns)
https://singbookswithemily.wordpress.com/2010/03/09/the-sparrow-a-singable-book-an-interview-and-a-karaoke-sing-along-by-jill-leger/

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CHRISTMAS AGAIN?!  Again, this time in a video.
https://singbookswithemily.wordpress.com/2015/02/22/christmas-again-again-this-time-in-a-video/

This post is an addendum to the post
TAKE ME HOME COUNTRY ROADS, AN ILLUSTRATED SONG
https://singbookswithemily.wordpress.com/2013/05/02/take-me-home-country-roads-a-singable-picture-book/

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I got to sing TAKE ME HOME COUNTRY ROADS (probably the number one favorite song in the Sing Books Repertoire) as one of my songs at the HEARTS AND DARTS Valentine Concert on Friday, 2/6/2015 at Maggie’s Cabaret.

It was a wonderful experience when the audience sang along with lots of heart and gusto. It is amazing how that song engages the hearts of so many.  One nice lady told me afterward that her daughter was born in Japan and sang that song when she was a little girl there.  She could not believe when she moved to the United States that people here sang that song in English!  So it seems that people all over the world are touched by the song and it’s expression of love for the roads that lead us home.

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take me home country roads
Take Me Home, Country Roads

Words and Music by John Denver, Taffy Nivert and Bill Danoff
Words Adapted by Christopher Canyon
Illustrated by Christopher Canyon
ISBN 978-1584690726

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Related Posts

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HEARTS AND DARTS at Maggie’s Cabaret, Friday, February 6, 1015
https://singbookswithemily.wordpress.com/2015/01/08/hearts-and-darts-at-maggies-cabaret-friday-february-6-1015/

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JOHN DENVER
The Singable Picture Books of John Denver
https://singbookswithemily.wordpress.com/2012/04/16/the-singable-picture-books-of-john-denver/

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Country Roads at Maggie’s Cabaret on 2/6/2015
https://singbookswithemily.wordpress.com/2015/02/12/country-roads-at-maggies-cabaret-on-262015/

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TAKE ME HOME COUNTRY ROADS, AN ILLUSTRATED SONG
https://singbookswithemily.wordpress.com/2013/05/02/take-me-home-country-roads-a-singable-picture-book/

I’ve run across illustrations for Shakers Songs and decided to collect them in a list.  The songs are so filled with love and there is much to be gained from knowing them.

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Shaker Boy
Traditional Hymns, Words and Music
Text by Mary Lyn Ray
Illustrated by Jeanette Winter

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shaker songs
Shaker Songs (a celebration of peace, harmony, and simplicity)
Compiled and Edited by Christian Goodwillie (with contributions from Joel Cohen)
Illustrations from Various Artists
Accompanied by CD with Performances by the Boston Camerata

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Simple Gifts ELEG for SBWE
Simple Gifts Song Sheet with Guitar Chords for SBWE
Words and Music by Elder Joseph Brackett
Guitar Chords and Arrangement by ELEG for SBWE
To view or print this song sheet, click here:
Simple Gifts ELEG for SBWE

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Simple Gifts (the shaker song)
Words and Music by Elder Joseph Bracket
Illustrated with Photographs by Solomon M. Skolnick

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Simple Gifts (The Shaker Hymn)

Words and Music by Elder Joseph Brackett
Illustrated by Chris Raschka
(You might also enjoy a post about “Simple Gifts at the White House“:
https://singbookswithemily.wordpress.com/2010/12/23/simple-gifts-at-the-white-house/
And other Related Posts as well.)
This song seems simple, but it is rich with profound ideas.  And you can sing it fast and you can sing it slow.  You can sing it in a round and you can sing it solo.  You can sing it a-capella or you with another fella…this song is simply a wonderful thing…

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A page for the Sing Books with Emily SINGABLE ADVENT CALENDARSIMPLE GIFTS
SBWE Advent Calendar simple gifts
Simple Gifts (The Shaker Hymn)
Words and Music by Elder Joseph Brackett
To view or print the SBWE Singable Advent Calendar sheet for “Simple Gifts,” click here:
SBWE Advent Calendar simple gifts

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Reading in the NY Times Sunday Art section May 2014, I found an article about the Wooster Group’s theatrical setting of the 1977 album EARLY SHAKER SPIRITUALS:

early shaker spirituals
Early Shaker Spirituals
United Society of Shakers

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Hear a clip of “‘Tis the Gift to be Simple” from this album:

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NY Times Sunday, 5/25/2014 article about the project:
http://www.nytimes.com/2014/05/25/theater/the-wooster-group-presents-early-shaker-spirituals.html?&_r=0

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Related Posts

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Simple Gifts, a Singable Picture Book:

https://singbookswithemily.wordpress.com/2010/12/10/simple-gifts-a-singable-picture-book/

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SING BOOKS WITH EMILY SINGABLE ADVENT CALENDAR
https://singbookswithemily.wordpress.com/2012/11/29/the-sing-books-with-emily-singable-advent-calendar/

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SIMPLE GIFTS, Continuing to Captivate and part of Wooster Group’s Staging of Shaker Spirituals
https://singbookswithemily.wordpress.com/2014/06/06/simple-gifts-continuing-to-captivate-and-part-of-wooster-groups-staging-of-shaker-spirituals/

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A Simple Gifts Song Sheet with Guitar Chords by ELEG for SBWE
https://singbookswithemily.wordpress.com/2014/07/26/a-simple-gifts-song-sheet-with-guitar-chords-by-eleg-for-sbwe/

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ILLUSTRATED SHAKER SONGS
https://singbookswithemily.wordpress.com/2015/02/08/illustrated-shakers-songs/

Not just Manhattan, this book sings about urban gardens in Chicago, Atlanta, Toronto, Seattle, and Washington DC.  The last pages called GREEN MATTERS give info about gardening in cities and list a few resources.  It’s a fun song, but you can learn about gardening in a city and even some geography, too.  The colorful pictures in the book draw you in with the activity of planting, growing and harvesting.  And I love Caspar Babypants’ recording of the song, with his friendly/funky voice accompanied by guitar and what sounds like a Hawaiian lap steel slide guitar giving some nice flavor.  I love this book.

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old manhattan has some farms cover
Old Manhattan Has Some Farms
Words by Susan Lendroth
Traditional Tune, Sing to the Tune of Old MacDonald
Includes a downloadable song from Caspar Babypants
Illustrated by Kate Endle

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Publisher Charlesbridge webpage for this book:
http://www.charlesbridge.com/productdetails.cfm?PC=5876

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Link to the song as performed by Caspar Babypants:
http://babypantsmusic.com/album/150469/old-manhattan-has-some-farms

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Interview with author Susan Lendroth about writing the book:
http://www.goodreadswithronna.com/2014/08/15/an-interview-with-susan-lendroth-author-of-old-manhattan-has-some-farms/

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Related Posts

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USEFUL TUNES IN THE PUBLIC DOMAIN
https://singbookswithemily.wordpress.com/2012/07/15/useful-tunes-in-the-public-domain/

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EARTH’S BEAUTY AND BOUNTY, STEWARDSHIP AND BEING GREEN

Celebrate Earth’s beauty and bounty, being green, and environmental stewardship with this lovely list of Singable Picture Books:
https://singbookswithemily.wordpress.com/2011/01/06/singable-picture-books-with-a-green-theme/

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GARDEN SING-ALONG
A list of songs to inspire us to look around us in a garden and enjoy, observe, appreciate and preserve the natural world around us

https://singbookswithemily.wordpress.com/2014/04/03/garden-sing-along-song-choices-for-singable-expeditions-at-tuckahoe-elementary-or-for-any-garden-sing-along/

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Old MacDonald in Singable Picture Books
https://singbookswithemily.wordpress.com/2010/07/17/%E2%80%9Cread-sing-play-abc-sing-along%E2%80%9D-a-singable-book-letter-p-tune-of-%E2%80%9Cold-macdonald-had-a-farm%E2%80%9D/

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Caspar Babypants Songs For Books Webpage:
http://babypantsmusic.com/songs-for-books

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Sing Books With Emily’s Top 10 Favorite Illustrated Songs of 2014 (and a few others, too)
https://singbookswithemily.wordpress.com/2014/12/05/sing-books-with-emilys-top-10-favorite-illustrated-songs-of-2014-and-a-few-others-too/

This post is under construction…

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senor pancho had a rancho
Señor Pancho Had a Rancho (and Old MacDonald)
Words by René Colato Laínez
Illustrated by Elwood Smith
978-0-8234-2632-4

Open the book. You’ll find two farmers.  OLD MACDONALD on the left page and SENOR PANCHO on the right.  The barnyard animals make different sounds in Spanish than they do in English, and making this point with hilarious illustrations makes for a very funny book.

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Publisher Holiday House’s webpage for this book:
http://www.holidayhouse.com/title_display.php?ISBN=9780823426324

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Author René Colato Laínez writes about what inspired him to write SENOR PANCO
http://fullcirclelit.blogspot.com/2013/09/the-story-behind-story-meet-old.html

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Publisher Holiday House created this adorable Spanish animal sounds match up sheet as an activity to go with the book:
http://www.holidayhouse.com/docs/HH_Senor_Ver2.pdf

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Related Posts

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OLD MACDONALD in Singable Picture Books
https://singbookswithemily.wordpress.com/2010/07/17/%E2%80%9Cread-sing-play-abc-sing-along%E2%80%9D-a-singable-book-letter-p-tune-of-%E2%80%9Cold-macdonald-had-a-farm%E2%80%9D/

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FUNNY SINGABLE PICTURE BOOKS

That’s Hilarious! A List of Singable Picture Books that’ll Crack You Up!
https://singbookswithemily.wordpress.com/2011/08/24/thats-hilarious-a-list-of-singable-picture-books-thatll-crack-you-up/

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SPANISH
Singable Picture Books with Songs in Spanish
https://singbookswithemily.wordpress.com/2013/08/25/singable-picture-books-with-songs-in-spanish/

This post is an addendum to:
FOX WENT OUT ON A CHILLY NIGHT
https://singbookswithemily.wordpress.com/2011/04/05/the-fox-went-out-on-a-chilly-night-an-old-folk-song-and-a-singable-picture-book/

Addendum 11/28/2014

Peter Spier’s inimitable illustration is reissued in 2014, with artwork restored this illustrated song classic again shines gloriously.  In previous edition, half the pages were black and white.  Peter Spier went back to his original classic pictures and recolorized everything and added color where previously the pages were just black and white. This is very exciting!  It’s one of the kids’ favorite songs in classrooms and they are going to love this reissue.

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2014 reissue cover for FOX WENT OUT ON A CHILLY NIGHT
fox went out on a chilly night spier 2014
Fox Went Out on a Chilly Night (An Old Song), 2014 Reissue
Traditional Words and Tune
Illustrated by Peter Spier

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Article about the reissue, here:
http://www.ala.org/alsc/awardsgrants/bookmedia/caldecottmedal/caldecotthonors/1962honorfoxwentoutchillynight

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More about the reissue from publisher in Canada:
http://penguinrandomhouse.ca/books/249418/fox-went-out-chilly-night#9780385376167

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Visit Amazon to “Look Inside” and see some of the new pages:
http://smile.amazon.com/Fox-Went-Out-Chilly-Night/dp/0385376162/ref=sr_1_2?ie=UTF8&qid=1417285215&sr=8-2&keywords=peter+spier+2014

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Peter Spier Author Video for 2014 Reissues of Some of His Work on Random House Publisher’s Website:
http://www.randomhousekids.com/videos/cnr5u7t9f_c-peter-spier-author-video#.VHoORDHF-So

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FAVORITE SINGABLES ON PINTEREST
Of the hundreds (maybe thousands) of choices, this list onPinterest displays the top blockbuster favorite Singable Picture Books that we warble together at Sing Books visits:
http://pinterest.com/singbooksemily/

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FATHER FOX’S PENNYRHYMES AND FATHER FOX’S FEAST OF SONGS, SINGABLE PICTURE BOOKS AND PRINTED MUSIC, TOO!
https://singbookswithemily.wordpress.com/2011/08/05/father-foxs-pennyrhymes-and-father-foxs-fest-of-songs-singable-picture-books-and-printed-music-too/

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The Fox, a Crafty Character for Singable Picture Books

https://singbookswithemily.wordpress.com/2011/09/26/the-fox-a-crafty-character/

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FOX WENT OUT ON A CHILLY NIGHT
https://singbookswithemily.wordpress.com/2011/04/05/the-fox-went-out-on-a-chilly-night-an-old-folk-song-and-a-singable-picture-book/

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WATSON FAMILY

Singable Picture Books from Nancy Dingman, Aldren A., Clyde and Wendy Watson
https://singbookswithemily.wordpress.com/2011/08/25/singable-picture-books-by-the-watsons-nancy-dingman-aldren-a-clyde-and-wendy/

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PETER SPIER
The Singable Picture Books of Peter Spier
https://singbookswithemily.wordpress.com/2012/06/29/singable-picture-books-of-peter-spier/


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