“If we are to attain real peace in this world we must begin with the children.”
“Singer/songwriter Charity Kahn and her jammin’ band create soul and rock ‘n’ roll vibes authentic enough for any adult fan, but not at the expense of the young target audience … This is one memorable – and happily repeatable – album.
– Parents’ Choice® Gold Award review
"Charity and the JAMband harness enough energy to light up the national power grid.”
– FamilyFun magazine
SAN FRANCISCO, CA (Aug. 12, 2012) –San Francisco’s award-winning tribe of family musicians, Charity and the JAMband, take lovingkindness, compassion, joy, equanimity, patience, understanding, generosity, community, intention, non-harming, gratitude, respect, mindfulness, waking up, truth, and peace for ALL, and wrap them in a powerful musical package with the Fall 2012 release of their fifth studio CD, Family Values. (Raindrop Records, $14.99, for ages 3 - 9, run time 48 minutes).
The “family” part of Family Values includes all of us, and the values are a description of precisely how we all want our children to be. But the artistic integrity of the music is what brings the compelling message to a level that allows Charity and the JAMband to shine as never before, giving full rein to their astonishing ability to span everything from heartfelt contemplation to full on, raging rock ‘n’ roll. The album’s dramatic scope and unity of design make it seem more like the soundtrack to a hit musical than just another kids’ CD. Charity and the JAMband are known for their funky and unforgettable grooves, stick-in-your-head melodies, and lyrics that talk up to kids. Cool Mom Picks’ Christina Refford enthused about the band’s 2010 release, Party Like a Twinkle Star, “Sure it’s for kids, but it is strong stuff for anyone to resist.”
Family Values is a celebration of coming together as one big family, united by common basic needs set against the backdrop of rich cultural textures and expressed by song, dance, and love. Musically, the album takes listeners on a thrilling journey through in-your-face rock ‘n’ roll epics, optimistic acoustic anthems of mutual aid, gentle ballads, and joyful sing-alongs. Philosophically, Family Values seeks to communicate to children that the challenges confronting our world at this time are of vast proportion. However, the precepts employed never cross the border to become preachy or commonplace. Throughout, Charity and the JAMband achieve a remarkable balance between the music’s urgent message and its playful, magical exuberance and joy. Every song is presented with intelligent musicality and heartfelt passion.
The first sound heard on Family Values is that of a phonograph needle engaging with a vinyl recording of a “Peace Pledge” to the accompaniment of a Mellotron (à la “Strawberry Fields Forever”), a ‘60s reverie of the hopes and dreams of a more equitable, peaceful world recast in the tones of our new millennium. This pledge runs head on into a wall of sound that is the heavy rhythm groove of the album’s title track, which sums up the philosophy of the CD in a way that uses different musical language (heavy metal and rap-like spoken lyrics juxtaposed with flowing melodic voices in choral harmony) to get the point across that “We’re all different, so unique, yet we’re all the same deep, deep, deep, down.” Dramatic musical contrast is drawn with the next song, “Lovingkindness,” a meditation on the different ways of expressing love that features an uncomplicated, child-like folk music setting provided by mandolin, guitar, pennywhistle, and the crystal clear voice of Charity Kahn.
As a composer, Charity Kahn is able to craft settings of her songs that emphasize stylistic contrast to continually rejuvenate the story of the music. This is apparent in the next song, “Lemonade,” which presents a hoary fable from ancient times dressed in the somewhat dark colors of electric guitar, bass, and percussion, alternating with a chorus imbued with a light, airy vocal quality, based on a melody similar in its sweetness to “The Wheels on the Bus.” The tale continues with contrasting sections that include one of the band’s signatures, a joyous jam session. Every song on Family Values has its own unique personality, from the spunky beat of “Bike” to the intimate qualities of “Love Is Here” and the heavy jamming groove of “Ice Cream,” to the minor key, bluesy nuance of “Flower Power.” Family Values is storytelling and musical jamming at its very best.
Explains Charity Kahn, “Creating this album was a political, educational, and ultimately spiritual journey. I wanted to sing about the human condition in a way that pointed toward redemption, healing and love, and that crafted a musical and philosophical world families could experience and integrate together. These songs distill my deepest intentions and highest hopes as a mother, an artist, and a human being into one simple act: to walk the path of peace and hold out my hands to those I meet along the way.”
Charity Kahn has a degree in math from Stanford, has co-authored a book on math and music, and used to be a software engineer in the technology industry. Becoming a mom opened the door to a new life of musical devotion and creation and allowed her to live her real passion. Since 2004, Charity and the JAMband have been bringing the rock ‘n’ roll experience to families, touching the hearts and inspiring the dancing feet of this generation’s breed of family music lovers.
Charity and the JAMband recordings include Party Like a Twinkle Star (2010, NAPPA Gold Award, Parents’ Choice® Silver Honor Award), Rock Your Socks Off (2006, Parents’ Choice® Gold Award, Children’s Music Web Gold Award, Fids & Kamily Award), and Peanut Butter and JAM (2004, Parents’ Choice® Approved Award). Charity Kahn previously released two albums: JAM: Music for Movement with Children (2002) and firstborn (1999).