Author, singer and musician, Mifflin Lowe has delighted kids from New Orleans to New England with his stories, poems and songs; while publishing books and CDs with Doubleday, Harper & Row, Price/Stern/Sloan and poetry in "Cricket" magazine. His performances include works from Beasts by the Bunches, The King Who Forgot his Underpants, Cowboy Kareem, Little Dog/Big Bark, Cat Tales and a new Christmas story, Wilton Wilberry's Magical ChristmasWishingWell. IN 2007, Mifflin presented a full length orchestral version of Beasts by the Bunches with the Syracuse Symphony Orcestra.
In February, 2004 Beasts by the Bunches was given a 5 star ***** rating and made "Pet of the week" by XMKIDS satellite radio. www.xmradio.com/pdf/xmkids.
Beasts by the Bunches was selected by www.kidzmusic.com as its featured work for May, 2004. (See following review.)
Mifflin Lowe, noted humorist and author, has ventured into the children's music market with a plethora of songs and poems about the strange and true names for groups of animals. Beasts By the Bunches employs a bevy of musical styles that fit the animals attitudes. The country-western feel of "A Rag of Colts" is appropriately wild and wooly, and it's easy to imagine some rough-and-tumble miners belting "A Labor of Moles," shovels and picks at the ready. "A Troop of Kangaroos" takes on a British music-hall feel, and Lowe's delivery is perfect on the clever poetry of "A Clowder of Cats." This clever collection tickles the funny bone and informs and educates as it goes.
October, 2004 review from "Whatzup."
Beasts By The Bunches
by Jason Hoffman
Mifflin Lowe is a lover of words. In his writings they playfully topple over each other like a kindle of kittens or a gaggle of geese. It's only fitting then that he should pen Beasts By The Bunches, a collection of poems celebrating the imaginative names given to groups of animals. As this is the music review page and not the book review section, Mifflin created a capricious collection of songs based on these poems, merely as a personal favor to me and the fruit of my loins.
A good idea of the whimsical wordplay to follow comes from the opening lyric: "Everyone's heard of a herd of cows." This track, "Beasts By The Bunches Theme," introduces the concept of the album with spoken word, sung chorus, a muppet marching band romp and a bevy of colorful musical timbres and animal noises. The following 18 tracks are an assortment of songs and dramatically read poems that attempt to join the character of the animal group in question to a style of music.
"A Smack of Jellyfish," a favorite in the Hoffman household, floats about on a simple piano accompaniment while silly sounds and a squishy show choir sings about the perils of being a clumsy jellyfish. What sounds like a group of male New Jersey backhoe operators sing an earnest song about "A Labor of Moles" and light, Celtic guitars and angelic voices accompany the inspirational "An Exaltation of Larks." The authentic country & western footstomper, "A Rag of Colts," tells the story of a rowdy bunch of quadrupeds ("They're impossible to stop / When they're feeling their oats") which is a perfect foil to the breezy mellow samba of "A Leap of Leopards." Other songs go in for show tunes ("A Muster of Peacocks") or vaudeville ("A Troop of Kangaroos"), jazzy rock ("A Pride of Lions"), Latin (the cowbell-driven "A Crash of Rhinos") or do-wop ("A Murder of Crows").
Seven of the tracks are dramatically enacted poems complete with sound effects, vibrant character voices and subliminal musical backing. "A Gaggle of Geese" is a fine example, read by the author who voices a variety of barnyard animals as they try to figure out just who strangled a gaggle of geese.
As you might surmise, a touch of Roald Dahl-type wickedly dark humor is present on Beasts By The Bunches, so you can be sure it will please your jaded tots and any pre-middle schoolers in your home, as well as certain parents who aren't afraid to teeter on the far side of normal. Mifflin Lowe proves himself to be an amicable, capable ringleader for this erratic musical adventure that brims with wonderfully written poems and imagination-sparking lyrics.
REVIEW FROM THE LOWELL SUN, LOWELL, MASS.
By NANCYE TUTTLE, Sun Staff
LOWELL -- Mifflin Lowe gets a kick out of kids.
So, after years in advertising, creating catchy ads and jingles, followed by a foray into humor writing for adults, he turned to penning tunes for tots.
Lowe makes his Boarding House Park debut Wednesday as the first act in the popular Free Fun for Kids Performance Series at the park.
The hour long performance, starting at 11 a.m., is the first in a five-week series of shows at Boarding House every Wednesday and Thursday through Aug. 11. (There are no shows during Folk Festival week).
"I like writing and performing for kids," Lowe said from his Newport, R.I., home. "They're fun."
So, too, is his music.
"He's a James Taylor-type, who tells a little story, then follows it up with a song," said John Marciano, director of this summer's series for Lowell National Historical Park, in a recent Sun article. "He's fun, entertaining and light-hearted, and I predict my 2-year-old will have a terrific time."
Marciano's child, and a host of other kids and their parents, too, Lowe hopes.
"I try to write and perform children's music that doesn't make parents puke," Lowe said candidly.
To that end, he incorporates various rhythms, from rap and rock to the samba, country-western, and even Gilbert and Sullivan in the music he writes.
"My songs are well-written and in lots of styles," said Lowe.
His first album, Beasts by the Bunches, employs a bevy of musical modes that illustrate various animal personalities.
"A Rag of Colts" has a country-western feel to it that's wild and woolly. You can imagine rough-and-tumble miners belting out "A Labor of Moles." And "A Troop of Kangaroos" takes on a British music hall feel.
The album garnered a five-star rating and was made "Pet of the Week" on XMKIDS satellite radio in February 2004. In May 2004, it was a featured monthly selection on www.kidzmusic.com.
Lowe hopes the praise will continue with The King Who Forgot His Underpants, his newest CD that's due later this summer.
"This has more rock 'n' roll in it and is part of my goal to do more crossover stuff," says Lowe.
At Boarding House, He'll perform tunes from Beasts, The King, plus Cowboy Kareem, his latest project.
And even though the gig is one of dozens he'll do throughout the summer in New England, he's delighted to get things going in Lowell.
Praise for "Beasts by the Bunches" from America's leading children's authors.
"A delightful collection of songs and poems. Some are funny, some are touching, all are clever and entertaining. A wonderful mix of silliness and insight."
Chris Vanallsburg, Caldecott Award winner, author of Jumanji and The Polar Express.
"Sheer fun... this gaggle of giggles will cause the same delight as a book by Dr. Seuss."
Barbara Girion, Winner of the American Library Association's Best Book award.
"From rap and Country & Western to samba and Celtic music, Beasts By The Bunches combines an incredible range of musical styles with an indisputable wit
Randy Harelson, author of Amazing Days.
Comments from librarians and educators.
"Your musical talent, intelligence and creativity are a winning combination. The students were all mesmerized by your songs... I especially loved the way you involved each of us in the sing-along parts of your songs... thanks for a every enjoyable evening."
Susan Trostle Brand, D.Ed, Professor of Education, University of Rhode Island.
"Mifflin skillfully pulled the audience into his songs, dances and stories, cleverly building on their responses, until everyone, parents and children alike, was involved and delighted."
Melody Allen, Director, Rhode Island Office of Information and Library Services.
Thanks for bringing smiles to all the kids in the hospital. We really enjoyed your visit. I would love to use your Beasts By The Bunches CD with the younger kids when we do an art project about animals.... a great tie-in. Thanks again for sharing your time and talent with us here at Hasbro. I will be bringing you back for sure."
Paula Most, Hasbro Children's Hospital, Providence, RI
"Your performance for the children at Newport Public Library was outstanding. The children loved your songs. They loved your story "The King Who Forgot His Underpants". They appreciated your generosity in giving them signed copies of your stories, too. Thanks for a wonderful musical afternoon."
Rowena Burke, Children's Librarian, Newport Public Library
"Wow! It was great! For the next week, one of our 4 year old couldn't stop talking about "The King Who Forgot His Underpants"....I think the parents enjoyed it as much as the children.
Donna Delahanty, Children's Librarian. Pollard Library, Lowell