CD Review by Parents' Choice Foundation:
If you want a cool way to introduce participatory musical experiences to children, this new CD by renowned drummer and author Devin Walker may be just the ticket. His current interactive live show seeks to unite children through drumming and the art of storytelling, and use of culturally connected styles of music, such as jazz, funk, reggae, rap, hip-hop, Latin and African music. His self-stated goal is to teach children music that will lead toward their personal, cultural and social development.
The album highlights ten original, percussion-driven songs, and also makes good use of spoken word, and occasional "response characters" who sound like a cross between Donald Duck and the helium-voiced denizens of the world of Parliament-Funkadelic. "The Uncle Devin Theme Song," traces the history of the drum, and the importance of rhythm, while "Africa" celebrates not only the birthplace of percussion music, but also some of the world's most important cultural touchstones. "Good Health is Happiness" is a reggae infused ode to healthy habits; "I Like Onions" celebrates the only vegetable that will make you cry, while "The Victory Horn" takes a rap style approach towards self confidence and persistence of goals. Likewise, "Don't Put Your Business on the Internet" dispenses some good advice, using hip-hop, and "Me and My Drums" celebrates Devin's instrument of choice, while imparting some personal biography, all set to a deceptively simply song structure.
"Just One of Those Days" is sort of a funky tale about Murphy's Law, and how to cope when things go wrong, which would not sound out of place on a Victor Wooten album. Elsewhere, "Tell the Truth," is a cautionary story about lying. The album ends with the wonderful "Drum Roll Call," where Uncle Devin demonstrates percussive vocalizations along with his drum patterns.
Uncle Devin's Drum Tales takes an innovative and progressive approach to music, self-awareness, confidence and fun, and is a wonderful album that children, parents and educators will all find beneficial.
Lahri Bond ©2013 Parents' Choice