RAZZMATAZZ FOR KIDS' second CD, "Suitcase full of Songs," has won the East Coast Music Award for "Children's Recording of the Year 2003" and the Music Industry of Nova Scotia's Award for "Children's Artist of the Year 2003." The CD was also nominated for a Canadian Independent Music Award in 2002, and was awarded an "Our Choice" designation by the Canadian Children's Book Centre.
From front-porch country banjo to pizzicato violin minuet, from blues to a square dance, from waltz to Klezmer, from calypso to Cajun, this is a "Suitcase full of Songs" with many surprises. RAZZMATAZZ provides a musically sophisticated sound that entertains parents while delighting their children. "The Chicken Pox Blues" combines bluesy fiddle playing and children "bauk-ing" like chickens. "Sleeping Over" provides a Latin rhythm to keep you entertained while waiting for your friend to arrive. "Banjo" asks a shy banjo, whether it wants to join the band. "Chugga Choo Choo" brings a Cajun flavour to a song about a toy train, "J'ai vu le loup", with an introduction in English and French, tells the story of a walk in the forest, and discovering a wolf, a fox, and a weasel. "Alle Brider", sung in Yiddish, invites participation in singing the "aye, aye, aye" chorus. There are lots more surprises, as there are 19 songs on the CD!
T.C. (Thomas Cormier) and Sandy Greenberg sing most of the songs, while their daughter, Lise, is featured on two, and instrumentalist Gordon Stobbe leads one, teaching the kids how to play the fiddle. Fiddle, banjos, mandolin, accordion, and rub-board are played by Gordon; guitar, washboard, and additional rub-board by Sandy; and harmonica by T.C. Bruce Jacobs provides the electric bass, Tom Roach the percussion and drums, and Bruce Chapman adds piano and more accordions. T.C. and Sandy's son, Dominic, plays the saxophone, and a chorus of children adds to the flavour of the CD.
The original songs are mainly composed by Sandy and T.C., with one tune by Gordon, one song by Halifax songwriter Rose Vaughan, one by Metis fiddler Calvin Vollrath, and a collaboration between Sandy on another song with Frank Taylor (The Flying Scotsman) of Fredericton, New Brunswick. Gordon Stobbe, master of many styles and instruments, adds sparkle to every song with his musicianship and arrangements. Musical influences in this group of original and traditional songs are traditions of Europe, and North and South America. RAZZMATAZZ FOR KIDS also delves into T.C.'s Acadian roots, with their connection to the Cajuns of Louisiana, and Sandy's Jewish traditions, as well as poems from her childhood.
In their highly energetic and interactive live shows, Razzmatazz for Kids blends exciting music, participatory songs, and comedy with original and traditional songs, featuring vocals, guitar, fiddle, mandolin, banjo, harmonica, and percussion. Known for their wackiness, they introduce children to a wide range of "roots" music in styles such as Folk, Acadian, Celtic, Klezmer, Cajun/Zydeco and Blues. A broad cultural mix, their show includes songs in French and Hebrew.
Thomas Cormier (T.C.) is the front man of the group--a singer, songwriter, and comedian. "Flinging his spidery legs in all directions, Razzmatazz's Thomas Cormier ("T.C.") Looks like a dangerously out-of-control jumping jack. The kids . . . loved him." (Stephen Pedersen, The Halifax Herald). Sandy Greenberg sings, plays guitar, and writes songs for Razzmatazz. ".. her sense of genuineness . . . really connects with the listener. Her Joan Baez-like alto has an impressive, expressive range; her acoustic guitar style is clear and consistent." (Ron Foley Macdonald, The Daily News). Gordon Stobbe, "...legendary fiddle player" and "stringband specialist" (The Halifax Herald) rounds out the group. Recording artist, composer, teacher, and author of fiddle instruction books and CD's, Gordon is well known for his long-running Canadian TV program, "Up Home Tonight."
The performing career of this group has taken them from their home base in Halifax, Nova Scotia, as far as Lafayette Louisiana (Festival International de Louisiane), Nacadoches, Texas (Stephen F. Austin State University), Greenwich, Rhode Island (Snap Bean Music Festival), London, Ottawa, and Thunder Bay, Ontario (Children's Festivals), as well as hundreds of performances in the Atlantic Provinces of Canada. They were invited to perform for U.S. First Lady, Laura Bush, and the Canadian Prime Minister's wife, Aline Chrétien, along with students at the National Library in Ottawa. They have appeared at prestigious events such as "Atlantic Scene" in Ottawa, East Coast Music Awards, Stan Rogers Festival, Kids on the Waterfront Festival, and the Rebecca Cohn Auditorium in Halifax with Symphony Nova Scotia. They have been featured on CBC Radio's "Atlantic Airwaves", and on a CBC TV Newsworld's arts documentary. One of their songs, "Going to my Grandma's" was made into a video for Sesame Street, and was included in a compilation, "Smile Songs", produced by the Canadian Independent Record Producers Association.
Razzmatazz's first recording is the self-titled "Razzmatazz for Kids", which received a Parent's Choice "Recommended" Award, an East Coast Music Awards nomination, a finalist designation by the Children's Music Web Awards, and a Canadian Children's Book Centre "Our Choice" award.
"Captivating the attention and imagination of over 1000 children, Razzmatazz electrified the Jubilee's most successful children's event ever. . .
Razzmatazz delivers quality children's entertainment!
Emma Stewart, Chair, Riverfront Jubilee -
MIANS 2002 Event Co-ordinator Of The Year
"Witty and substantial songs with an irresistible atchiness.
The intense combination of inspired whimsy, pure silliness, traditional tunes delivered by strong musicianship and warmth of personality make Razzmatazz For Kids a superior example of a limited genre."
Ron Foley Macdonald, The Daily News, Halifax, Nova Scotia
"Their performance is a gift. Everyone in the audience takes part in the non-stop, delightfully fun,foot-stomping, hand-clapping, everything gesturing, show. The children
sang and giggled through the hour-long performance and reluctantly waved good-bye when all was 'sang' and done. Aren't we lucky to have such a tremendously talented children's musical group on our doorstep."
Parents'n'Kids Magazine, Halifax, Nova Scotia
"One of our committee members (a retired teacher)
raved about your performance. There was apparently a group of special needs children in the audience, and she
couldn't say enough about how you were able to capture the entire audience."
Pat Finch, Director, International Children's Festival
"A delightful, meaningful, truly excellent performance . . .
The singing, instrumental playing, dancing, and stories were all of the highest calibre and truly impressive all around. The entire audience was fully engaged from the first note to the last,and a rollicking good time was had by all."
Amanda Carol Cantrell, Music Teacher, Carrboro Elementary, North Carolina
"It is difficult to motivate a divergent group of
all grades from Primary through six. . . your show accomplished that. The variety of musical styles and
instruments provided for both educational and ntertainment components. The caliber of the music was of high quality, especially the fiddle playing. One thing which has always impressed me . . . is the interactive nature of your shows.
(The children) truly remember and appreciate the performance more when they are involved."
Ann Moore, Principal, Bayview Community School, Lunenburg, Nova Scotia
"I have seen Razzmatazz in live performance and am very impressed with their ability to maintain the interest of their audiences both young and old. Their presentation is educational, fast-moving, and frequently changing with good audience participation. All members of Razzmatazz are
highly qualified musically with excellent skills in stage presense,acting and interaction with each other and their audience. This group is well respected within the music industry and by their peers. I highly recommend them."
Ivan Hicks, teacher, musican, entertainer, Riverview, New Brunswick
"Children, parents, and teachers alike expressed great enthusiasm for Razzmatazz after the show and sent many favourable comments to the NBAC office. I would not hesitate to recommend Razzmatazz for any Young Audience, family or school show."
Nancy Schell, Executive Director, New Brunswick Arts Council