Monday, June 30, 2008

Sleep Baby Sleep

It's been a week of sleep deprivation at the DJ B household as Miss B geared up for a very big step--her first day of preschool today.

During this hazy, crazy, wide awake pre-preschool week Miss B clung to old musical favorites, particularly her lullabye CDs from Nicolette Larson ("Sleep, Baby, Sleep") and Baby Einstein ("Lullaby Classics"), as well as "A Child's Gift of Lullabyes." She also kept playing my old Belly CD ("Star") and the nature sounds (water bubbling, birds chirping, etc.) that emanate from the Pak-n-Play attachment that is affixed to her crib.

Have no fear. Reviews will resume, hopefully later today, as sleep finally came (nearly a 12 hour stretch) at 8:30 last night.

Thursday, June 19, 2008

How about Schubert?

The third album that Miss B chose from the library on Saturday was Franz Schubert's "Piano Sonata in B Flat D960" performed by Leif Ove Andsnes and Ian Bostridge. She initially listened to this as she went to sleep on Saturday night. She didn't make any comments about it, but didn't complain, either. The next day before bed we asked her if she wanted to listen to Beethoven, Anita Baker or Schubert, and she said, "I want Schubert." Now, I'm not sure if she remembered what Schubert was, but it seems to be very acceptable night-time music for our little DJ. I think it's quite beautiful too.

Tuesday, June 17, 2008

Finger-Snapping Music from Elvis' Gal

The next album that piqued Miss B's interest was Diana Krall's "Live in Paris" release. This was the CD that she put in her boombox after initially rejecting Kronos Quartet. As soon as she heard the jazz vocals of Ms. Krall, DJ B began to dance. She then put her headphones on and started shaking one of her shaker egg instruments. She rocked out to it for awhile, but moved on as it got closer to nap time, requesting her current favorite "mama" Anita Baker.

DJ B gave Diana Krall another listen last night before bedtime. As my husband got Miss B ready for bed, he bopped along to Diana Krall, snapping his fingers and giving DJ B a quick lesson in the art of the jazz finger-snap.

Hooray for Bollywood

On Saturday Miss B and I hit a different branch of the San Francisco Public Library in order to scout out new CD selections. The shelves were tightly packed with goodies and DJ B's picks this week all had red spines. I'm starting to realize that she's drawn to items that stand out, so it should come as no surprise that many of her selections these first few weeks have red labels or spines.

When we got home the first CD that she wanted to hear was the Kronos Quartet and Asha Bhosle release "You've Stolen My Heart: Songs from R.D. Burman's Bollywood." Cool! This was the first thing that she's picked during this project that I was super excited to listen to.

DJ B's initial reaction was disinterest, though, and she stopped the CD before hearing even one song, quickly replacing it with another new CD.

Today, I again presented her with the 3 new CDs and she chose Kronos Quartet again. This time she responded quite favorably. She played with her stuffed princess castle, sat in a chair tapping her foot, then put her headphones on and grabbed her toy drum sticks. She proceeded to dance around the house, tapping her drum sticks on various surfaces while singing and dancing. I'm thrilled that she finally got into the Bollywood spirit!

Saturday, June 14, 2008

And the winner is...a Lady!

Miss B's third and final musical selection from her most recent library trip was "the Best of Anita Baker." When DJ B popped this CD into her boombox she immediately said, "I want to turn it loud. Wanna dance with me?" She asked, "What is this?" and I told her "Anita Baker," which she repeated for me. We danced for a little while, then she asked for the Christmas CD (from her previous library visit). I swapped the CDs in the player, but then a short time later she said, "I want the mama music. The dancing one." I asked her, "Anita Baker?" And Miss B replied, "Anita Baker."

Since then, she's been listening to Anita Baker pretty much non-stop and playing it very loud. Last night a babysitter came over to hang with Miss B and when my husband and I came home from our date, DJ B was asleep in her room with Anita Baker blaring from the boombox. In moments like that, I'm not sure if I agree with Rhino's description of her sound as "quiet storm R&B," but apparently for Miss B it is an album full of both dancing music and lullabyes.

DJ B Says "No Gracias" to Fonseca

The second CD that Miss B took a listen to this week was Fonseca's "Corazon." After putting it in her boombox she asked to be held in my arms. Super sweet. I took it as a sign that perhaps she was getting a Latin love vibe and since she was snuggling in and getting cozy, I thought that Fonseca might be a hit with her. But, after less than a minute she again wanted to move on to the next selection. We'll try to give this one another listen, but for now the Latin music of Fonseca is the losing album of the week according to DJ B.

Getting Fancy and Rocking Out to Beethoven

This week Miss B picked 3 more CDs from the public library at random (I just hold her up so she can reach higher points on the shelf). As far as I can tell the CDs at the library are simply filed alphabetically, with all genres mixed together, so we've typically ended up bringing home an eclectic mix of styles.

Of the 3 CDs this week, the first one that she wanted to listen to was Ludwig Van Beethoven's Triple Concerto and Septet from the Tonhalle Orchester Zurich, conducted by David Zinman and featuring Yefim Bronfman, Gil Shaham, and Truls Mork. On first listen, DJ B previewed the first track for about 30 seconds, then stopped it and wanted to move on to check out her other 2 CDs (she's such a radio music director in training!).

Yesterday we took a second listen to this and she wanted to get "dressed up" (in a fancy princess skirt, sunglasses, and feather boa) to dance to it. She listened to the entire CD and it seemed to be an appropriate soundtrack for dancing around her room in fancy garb. It's not her favorite CD of the week, but it definitely didn't get a thumbs down. As I'm writing this review, she came by and grabbed the CD out of the case and put it in her boombox. She cranked up the volume and is singing "knees and shoulders" (from "Head Shoulders Knees and Toes") while pushing around a doll stroller.

What do you do while listening to Beethoven?

Monday, June 9, 2008

Oh no! Baby Likes New Age

This weekend we had kind of a long car ride to the coolest retro amusement park ever. We trekked to Pixieland in Concord, CA for a friend's birthday party and Miss B had her first solo flight on a little plane ride. Who knew that 2 year olds could go on things like that alone? Beyond the excitement of the theme park, we had 90 minutes in the car (round-trip) for DJ B to dictate her music choices to us from the back seat. As we flipped through the numerous choices on XM satellite radio, most of the time she said, "I don't like that music" as she attempted to change the channel by reaching for her car window control button (luckily it's got a safety lock on it). She wasn't down with the choices on XMU (the college radio-ish station), the '70s station, or with some of the major hit songs that we scanned past, including Coldplay.

To our horror, the one song that rendered Miss B completely silent, and, to be honest, mesmerized, was Michael Hedges (eerie coincidence: he died in 1997 in a car accident near Boonville, CA where we often travel to) on what seemed to be a new age station. Now where are those radio station parental controls?!

Friday, June 6, 2008

No Ladies this Week? Miss B Rejects Country Pop

DJ B's third and final music selection for the first week of this project was The Cowboy Junkies' most recent studio album "At the End of Paths Taken." When I saw all three of her library selections, I actually guessed that she might like Cowboy Junkies the most. I'm fond of female vocals and Miss B has a number of lady artists in regular rotation on her bedroom boombox, including Cocteau Twins, Belly, and Vashti Bunyan. So, I was pretty surprised when she dismissed the Cowboy Junkies after only a few seconds of listening to it, never to request it again. I'd like her to give it a second chance, mainly because I'm curious to hear it as well. I hate to see her rejecting the band, as in the past there have been Cowboy Junkies tracks that I've enjoyed. Stay tuned to hear if she's willing to give them a second listen.

Who Doesn't Love Christmas Music in June?

While she was contemplating the possibilities on the shelf during her first music "shopping" trip at the library, Miss B pointed at this CD and said to me, "I want the red one." So, we checked this one out and when we got home realized it was Michael Crawford's "A Christmas Album." From the second she put this in her boombox, this became Miss B's overwhelming favorite of all the CDs that she checked out that first week.

On a daily basis she's been requesting "Christmas music." In preparing to write this blog I asked her,"What are your favorite CDs?" and she replied, "Christmas."

One day she also asked to look at her "Christmas book" while listening to the CD for nap time. In case you would like to embrace the season like Miss B, her book recommendation is DK's "My First Christmas Board Book."

Although this is Miss B's favorite release of the week, it's definitely my least favorite. But, until I'm able to sneak this CD out of the house, DJ B will be enjoying her holiday soundtrack, counting down the days until Christmas.

Miss B's First Selection: Chanticleer

Of the first batch of CDs that DJ B chose from the library on her initial music-seeking trip, the one that initially attracted her attention when we got home was Chanticleer's release "Magnificat: A Capella Works by Josquin, Palestrina, Titov, Victoria and Others." Miss B popped it into her CD player and seemed to really enjoy it. When we told her the name, she kept repeating it and requesting "Chanticleer."

According to their website, "Magnificat is Chanticleer's tribute to the many early compositions dedicated to Mary, Mother of God." Indeed, it's a very grand sounding spiritual release. What's sort of eerie is that Chanticleer was performing at the church where Miss B was christened (Mission Dolores in San Francisco) the same week that Miss B selected the CD from the library. No wonder she had a psychic connection to it.

Wednesday, June 4, 2008

DJ B's Random Mix Project

I've been a huge music fan (and college radio DJ) forever and that passion is definitely getting passed down to my 2-year-old daughter, who enjoys listening to music, playing instruments, and performing as our resident DJ with her silver and blue boom box. Recently Miss B's been getting a lot more specific about her preferences (like most 2-year-olds she's learned to voice her opinion), requesting albums by name, asking for specific songs like "Twinkle, Twinkle Little Star" and issuing commands to change the channel when we're listening to the radio in the car.

So, last week DJ B got her very first library card, which opened up a whole new musical world for her. After getting her new card, she promptly decided to head over to the library's CD collection to pick out some tunes. I was in a hurry and figured I'd just let her choose whatever she wanted from the shelves. Her criteria was what you might expect from a 2-year-old. For her first selection, she pointed and said, "I want the red one." The other two picks were just random grabs that she happened to be able to reach.

When we went to go check them out I realized not only that she'd chosen some random stuff, but also that there was something very refreshing about her curiosity about music. She was simply intrigued by having some new CDs to take home and wasn't initially judgmental about what might be inside.

Now Miss B and I have a project on our hands. This has inspired me to trek to the library every week to find hidden music gems. Of course DJ B will be in control, so the picks will be her random choices (some weeks she may not even be down with the project). We'll also write up reviews of what she thought of the music after she got it home and popped it into her bedroom boom box. Last week we picked up 3 albums and there were some definite winners and losers. Stay tuned for the first batch of reviews by me and DJ B.