Monday, December 21, 2009

Swiffering and Irish Dancing to Maria Muldaur

We're getting those pesky hold notices from the library again, as some music-loving patron is jonesing for a fix of a certain CD that's in our possession. Since I have way too much guilt in my life already, I figured I better get DJ B to review Maria Muldaur's "Heart of Mine-Love Songs of Bob Dylan" before we get more intimidating emails from the library.

While we were cleaning the house yesterday, I slipped this CD into the player. It attracted ZERO notice from Miss B. She was much more fixated on cleaning our kitchen floor with a Swiffer. When track 10 came on ("I'll Be Your Baby Tonight") she reacted for the first time, as she bounced briefly through the room. She said, "I know it's dancing music" and then wandered off, collecting ornaments and placing them into a Christmas stocking. After hanging her stocking up she announced, "I'm going to bed" and asked, "Mama. What's in my stocking for Christmas?" and then screamed "Open it!"

She continued with her projects around the house and only reacted again when she heard the beginning of the final song ("You Ain't Goin' Nowhere"). She jumped up yelling, "Mmmmm. Irish dancing!" and then began to do an Irish dance. After a few moments she returned to making Christmas cards, but got to her feet again at the end of the song (when she heard a fiddle) and danced before bowing at the end of the piece.

Thursday, December 3, 2009

Miss B Discovers Vintage Children's Music

The Creepiest Record of the Lot-- "Ring Around A Rosy"

I recently got access to a bunch of vinyl records from my childhood; including some classic children's records from the likes of Mr. Rogers and Disneyland Records. I ended up playing bits and pieces from this collection on my radio show a few weeks back and was very curious to see what DJ B would think of this material.

I hadn't heard these records for decades and I was struck by a few things. The instrumentation on many (especially the Disney records) reflected popular sounds of the day, so it was a treat to hear beatnik bongos and crazy dour organ. At the same time, some of the records (especially "Ring Around a Rosy") had creepy un-PC moments best kept shielded from young ears.

I had Miss B take a listen to the tracks that I played on my radio show. When she heard some selections from "Ring A Round A Rosy," she smiled immediately, saying, "the mulberry bush!" as she recognized some of the songs. She listened intently to the music while eating a snack and added, "this is the book I's the mulberry bush. I have this book."

I'd actually enticed DJ B to listen to the music by promising the song "Fuzzy Wuzzy," and Miss B remembered, asking me, "When is Fuzzy Wuzzy gonna come?" She then asked, "Who likes kid music? Tell me who likes kid music?" I then asked her, "Do you?" and she shook her head "no" and again asked me who likes kid music.

When "Farmer in the Dell" came on she again smiled and bounced in her chair. Then "Fuzzy Wuzzy" finally made an appearance and DJ B screamed "Fuzzy Wuzzy!" I asked her if she liked the music and she just stared at me.

As the sounds of Mr. Rogers emanated from the speakers, Miss B leaned in close to listen. Then came Mother Goose and Miss B got the most excited, saying, "I have Mother Goose stuff!" She then kept requesting that I replay the Mother Goose stories, saying that she wanted "the dog want a bone." She danced and sang and followed along with her Mother Goose book. She particularly enjoyed "3 Little Kittens" and swayed back and forth while listening. After that song ended she said, "Get me little kittens. I want the loud kittens. Meow!"

Today I played the entire "Walt Disney's Treasury of Mother Goose Nursery Rhymes" album (from 1965) for DJ B and she sang along to her favorites.

So, although I generally avoid children's music like the plague, I have to admit that I've enjoyed revisiting these records from my youth with DJ B.

Monday, November 23, 2009

Latin Pop in DJ B's Jail Garden

The library is about to come after us for overdue CDs, so it's about time to share DJ B's take on Paulina Rubio's album "Ananda," which she so carefully selected from the shelves of the San Francisco Public Library. Do you think it was the hot pink cover art that appealed?

The music elicited smiles from Miss B who began dancing immediately to the Spanish-language pop. She jumped up and down while wearing 2 leotards and ballet shoes and invited her father to join her. Father and daughter shared a dance and then Miss B did a quick solo spin. She danced on her tip toes and shrieked, "I like this one! I'll show you how I dance."

A giddy grin spread over DJ B's face as she enjoyed the music. As the second track began she approached me, patted my knee and said, "I'm gonna stop it for a minute because I like the other one." She stopped the CD, started it up again with the first track, and resumed her happy dancing as she sashayed across the room. She kept repeating track one and would not start dancing until she heard the music, saying, "I have to dance when the music hears my ear."

She treated us to an elaborate performance before propping up the CD, saying, "I want to see it while I'm dancing." She then asked us to set up a curtain over our entertainment center so that she could have her own stage from which to make a grand entrance. After we set up the curtain she asked, "Do you want to see my shadow? This is my garden." After inviting me behind the curtain, she said, "Pretend we're in jail. It's a jail garden."

From there the performance devolved, but it was clear that DJ B found much inspiration in Paulina's Latin pop.

Thursday, November 12, 2009

Dean Lynch's Words did not Inspire...Or did they?

During our big listening session the other day I asked DJ B to take a look at all of the promotional CDs that I'd collected at the CMJ Music Marathon last month. The overall haul was pretty meager, certainly not like the olden days when one would come home with bags of music (CDs, tapes, and even LPs back in the '80s).

When presented with her choices, Miss B said, "I want the birds one." So, I stuck Dean Lynch's CD "Bird Songs" into the player. My music reviewing preschooler continued with her drawing project while the music played.

What DJ B Drew While Listening to Dean Lynch

Although I was somewhat intrigued by the "6 Million Dollar Man" samples amid the slow guitar, percussion and whispered male vocals; DJ B was not.

Her assessment: "I don't like this music. I don't like the words."

Even though she said she didn't like the music, I was super impressed by the art she created while listening, complete with a salvaged promo sticker.

Wednesday, November 11, 2009

DJ B Rates CMJ Promo CDs and Begins with Explicit Content

I had all the best intentions for my big pile of promotional CDs from the CMJ Music Marathon last year. If time had been on my side, I would have had DJ B immediately plow through them, giving her unique commentary on the sounds being pitched to the college radio crowd.

Well, now I'm back from the 2009 CMJ Music Marathon with yet another batch of music (although it's a smaller haul, a trend that I imagine will continue as promoters move towards digital music) and I'm determined to get Miss B to take a listen sooner rather than later.

DJ B Scrutinizes Her Stash of Promo CDs from the 2008 CMJ Music Marathon

Before I had a chance to present the 2009 goodies to her, she actually reached for a bucket full of the 2008 promo CDs stashed in our attic. She then spread them all out on the floor and explained her process, saying, "I'm counting them out to see which ones I like." Her eyes gravitated to the "Spring Awakening" sampler and she said, "I want this one." Since she's a huge fan of musicals, I wasn't surprised that this CD (which I picked up after seeing a CMJ panel about the musical last year) caught her eye.

We started to play the CD and I was surprised to hear an audible "F" word within the first few seconds. Miss B didn't notice and I hoped it was fleeting. I skipped to track 2 after hearing more swearing. This did not please DJ B at all. She got extremely huffy and turned it off. She stomped off, saying, "I turned it off. No more! I want that music! Bad news! Bummer! I don't like your words. I'm leaving. I'm going to my grandma and grandpa's house."

Later on I explained to her that the lyrics had bad words and it was for adults, not kids. Her response to me was, "I'm not gonna say bad words. I'm just going to dance to the mean music."

She's quite the negotiator.

But, unfortunately she's going to have to wait a few years before listening to this CD as I don't want to get busted for teaching my 3-year-old the F-word.

Perhaps next time I'll pay more attention to "Parental Advisory: Explicit Content" labels on my CDs.

Lesson learned.

Tuesday, November 10, 2009

Playing with Rocks More Fun than Listening to R.E.M.

It's always exciting when Miss B selects a CD from the public library from a band that we actually like; so I was very interested to see what she thought of the R.E.M. release "Accelerate." On a day when she wasn't particularly keen on listening to music, I popped this in the player to see what kind of reaction it would get.

Initially DJ B said, "Can I dance with you mom?," although it was clear that she wasn't paying attention to the music. Instead she played with some play-doh that was stuck inside a plastic bottle and asked me to feel it. She then turned her attention to her Cinderella shoes and by the third track (my favorite so far) she announced, "I'm Cinderella." I asked her what she thought of the music and she replied, "not great."

DJ B's Rock Arrangement

Miss B then left the room and returned with some fuzzy pink socks. She tried to get me to guess what was in the socks before spilling a bunch of rocks out of them onto the table. She asked me to feel the rocks and said, "see, that's a princess rock" before asking, "Which rock do you like better?" Miss B then arranged the rocks on a table and as the 6th track began she actually pulled herself away from her rock project to dance for a little bit. Abruptly she stopped the CD and put it away in its case, saying, "I didn't like the music!"

For DJ B today, rocks definitely trump rock.

Monday, November 9, 2009

The Dearly Departed Teen Girl Group Huckapoo Speaks to DJ B

Last night I finished a big CD reorganization project and massive cleanup in our attic. Ever since, DJ B has been fascinated by the spacious music loft and has been interested in pulling CDs from our collection. The first one that she noticed was a promotional CD that I'd picked up at a youth culture conference in 2004. Huckapoo is (or perhaps was) a Spice Girls-esque teen girl band and the CD was a magnet for DJ B with its bright pink anime-style cover.

As the music started, DJ B smiled, saying, "you have to dance with me." She added, "I like it. It's good ballet music," as she shook her hips and pranced around on her new dance floor. She twirled and delighted in sliding across the floor, telling me, "it's slippery, so I can skate." She closed her eyes as she swayed to the music, danced on her tip toes and told me, "you're the purple ballerina and I'm the pink ballerina." She then announced, "I have to spell my name Stagia, so I can be on the stage." She lifted a shoulder in a half-shrug and then dramatically grabbed some plastic keys from our donation pile and began to dance with them. She stomped her foot, scrutinized the inserts in the CD case, and resumed her dancing. When the CD ended she said, "I want to hear this one again."

So, with her embrace of Huckapoo my worst fears are being realized. Some day soon my little girl may be one of those pre-teen Radio Disney-loving popsters and I will be unable to stop her. Although I'm a bit horrified that she's enamored with the saccharine pop of Huckapoo, at least I know that she still has an interest in a wide range of sounds. I'm keeping my fingers crossed that this continues for a lifetime.

P.S. If this isn't creepy enough, take a look at this New York Times article from 2004 and this New York Magazine piece from 2005, which talk about the creation of the now defunct pre-fab band Huckapoo.

Friday, September 18, 2009

Bottom's Mean Stepmother Music

DJ B and I are so over-extended these days that we never got around to reviewing her Record Store Day picks. So, by popular demand, here's her belated take on that female stoner rock CD that she picked up in the Aquarius bargain bin for $3.99.

I asked Miss B if she wanted to listen to the Bottom release "You'rNext" and she said, "Is it scary?" As she looked at the CD artwork she had a lot of questions about the imagery, asking, "But what is that guy? Is that guy scary or not?" After checking out the CD booklet she said, "I think it's going to be fancy or something else."

She finally put the CD in the player, but removed it before listening to it. Later on I played the CD while she was preoccupied with her toy playhouse. She focused on her own activities and eventually turned off the music without giving any sort of reaction to it.

We tried it again later and Miss B had a lot more to report, saying, "This one is the mean stepmother music and we have to listen to it." She then brought me some bells to play with, saying, "Follow me. Follow me." She grit her teeth while doing an angry dance, kicking and sneering while waving an egg-shaped shaker. She then yelled, "You have to follow me mean stepmother!" and demanded that I chase her.

Continuing the theme, Miss B said, "I want to go to the party." She grabbed a box of Mac 'n Cheese from the cupboard and put it on the table, saying, "This is the party. Pretend. I really want to go to the party." After accumulating more party food she added, "Cinderella...She was mean when she comed over to the party." As the music reached its crescendo with flutes and ladies screaming, she added, "Mean stepmother...come over to my party and visit...she was still mean."

When I asked DJ B specifically about the music she said, "It's stepmother's mean music."

Thursday, July 23, 2009

eVonne Hsu Gets Miss B Dancing Again

Wouldn't you know it, DJ B selected yet another Asian pop release on one of our recent public library jaunts. eVonne Hsu's "Chosen One: '02-'05" is a double CD with a purple spine and no front label art. The back cover has a picture of Hsu, which perhaps caught Miss B's eye. Although she's a star in Taiwan, Evonne actually was born and grew up in Texas and that's where she was apparently discovered.

When we initially played the CD, operatic vocals started everything off, although the music itself was more pop and rock. Miss B said to me, "let's dance together!" before she became fixated on her purple pen and started to draw all over my notebook. Turning from the page she again implored me to dance and then said "dance slowly," while she demonstrated some running moves decked out in her Cinderella dress. She then held her hand up over her eye, as if she was surveying a landscape. The music got a bit more dancy with electronic elements and this caused Miss B to grab a scarf from her dress-up box. Eventually she wrapped up her Cinderella shoes in scarves before waving me off, saying, "go away."

The next time that I tried to play this CD, Miss B screamed, "I want a movie. Not music!" She then stomped to the CD player and turned it off.

Saturday, June 27, 2009

DJ B Works Through Her Grief over Michael Jackson with Art

Miss B continues to come to terms with the media frenzy surrounding Michael Jackson's death and her own growing realization of the concept of mortality. She sat in front of the morning paper today, pointing at his picture and said "Michael Jackson." Then, while his music boomed out of our TV from Sirius XM's "Michael Jackson Tribute" channel, she took pen to paper and drew the picture above. DJ B said:

"I'm drawing a picture of Michael Jackson. I'm going to mail it to him. He'll love this picture. He has curlies [her word for curly hair]. He has a sad face."

She's so profound.

Thursday, June 25, 2009

DJ B Mourns Michael Jackson

We're a bit out of sorts in the DJ B household, having just learned of Michael Jackson's death. Luckily we have MTV, which is hearkening back to the olden days and is playing non-stop Michael Jackson videos right now. As soon as we turned on MTV, Miss B was glued to the screen. When the songs were interrupted by talk or commercials, she kept shouting, "more!"

But the strongest reaction came just now when an old Jackson Five clip came on from American Bandstand (their first visit on the show). Miss B began to dance for the first time, clearly understanding the infectious pop perfection of those innocent early years. I think she was also inspired by their rocking dance moves. After I rewound the Tivo and we viewed it again, she implored me to dance with her. Miss B just smiled and smiled, imitating the fabulous 1970s maneuvers, including the tricky circular disco hand move (what is that called anyway?).

I think watching this Jackson 5 video and Miss B's enjoyment of it makes me feel the saddest of all over Michael Jackson's early death. What a cute kid, with so much potential at such a young age. It's too bad his life got stranger and stranger and that his final years were marred by controversy.

Friday, May 22, 2009

DJ B Plays Air Guitar to Deerhunter and Drums along with Ani DiFranco

Back in October I went to the CMJ Music Marathon in New York City and accumulated a pile of promotional CDs that I intended to pass along to DJ B for review. It's taken awhile, but once again we got back to this project. Yesterday I presented her with the stack of music to see which releases caught her eye.

The first CD that she investigated was a CMJ promo CD called "CMJ New Music, Issue 155." From the opening notes of track one (Deerhunter's "Nothing Ever Happened"), Miss B was energized. She jumped up and down and said, "You dance with me momma. See I'm gonna dance really fast." She continued to jump and implored me to join her, saying, "you try." She shook her hips to the driving rock song, played with a pez truck on the floor, then began to strum her fingers on her air guitar. She then yelled, "where's my guitar?" I found her pink princess guitar and she promptly strapped it on and played along to the music while dancing. Her next request to me was, "you get dadda's guitar!" I passed on that, but enjoyed watching her walk forward and backward while playing her guitar. She then turned down the volume on the CD so that she could hear her guitar while she played along. As the song ended, she took a bow.

The next track was Ani DiFranco's "Emancipated Minor." As it started, Miss B said, "let's dance really slow" as she wiggled, danced, shrugged her shoulders, and demonstrated a high knee march. She then picked up a drum stick and drummed to the beat on the old plastic baby wipes container that we'd been storing the promo CDs in. She grabbed a second stick and used both to drum, then started to tap them together while she danced. After about half a song she turned off the CD.

Perhaps we'll check out the remaining tracks on this CD later. For now, Deerhunter was the winner as it inspired DJ B to bust out the air guitar.

Thursday, May 21, 2009

DJ B's Kindred Spirit in Art Criticism: 4-year-old Tiny Art Director

Wow. Thanks to my pal Colin for passing along this Boing Boing piece about the brilliant blog Tiny Art Director. The author of the blog has been doing a project with his young daughter (she's now 4, but they started when she was 2) in which she dictates drawing requests to him. After he creates the artwork, she then offers up her critique. And now they've got a book deal with Chronicle Books. Awesome.

I love it when parents work with their kids on creative projects like this. And Tiny Art Director sounds like a kindred spirit for DJ B.

Friday, May 8, 2009

Vietnamese Ballads are Baby's Favorite Music

Recently DJ B and I made our first visit to the remodeled main branch of the San Francisco Public Library. It was gorgeous, with a huge children's area and an enviable Audio-Visual room. When Miss B and I entered the AV Room to search for CDs it was like entering a musical mecca. It was a huge room, with CDs on shelves and in record store-like bins. It made the random nature of our CD selection process a bit more challenging, as the sections were divided by genre. Luckily, I didn't realize that until after I had steered Miss B down one particular row; so she selected something out of the first row that we hit. We'll have to go back and explore some more, because after picking one CD, DJ B transitioned into full-on meltdown mode.

So, what did she pick? Tuan Ngoc's "Nhung Tinh Khuc Yeu Cau" release from the Vietnamese section of the library. The first few times that I tried to play this at home, DJ B stopped the CD immediately. Today, however, I placed it in the CD player while she was happily making music with one of her instruments. As the music started, she continued to jump and dance around. She then began some dramatic slow dancing, with leg extensions, twirls, fancy footwork, and grand emotional sways with her eyes closed. The album, full of slow Vietnamese ballads with male vocals inspired her to do slow, measured dance moves.

As she listened, she grabbed her baby doll and rocked her in her arms before dancing while holding the baby. By the third song, DJ B said, "This is baby's favorite music," as she continued to dance. She'd stop occasionally to feed her baby milk. Then she said, "It's your turn to dance, mommy. I need to write about it." As I took my place on the "dance floor," Miss B sat down and asked for a piece of paper so that she could write notes. As she jotted down her observations, she asked, "What are these dances from? I think they're from New York." She then started to play with brightly colored tissue paper, placing it on the floor and then dancing while waving 2 hot pink pieces. Suddenly she stopped the CD, saying "no music" and removed it from the player. She handed the CD to me and said, "I didn't like it." She could have fooled me. Miss B then got on the floor, saying, "I have to snuggle in my little patch" and curled up on top of her tissue paper nest.

Despite what she said, I think DJ B dug this CD. How can you really go wrong with this suave Vietnamese superstar? I can hardly wait to return to the main branch of the library to find more Asian pop gems.

Thursday, May 7, 2009

DJ B Doesn't Subscribe to the Gospel of Campbell Brothers

Although DJ B personally selected the CD "Can You Feel it?" by Campbell Brothers from the public library, ever since bringing it home she has shown zero interest in listening to it. As we plowed through her backlog of reviews recently, I popped this sacred steel gospel CD into the player to see what she thought of it.

As the music began, Miss B, with pen in hand, jotted down some notes (imitating me, no doubt). She said, "It's starting now" and then danced for a little bit before stopping the CD. When I asked her what she thought of the music (that she'd been listening to for less than a minute), she replied, "It was good" with no emotion. I put the CD back in the player and again Miss B started to dance. She shook a pen while dancing, using it to point at things in the room. She stopped the music again, saying, "I thinked of it. I need to write Easy Ride. I love Easy Ride."

For her, the winning CD of the day was her old favorite "Easy Ride," a live Canto Pop CD that's intense and dramatic (with songs that stick in your head for months). Nothing compared and nothing elicited the same energetic response as that well-worn library staple. So much for this really cool-sounding sacred steel release.

Wednesday, May 6, 2009

Sometimes Miss B Doesn't Like Pianos that are Big and Blue

On a recent rainy day I was determined to get some feedback from DJ B about her growing stack of CDs from both the public library and from her Record Store Day spree. She was a reluctant participant and didn't give the music as much of a chance as I would have liked.

On this marathon day of listening, the 8th CD that I had Miss B preview was the Smithsonian Folkways collection "Classic Piano Blues." When I showed her the CD case, she said, "I don't love pianos. I don't think if I like it...Sometimes I don't like pianos that are big and blue..." As the music started she said, "I play it" and began scribbling in the notebook where I had been jotting down her reactions to the music. Then, exasperated, she sighed and said, "Alright. I'll play my piano." She smiled, sat down at her toy piano and played along with the music. She looked up, saying, "I don't have a blue one" before adding, "And I'll jump!" She then started to jump and dance to the music before turning it off after less than one track.

Friday, May 1, 2009

Cocteau Twins Disappoint the Resident Lullaby Connoisseur

Once again, I'm having to strongly encourage DJ B to get caught up on her music reviews. She's just not sympathetic to the fact that I keep getting insisitent emails from the public library, reminding us about all of the overdue CDs in our possession.

So, today, on a rainy day, I coerced my strong-willed 3-year-old to make her way through our pile of CDs and offer up her opinions.

First up, I asked her to revisit the Cocteau Twins' CD "Lullabies to Violaine: Volume 2." I have to admit that when she selected CDs from the library, I spotted this release. I love the Cocteau Twins and hadn't heard this particular album (a collection of singles, B-sides etc. from late in their career), so checked it out. When Miss B was a baby we had another Cocteau Twins album on regular rotation in her room, so I figured she might dig this one too.

Well, the first time I played this CD Miss B was busy with other projects. Eventually she looked up from her work and started smiling and dancing to the track "Pink Orange Red." She then turned to me, saying, "I'm going to turn off the music because I want my truck to beep. This is lullabies. I don't like this lullabies." When I asked her why, she said, "Because. It's too noisy." She then took out the CD. Who would ever have guessed that the ethereal, atmospheric sounds of this 4AD staple could be considered noisy?

Today we tried listening again and DJ B said, "It doesn't sound like my other lullabies," before turning down the volume. She then turned it off completely, saying, "I wanna try the other one" (meaning the accompanying CD). She then got angry, telling me, "I don't like it. I don't want it" and asked me to get HER lullaby CD from her room.

Unfortunately, for Miss B, her expectations were dashed. When she heard that the CD was "Lullabies," she assumed that it would be just like her one of her beloved lullaby CDs that are a nightly bedtime ritual for her. The beautiful sounds of Cocteau Twins just couldn't compete.

Sunday, April 19, 2009

Record Store Day with DJ B

I feel like it's my duty as a music-loving parent to share with DJ B the importance of record stores. They've certainly been a key part of my own music education, from the chain stores at the mall during my childhood, to Tower Records during my teens, to the indie record stores that I frequented in college to score $2.99 "cut-out" LPs (and cassettes!) of new releases from bands like The Smiths and Chameleons UK.

And, I especially have fond memories of all the great record shops in San Francisco, where I've found amazing gems and have seen intimate in-store performances by a wide range of musicians. One of the oldest Tower Records, on Bay Street in San Francisco ( it's a green dry cleaner) used to host lunch-time free shows. It was so cool to take a long lunch and trek over there to see the likes of Sonic Youth (in the parking lot!). Back when I was super obsessed with Robyn Hitchcock, I'd track him down at every record shop in-store in the city, including a show on Haight (maybe at the now-closed Reckless Records?) and an awesome acoustic set at a long-gone record shop on Folsom near Brainwash.

I've also seen many of my faves at Amoeba, including Smog, Sleater-Kinney, Will Oldham, and many others. You can actually scan through photos of past in-stores (400+ performances) to get a sense of the cool shows they've had.

So, to celebrate Record Store Day yesterday, the Mr. and I took Miss B over to Aquarius Records in San Francisco. Within minutes of our arrival, her eyes were drawn to a new release by Thee Oh Sees. She pointed to it, excitedly telling me about the bat on the cover. Since I have heard and like their music I offered to pick it up for her. We then moved on to a bargain rack of CDs for $3.99 and I told Miss B to take a look. She grabbed a seat on the floor and happily scanned through a pile, choosing a couple that she liked. In future posts we'll cover her reviews of the actual music, but according to the guys at Amoeba, one of the selections is some all-female stoner rock. Right on!

Did you take your DJ-in-training to a record store this weekend? What did you buy?

Thursday, April 9, 2009

Butterfly Dancing to Colbie Caillat

I managed to convince DJ B to select some new CDs from the public library, so indeed there is still life left in this project! The first album to catch her attention when we got home was Colbie Caillat's CD "Coco." I had never heard of this artist, but from the opening notes I felt like I was in an episode of "The Hills" (my only barometer for mainstream pop hits). And, indeed, this must be a popular CD, as it's one of the few that we've checked out that's had a "hold" placed on it by another library patron, meaning that we can't renew it. (Yep, apparently she's a MySpace sensation with her acoustic/soul/folk stylings.)

When we played the CD, Miss B smiled at the cover, then lifted her leg like a ballerina doing an arabesque and then began doing leaps across the room. She continued to dance and grabbed a pink blanket as a prop, which she waved, spun, and dragged while galloping to and fro. She then invited me to join her, saying, "It's your turn to dance with me. Stand up. Now it's your turn to do Aurora dance." Miss B demanded that I dance with her and said, "Close your eyes." She danced on her tip toes, did some slow maneuvers, and then channeled a butterfly, saying, "You're the green butterfly and I'm the pink butterfly. Put your wings out. C'mon little butterfly." At this point we both were dancing with blankets (aka wings). Miss B nuzzled a bit with me, flapped her arms as if in flight, then turned down the volume, saying, "It's time to go to bed butterfly. It's time to go to bed little buddy. Little butterfly is getting tired."

For DJ B, this was satisfying music for butterfly dancing. And that's high praise from a 3-year-old.

Wednesday, April 8, 2009

Ballet and Princesses Rule for DJ B

As I sit and watch Miss B in her brand new Aurora dress (bought today) staring at the TV, immersed in a Sleeping Beauty video, I'm reminded that as the parent of a 3-year-old I often find myself submitting to her demands. And, admittedly, I get a lot of joy out of seeing her glee when surrounded by her favorite things. These days DJ B is obsessed with ballet and princesses, so Aurora from Sleeping Beauty is just tops.

I was out of town recently and in one of the JFK Airport gift shops I spotted the CD, "Music from the Ballet," and knew I had to get it for DJ B. As expected, she was elated from the opening notes. When the music started she smiled and said, "...that was Aurora...oh, man...oh man [laughing]...this was Aurora." She recognized the opening track ("Sleeping Beauty Waltz") and knew it was from Sleeping Beauty, saying, "I just gotta put on an Aurora dress for this." She then did some spins in a circle and galloped , while telling me, "This is a circle that I'm doing like Aurora." Miss B kept smiling while she continued with her ballet moves and danced on her tip toes. I asked her where she'd heard the music before. Miss B replied, "I heard it from the ballet." Later she said, "Know what I'm going to wish for with dadda? An Aurora dress!"

As the music proceeded to another ballet, DJ B stopped the CD and kept repeating the music from Sleeping Beauty. Eventually she made her way through the rest of the CD, dancing with wands, bows, and bowing dramatically at the end of pieces. She was particularly excited to hear music from the Nutcracker too, squealing, "It's Nutcracker! I have it on TV too!" She then asked me to put a ribbon in her hair so that she could look like Clara from the Nutcracker.

I just love that music can wield this kind of power, as it beseeches Miss B to re-live the stories and ballets that she adores.

Tuesday, March 17, 2009

DJ B Rejoins the Cult of Music Together

It's ironic that one day after I practically gave up on DJ B's Library Tour, my daughter had a change of heart. Today Miss B pointed out a CD in our collection and asked me to put it on for her....something she hasn't done in months.

She gravitated to the Music Together CD "Summer Songs 2" that we received when we took a music class ages ago. I was thrilled by her renewed interest in music listening....but, had mixed feelings due to the genre.

As the music started, Miss B asked me to find the accompanying music book. After I brought it to her, she sat down at her toy piano, propped up her "music" and played the piano and sang along to the songs. Initially she only wanted to hear the first song "Hello Everybody" over and over again while she precisely tapped the keys, studied the music book, and sang along.

She swayed back and forth while she sang and at the end of the song said, "Everybody clap for me!" I clapped and she politely said, "thank you" and then jumped up and down, ran in circles and continued to sing, "hello to mama....hello to dadda..." Eventually she let the CD track to other songs and she danced wildly while blasting the music. During the "Itsy Bitsy Spider" song she asked me to find her book of the same name, saying, "get that book, 'cuz she's singing that." Upon retrieval, she read the book while listening to the music and acted out the accompanying gestures that go along with the song.

Wow. Music Together has something going on for sure, as Miss B was riveted by this CD. Now if only I can get her back to the library for a broader range of sounds....Keep your fingers crossed for me.

Monday, March 16, 2009

DJ B Says No to Taiwan TV

It's important to remember that DJ B hand-selected each of the items reviewed on this blog from the library, so she was initially intrigued by something that she saw on each and every CD that's been part of this project. Yet, what happens after we get home with the CD varies tremendously. As she's grown weary of this project, it's become more and more difficult to get her to allow me to play any of these CDs for her.

Sweet Relationship OST (a soundtrack CD for a Taiwan TV show of the same name) looks like a DVD, as it's housed in a long box. I think Miss B was disappointed that it wasn't actually a DVD because every time I put it in the CD player she takes it out immediately. Yesterday she said, "I don't want you to listen to music right now. It's not music time."

Well, OK.

Cuddling and Quacking to Bette Midler

DJ B is now three.

As the lengthy delay in posting might suggest, she seems to have grown weary of the CD review project and instead is focusing on playing dress up, watching way too much TV, and writing her own songs (themes this week have included ballerinas, firefighters, monsters and our dead cat).

Before the library comes after me for our overdue CDs, I'll attempt to recap her latest two selections. Way back in January Miss B was drawn to a Bette Midler CD at our local branch of the San Francisco Public Library (imagine that?). Initially, "Bathhouse Betty" wouldn't even play in our CD player (too well-loved already?). Finally, we got it to work on a boombox and Miss B smiled and said, "I want to sit on your lap." During a ballad she cuddled with me and then said, "put me in the crib, mom...tuck me in." I did what she asked and she closed her eyes, pretending to sleep, before jumping up and saying, "I'm dancing in my crib!" She quacked and started to dance to the disco-tinged song "I'm Beautiful." Sounds like a strong endorsement, right? Well, the next two times I put the CD on, Miss B wanted nothing to do with Ms. Midler. The love affair was fleeting...

Monday, January 19, 2009

Drumming to Reba McEntire

Another recent library CD selected by DJ B was Reba McEntire's "Greatest Hits Volume 3 - I'm a Survivor." The first time we put the CD on Miss B was wearing a Cinderella costume and was obsessively combing her hair. When I asked what she thought of the music, she said, "I like it" and resumed her hair combing routine. She stopped to admire the Sleeping Beauty temporary tattoo on her arm and then directed her attention to her pile of instruments. After getting up on her tip toes she grabbed a drum stick and started pounding on a decorated coffee can.

I then mentioned to her that there was a CD booklet, so she opened up the CD case and pulled it out. She asked me, "Why is she wearing pants?" and then said, "Look at these musics" while pointing at words in the liner notes. She stopped to dance while tapping the booklet on her coffee can drum. She then began dancing quite dramatically with a scowl on her face while waving a drum stick, as if she was performing martial arts along the lines of tai chi. After throwing the stick across the room she slowed down into some more ballet-like poses. She then ran out of the room, returned with a Dora soccer ball, threw the ball into the air, got in trouble, asked me to drum, and finally sang into a Hello Kitty maraca like it was a microphone. When we got to track 5 ("If You See Him, If You See Her") DJ B was done, and ordered, "I want to take the CD off...I want a snack now."

I'm sure Miss B was simply channeling Reba's inner diva. You go girl!

Tuesday, January 13, 2009

Cantopop Mesmerizes DJ B and Me

Miss B selected yet another mysterious Cantopop album from the public library. As far as I can gather, the 2003 album (perhaps "Loving Knot") is by Hong Kong artist Priscilla Chan. It features two CDs, one of which (pictured above) contains a video of the song "Tomorrow is Another Day." As soon as DJ B realized there was a video on this CD, she became obsessed. We've watched it repeatedly and now I can't get it out of my head. It's actually quite beautiful, with a French flavor to it, portions in English, and a very nostalgic video featuring Priscilla wandering through a dusty, cobwebby room full of vintage furniture and an old phonograph. Her voice is captivating.

While watching the video, Miss B was very intrigued, asking, "What is she?" Later she said, "I love this video!" and asked, "Does she have a fancy dress?" It took a lot of coaxing to listen to the CD sans video, but when she did she was quite pleased. During one song featuring piano, she said, "I wanna dance to this one" and then started to dance on her tip toes. She gathered up her ballet slippers, saying, "These are my special shoes." She continued to dance, quickening the pace, before inviting me to join her and giddily requesting the video again, saying, "I wanna dance with the video and start a move." After watching the video a number of times, she actually started to re-enact scenes from it.

This was a gorgeous album that DJ B and I could both enjoy. Yet again I'm amazed at the obscurities available at the public library, as this release was impossible for me to find online. So, our enjoyment of it will be short, but sweet.