Tuesday, April 3, 2012

Music Notes: I Am Happy by Sukey Molloy CD Review + Interview

Sukey Molloy's soon to be released album "I Am Happy!" definitely fits the bill for the song selection!  The minute we turned on her music, both my son and I had huge grins on our faces.  I played her CD in our home and also in the car and when I'm not playing it, I can hear my son humming her songs.  She has a very beautiful and soothing voice and her lyrics are simple and sweet.  She draws out your imagination and heightens your sense of hearing.  Her songs include lots of action words to get kids involved.  Here are a few of my favorite songs: the Counting Song because she counts to 10 in five different languages (English, Spanish, French, German and Japanese), Cuckoo Bird because there is an instrument that mimics a cuckoo bird and Action Chant which features several different ways to move with great music to match. Sukey presents an entertaining and fun filled musical adventure that will have you and your kids singing the catchy tunes wherever you go!

CD Details: I Am Happy! with Sukey Molloy
For ages 2 - 5
Label: PlayMove&Sing, inc.
SRP: $15.00
Run time: 40 minutes.

An interview with Sukey:

*What inspires you in your songwriting?

Many things inspire my songwriting! I love to move, and I love to sing, and much of my music comes from an interest in songs that invite listeners to move and participate in different ways. Following my career as a professional modern dancer, I studied developmental movement with Dr. Garland O’Quinn Jr., and learned that the movement vocabulary we learn by age 10 is the one we will take through life. In my music, and my videos, I offer children lots of different movement options to provide exposure early on to a wide vocabulary for self expression. I am also inspired by a rather personal feeling about childhood that reflects my own interest in a gentle, soothing, intimate, lyrical, and fun musical experience that’s based on listening and participating through relationship. I’m inspired by lots of images and sounds from the natural world as well, and love to share those discoveries with listeners of all ages. I try through my craft to invite participants into a direct relationship with movement, sound and feeling, and to share the special feeling I have of childhood in a personal way.

*What is your favorite song on the album "I Am Happy" and why?

Each song on the I Am Happy album is very close to my heart. But I would have to say my favorite song is Little Flame in the Arctic. It has an “other worldly” atmosphere that touches me deeply. I love the sound of the arctic winds, the sound of the wind chimes, the beat of the deep bass drum, the sounds on the mandolin, and the lyrical nature of the waltz. I was so struck by the imagery that I decided to write a Little Flame in the Arctic short story which will be aired on April 28th when I’ll be the “guest DJ” on the Hilltown Family Variety Show on WXOJ radio, Northampton, Massachusetts.  (The show can also be heard as an online podcast.). I’ve also begun a series of felt art renderings of Little Flame to accompany the song for both video and audio picture book, similar to the felt art animations on my Sukey’s Circle! DVDs. What I love most about the song is that it takes me to an imaginary, comforting, and peaceful place with sounds and images that soothe and calm my heart.

*What are your early memories in music and how does that affect what you do today?

My mother was a student of opera, and I remember her singing lullabies to me at a very young age. She also managed a symphony orchestra, and as a result, when I was growing up, I was exposed to a great deal of classical music. Although dance was my first study, the greatest early musical influence for me was Peter and the Wolf. I was so struck by the fact that musical instruments could be played to sound like animals … clarinet for duck, flute for bird, oboe for wolf. Both the musical score, and the stage production, made a huge impression on me. I was also given a little music box as a child that had a ballerina on the top that danced when the music box played. I was utterly transfixed and still have it today. These early impressions ignited a sensitivity into how music, sound, and rhythm influence our emotions and our bodies, especially in the developing years.

*How has your music evolved since you first began recording?

My first album was inspired by requests from mothers and teachers who attended my music and movement programs. They asked if I would consider recording some of the songs I was singing in class. That’s how it started! My first album, Circle Songs, contained mostly traditional melodies with newly created lyrics that I changed up to accompany the movement activities I was developing. There were also original songs mixed in. I was particularly interested in melodies, rhythms and lyrics that young children could respond to and participate in easily at their own pace. I was, and still am, committed to music that is created specifically for the child which may mean using slower tempos, lots of repetition, simple melodies, easy to learn lyrics, and not a lot of layering. I like to keep a rather intimate and personal style when singing and moving with children. Children hear in a kind of echo chamber and need a lot of space in their listening in order to process the many sounds and impressions all at once. My intention is always to provide children with opportunities to develop sensitive listening so they can relate to what they hear from their own initiative. My second album, I Like to Sing, has fewer traditional melodies and more of my own songs, and my most recent album, I Am Happy, ends up being all my own songs but two. I guess my songwriting is continuing to emerge, and I have to keep giving myself permission to make the music that’s coming from the child within!

*Can you tell us more about your new project, I Am Sleepy?

I have long wished to create a sleepy time album. Before developing my PlayMoveSing program and musical recording career, I had trained not only as a professional dancer, but also as a Certified Infant Massage Instructor with the IAIM, and an Infant Development specialist at the SBMC. The intensive training from these programs brought me back to the very first weeks and months of birth, and of motherhood. There is an extraordinary window when mother and baby bond through gazing, touching, rocking, and caressing, and I believe these first impressions have a profound influence on a baby’s sense of comfort and well being. In growing from infancy to toddlerhood, and the preschool years, bedtime continues to be a very special transition each night into a quiet, personal and intimate sense of wonder and peacefulness. I Am Sleepy will include bedtime songs, lullabies, stories and poems in a double CD!

Thank you, Sukey!

Be sure to visit Sukey Molloy's website!

**I received this CD to review for free from Waldmania PR in exchange for my honest opinion.**

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