Many of us this week have been thinking perhaps more than usual how precious our children are to us, and in that spirit, here’s to the children in our lives, and here are the children of our most generous backers and most special friends, children who brighten our days and inspire our work.
We had a a rehearsal yesterday with our principal singers (they were both 4-year-olds, but yesterday Sherman turned five – the rehearsal took place after her birthday party…!) and we are so very excited for our upcoming studio session on Saturday, when we will be recording two of the most challenging songs, emotionally. They are “Alas, Poor Yorick” sung of course by Hamlet (Sohyun’s and Sherman’s favourite of all my songs so far), and “Butterflies” sung by Achilles from Troilus and Cressida, my personal favourite mostly because I think the structure and the lyrics are very elegant.
We have a feeling Julian’s going to be amazing!
So while we’re talking about songs, I thought I’d just note here the shortlist of all the songs we think will be in the album, Volume 1 of KinderBard: songs for children etc. etc. Many of you will have seen this list on our Kickstarter page, but I wanted to have it here too for posterity.
I Don’t Know What to Say sung by Cordelia from King Lear
It’s Not My Fault sung by Caliban from The Tempest
One Thing I Can’t Catch sung by Helena from A Midsummer Night’s Dream
Dirty Laundry sung by Falstaff from The Merry Wives of Windsor
I’m Going to Make You Love Me sung by Petruchio & Katherina from The Taming of the Shrew
You Treat Me Like a Football sung by Dromio of Ephesus from Comedy of Errors
A Horse with Wings sung by Imogen from Cymbeline
Alas, Poor Yorick sung by Hamlet from Hamlet
Crocodile Tears sung by Queen Margaret from Henry VI, part 2
What Is This Thing I Found? sung by the Old Shepherd & Perdita from The Winter’s Tale
Butterflies sung by Achilles from Troilus and Cressida
It’s Just a Name sung by Juliet from Romeo and Juliet
Smelly Dog sung by Launce from Two Gentlemen of Verona
I Don’t Like You, Really sung by Benedick & Beatrice from Much Ado About Nothing
Let’s Pretend (to Be Happy) sung by Rosalind from As You Like It
And here’s the video that originally accompanied this list – a little presentation about our creative process (including a sneak preview of our new song One Thing I Can’t Catch performed by Sherman)
Addressing Children’s Issues
Something that’s become an important part of this songwriting process has been to find children’s issues that can be addressed through these songs – it gives the children something tangible to identify with, and it’s kind of therapeutic for them to have their personal issues addressed. Here are some examples of my songs and the issues they address:
CORDELIA from King Lear – “I Don’t Know What to Say”
A song for when you’re feeling shy, or you don’t know the words to express how you feel.
JULIET from Romeo and Juliet – “It’s Just a Name”
For when they call you names, or get your name wrong, or don’t know your name…
HELENA from A Midsummer Night’s Dream – “The One Thing I Can’t Catch”
When you’re afraid that your friend is prettier or more popular than you.
DROMIO OF EPHESUS from The Comedy of Errors – “You Treat Me Like a Football”
What should you do when you’re bullied?
ACHILLES from Troilus and Cressida – “Butterflies”
For when you’re afraid, lacking the courage to do what you have to do…
Some of these are pretty serious issues that young children confront in their daily lives. Some of my other songs address slightly lighter concerns.
OLD SHEPHERD from The Winter’s Tale – “What Is This Thing I Found”
When you find something that doesn’t belong to you…
QUEEN MARGARET from Henry VI part 2 – “Crocodile Tears”
When someone is faking…
PETRUCHIO from The Taming of the Shrew – “I’m Going to Make You Love Me”
If you know what you really want, don’t give up!
IMOGEN from Cymbeline – “A Horse with Wings”
For those times when you miss someone who is far away…
Of course, I have plenty of silly songs whose raison d’être is just to gain a laugh or a chuckle, but even a song like my “Donkey Head” (sung by Bottom from A Midsummer Night’s Dream) has the potential to be something more than just a song about your head turning into a donkey’s. It could be about how your friends might be afraid by your changed appearance (a nasty bruise? or braces, as Sohyun suggested) but it’s still you underneath. I’d better go away and do a rewrite of that one! If any readers have ideas of other children’s issues that I might address, please feel free to leave suggestions in the comments…
Some Concept Art
These are just concepts, but I think they’re quite beautiful. They’re mixed media – fabric and paper, overpainted (is that a correct term? I’m not an artist, so I don’t really know these things) and then lyrics added in Photoshop. Great job, Sohyun!
So what you have to imagine is that in an interactive environment, you would touch Juliet and she would say,
What’s in a name? That which we call a rose, by any other name would smell as sweet…
I Don’t Know What to Say (sung by Cordelia from “King Lear”)
This is it! Sherman’s singing debut!