Friday, January 6, 2012

CD Review: Kirtan Kids by Jai Uttal

As I write this review I am playing the CD, yet again.  I understand it was aimed at kids but it really is for all ages.  I had no idea what Kirtan was although I do practice yoga.  My son, pictured above, is three years old. By the 4th track he was singing along as if he'd heard it all his life.  We played it the first time while making dinner and I looked over and saw my husband tapping his foot. It's so happy and upbeat!  The CD is based on call and response which means there is a lot of repetition.  However, Jai Uttal is like some kind of musical genius because it never feels repetitious!  I found myself humming 'Dance Shiva Dance' all over the house.

I am a musician myself and a music teacher for children so my bar is pretty high.  Vocally, there are lovely harmonies, especially in "Shri Ram Stars" with jazz, blues, and world rhythms and instruments.  The musical tone of the singers is more of a straight tone, almost slight Broadway style, but it fits well with the powerful percussive backgrounds.

There are a few short stories that sorta lost me as I have no idea what Kirtan is and the inner Cd booklet doesn't explain it much so sometimes I skipped the stories and my 3 year old lost interest in those as well.  

Back to the music which is the vast majority of this diverse world music collection.  The music has a beautiful energy that draws me into it.  The production quality is stellar.  It seems to me some real professionals have worked on this CD as the balances and quality of the sound is very layered and thought through.  Jai does some very cool things with rhythms in the chant for "Gung Gung Gung Ganesha Om."  I had to listen a few times to get what he was doing.  There are elephant sounds in it my son loved!  This guy seems to have a real gift for fusing sounds from all over the world and keeping the quality very high.  The children don't distract and I don't feel the music has been dumbed down at all.  In fact, some of these tracks such as 'Bolo Ram Ram Ram' will easily be on my yoga practice playlist and "Dance Shiva Dance" in my good morning playlist!

Order or listen to tracks here
If you are not a Kritan devotee or on the opposite of the yoga tradition, I would suggest purchasing a few of the individual tunes that call to you.  Check out "Dance Shiva Dance, Bolo Ram Ram Ram", and "Gung Gung Gung Ganesha Om"  I think it's wonderful for children to hear world beats, other languages, and complex rhythms.  It is a joyous, uplifting, spiritual CD even though I have no idea what the blue monkey does. :-)
I was sent this CD by for my honest review.

1 comment:

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