Posts tagged gospel

Dan Zanes and Friends

welcome_bandbenchAll I really need to say about Dan Zanes is that he is fabulous (and though he’s from New Hampshire, he did spend some time growing up in New Brunswick)! He’s about bringing people together, sharing and collaborating ideas, and just having fun. On top of the great band he regularly plays with, every album features a diverse collection of artists and a truckload of different styles of music. If you want to expose your kids (and yourself) to different types of music from around the world but don’t know where to start, or just can’t get into the Putomayo collection, DZ is a really nice intro.

The 2007 Grammy award winning “Catch that Train” (this album is my fav) features the gospel of Blind Boys of Alabama, Zulu folk songs sung by the children of South Africa’s Agape Orphanage, Natalie Merchant singing a scottish ballad, and topped off with a beautiful Mexican folksong.

“Family Dance” (2002) will get your kids up and moving, but I will add this caveat – waking up to “Hokey Pokey” at the crack of dawn one Sunday morning did not sit well with Boo’s dad (it was a 3 coffee morning) and has sadly turned him off DZ.

“Night Time” (2004) is a sweet album, great for tuning down your day. Amy Mann is always a nice touch, and Lou Reed singing music for kids? I love it.

DZ also released Rocket Ship Beach (2000), and Grammy nominated House Party (2003). In 2008 he showed his social activist colors with the release of “¬°Nueva York!”, weighing in on the Immigration debate in the US by highlighting how immigration enriches music and culture. This album is full of songs from Puerto Rico, Mexico, Colombia, the Dominican Republic and elsewhere.

His latest album, “The Welcome Table: Songs of Inspiration, Mystery & Good Times” (2009) is an upbeat collection of new and previously released recordings of North American gospel traditions, but they’re much less Blind Boys of Alabama style gospel, and more zydeco-get-up-and-dance.

It was really hard for me to choose a song to post, since he’s so eclectic one song isn’t a good representation of what he’s about. “Catch that Train”, though, is one of my personal favs…


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