06 May 2008

The Soundtrack for Going Green

Many moons from now what will we most certainly remember about the year 2008?
Here's my short list:
  • Insane gas prices.
  • The subprime mortgage fiasco.
  • The many women Roger Clemens has bedded while being shot in the ass with 'roids.
  • The Greening of America.
Over the past several months we have seen a definite trend in American consumerism and that trend comes in a variety of green hues all designed to, on some level, help preserve our fragile planet but mostly just to sell us more shit we don't need.
Reactionary Conservation meets Insatiable Consumption in an epic death match!

Thanks to this televised movement we have also learned how committed big oil companies are to renewable energy (yep) and that Waste Management is our environmental partner (uh-huh). and oh yeah...Wal-Mart is a dedicated steward of earth (and people) friendly practices.
It's almost enough to make ya vomit.

Fortunately for all of us there is a truly genuine movement, maybe it's even considered a sub-movement at this point, existing somewhere just below the layer of green manure (Eco-Dyed green compost available now at The Home Depot!!!) smothering us these days. This sub-movement ain't a trend or a fad. Instead it is comprised of real people trying to make a difference in their own lives, their community and, thinking more holistically, the planet. Unlike most of the people tripping over themselves to be more green than their neighbor, these folks will probably still be working hard to cure what ails this world even after gas prices come back down to earth.

Anyway...where was I? Oh yes...Hayes Greenfield, a NYC jazz man and the brilliant sax player behind the Jazz-A-Ma-Tazz program designed to bring the beautiful power of the world's greatest musical style to children, has just released (on Earth Day, as luck would have it) a record entitled Music For A Green Planet. It's destined to be the soundtrack for a young green America.

Believing correctly that children are the key to saving us all from certain environmental doom, Hayes and a gaggle of impressively talented friends, including the legendary Joe Lee Wilson, have crafted an entire album around one simple idea - Saving The Planet. To accomplish this weighty task Hayes and the gang have built songs around the framework of recognizable kiddie standards ("This Old Man", "Rock a Bye Baby", "Little Bo Peep", etc.) only with 100% original earth-conscious lyrical content. In less capable hands this idea would produce one of the corniest and most asinine records ever made but with Hayes Greenfield at the helm what we have is a brilliant study in environmental issues that we're all capable of fixin' set against the backdrop of toe tappin' jazz. The genius of this disc is that the rhythms, while fresh and engaging, are inevitably familiar to kids and are able to capture their attention even if they've never before been exposed to jazz. The clever lyrics then nudge open the door to fascinating conversations with young learners hungry to understand new things and filled with the earnest desire to help "save the polar bears!" as the Bear would exclaim.

If of all that isn't enough for you "Music for a Green Planet" includes what will without a doubt be one of the most breathtaking and powerful songs released this year. "The Things We Throw Away", sung by eight year old Carly Sonenclar (from the Broadway cast of Les Miserables), is a haunting examination of all the tiny items we often don't end up using but still discard on a daily basis (think packs of ketchup, duck sauce, napkins, etc.)

Hayes talked to me about "The Things We Throw Away" after his show at World Cafe Live months ago, making it a point to call out this cut specifically. This was before I had even heard the record. His passion for the Music for a Green Planet concept was clear and his love of "The Things We Throw Away" was evident. Now that I've listened to the track over a hundred times (no joke) his love is immensely justified. While the lyrics and the vocals are terrific it is the music that makes "The Things We Throw Away" shine so bright. The bass line carries the weight of the heady topic on it's broad shoulders while the saxophone and guitar take turns invoking both sadness and hope. Stunning.

Listen to samples of "The Things We Throw Away" and the rest of the album here (click on the Listen To Samples box near the bottom of the page).

Not only is the music top notch but this may end up being the most visually appealing records released in 2008 (although Ellis Paul's "Dragonfly Races" will be tough to beat). The record is packaged in recycled cardboard and features a lovely musical tree drawing on the cover (that would look so cool on an organic cotton American Apparel Tee - hint, hint)

If you're going to be near or in NYC next weekend, check out the Music for a Green Planet record release show at the Highline Ballroom.

OWTK wants to give you the chance to hold and hear this amazing album for yourself. Please leave a comment here telling me something you (and/or you & your child) could do to help Save the Planet (think small, like not using paper plates at home...stuff like that).
Do so by midnight ET on Sunday, May 11 2008 and you'll be entered to win your very own copy of "Music for a Green Planet".


Panjo Kids said...

We already do quite a few things like cloth diaper, we also stopped using bottled water and bought some cool non-plastic water bottles for the family. I would like to start using my reuseable bags at the grocery store more- I often forget them. I also will be buying second hand clothes for my boy this summer.

Stacy said...

We aren't using paper towels. Tha tone was hard.

Genevieve P said...

We hang our clothes out to dry.

PS said...

I think this CD sounds so cute! I was reading the lyrics and they are great! My kids and I have a one glass a day rule. We rinse out our cup when were donw and reuse. It saves so much space in the dishwasher so I'm only using it a few times a week!

Scarlett said...

Before buying a new book, we see if it's available at the library. It's unbelievable how un-environmentally friendly commercial bookmaking is.

hello DOT scarlett AT gmail DOT com

Anita said...

We've stopped using bottled water, we use reusable shopping totes, and we check out all our books from the library.

mrssmiff said...

I signed up with a service that reduces my junk mail and plants trees for each catalog I received, but now cancel.

michelle said...

Using reusable bags at the grocery store, and at other stores too. I'm trying to use just one glass per day at home, I just refill as needed, instead of a plastic bottle.

Mary512 said...

Our family already does many things to help save the world (haha) like use reusable grocery bags, and we buy mostly organic/natural/recycled. But we could do alot more. I've been interested in composting. Great giveaway, thanks!

Danielle said...

We have started washing all of our clothes in cold water with non toxic, additive free detergents!
dansan826 at yahoo.com

windycindy said...

Hi, I love your post! We do things that are rather typical. Turn up the thermostat during the summer and turn it down during the winter. The water heater temperature is down and all of us take shorter showers (which isn't too difficult when you run out of hot water)! Please enter me in your giveaway drawing for the music. I appreciate it! Thanks,Cindi

Bree said...

We use cloth diapers and hang our clothes on a line!

JenO said...

I sewed cloth wipes out of old t-shirts to go with my cloth diapers. Now that baby is here we are finding we use these for all sorts of things. Wet wipes of course, plus burp rags, paper towels, even as a tissue occasionally. And they are only 8"x8" so they don't take up much space in the wash.

art-sweet said...

Cloth diapers, walking when we can instead of driving... I'm really curious to see this cd!

peekab00 said...

we actually have reusable grocery bags... :)

Laura said...

My 2yo knows where to put both the paper and other recycling and enjoys placing things in both bins. She also knows we always bring bags when we leave for a shopping trip (which gets walked to if at all possible).

Sherry G said...

We limit our driving and use of gas by consolidating trips for errands and activities.

disarray at onebox dot com

ihchicky said...

We carpool and take the bus as much as possible.

Ginny said...

Right now we are working on switching over to canvas bags.

Megret said...

We use fans before we cut down the air conditioning....and we turn off the computer at night now.