songs about animals written by kids! Could it get any funner?
After years of collaborating with his students to write songs about animals, Mister Felipe has recorded a demo album of the songs.
how the songs were written
For years, Anansi Charter School has had a tradition of conducting integrated studies about a particular region of the world, incorporating science, geography, cultural studies, literature, art and music. For many students. their favorite aspect of this has been the study of animals from that area. As the music teacher, I have facilitated classes in choosing a particular animal, gathering information, and then collaboratively cooking up lyrics to go with a melody and chord progression written by Mister Felipe. Polar regions, rainforests, Africa, North America, Australia, China… the songs have been piling up for years, frequently requested by students during music classes.
At last, Mister Felipe has put together a recording of these gems. Check them out! Subscribe to the (infrequent) mailing list to be a part of the next stage!
Here's a video of Mister Felipe talking about the songwriting process, live on the radio show "The Children's Hour" on KUNM 89.9FM in Albuquerque, from 2011.
the demo recording
From August to November, 2016, Mister Felipe recorded these thirteen songs in his home studio, slowly layering tracks. First came “scratch tracks” with just guitar and vocals, to lay out the songs’ structure, tempo and feeling. Then the cajón, the box drum that originated in the Afro-Peruvian tradition. Next came the bass, playing a Fender Mustang that’s about as old as they guy playing it. With the rhythm section together, next up was the rhythm guitar, using either a Takamine cutaway or the special old Martin archtop from the 1930’s. Following that, other instruments were added, varying depending on the song: keyboards, banjo, electric guitar, oud, melodica, tambourine, doumbek…
At last it was time for the vocals, with the amazing Brooke Ann Zanetell singing lead on some tracks, and Mister Felipe himself on others. Kids’ voices were recorded with a handheld recorder at the school.
Finally, some marvelous, talented friends gave their time and energy on instrumental solos: Jeremy Jones of Big Swing Theory played soulful tenor saxophone on “Sloth song”, “Duck-billed Platypus”, and “Polar Bears”. Rachael Penn of the Pot Creek String Band played fiddle on “Who’s That Bird”. Jim Stewart played harmonica on “Howler Monkeys” and “Who’s That Bird”.
Mister Felipe mixed it all at home with ProTools, with the invaluable assistance of Jim Wilson of Voice of Eye. Mastering was handled by Omar Rane at The Tone Palace, a Taos institution.
Wouldn’t it be great for visitors to zoos around the world to be able to get their hands on this CD, meanwhile supporting the World Wildlife Fund? This is a demo recording, aimed at potential producers and funders who can help take the project to the next level. If you know someone who can be a part of making that vision come true, let me know!
You can help by joining the email list. When Mister Felipe gets a kickstarter campaign together, you can join in. Let’s bring these songs to the world, and help the animals in the process!