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Natalie Merchant - Leave Your Sleep

2010-07-08 08:06
Leave Your Sleep
Leave Your Sleep, according to Merchant, was born out of conversation she had with her daughter Lucia over the first six years of her life and collects 26 poems and nursery rhymes by well-known British and American writers and sets them to music. It's a rather lovely concept that results in a gentle, melodic and increasingly entertaining music.

Merchant spent five years putting Leave Your Sleep together, assembling over 100 musicans and venturing deep into an age-old tradition of word-of-mouth storytelling that shapes the early life of a child. What she emerges with is a beautiful collection that takes in the absurd joy of Jack Prelutsky's "Bleezer's Ice-Cream" (set to a wonderful jazz score), "The Dancing Bear" by Albert Bigelow Paine ("Oh, it's a fiddle-de-dum and a fiddle-de-dee") and poems by ee cummings and Christina Rossetti.

Leave Your Sleep is both a musical journey that aims to do justice to each piece of writing, and a worthy literary retrospective that offers an abridged biography of each writer. If you didn't pay much attention during English classes at school and are at a loss as to which stories and rhymes your children would enjoy, then let Merchant be your guide. This is thoughtful, grownup music for your head and heart that you can share with your offspring (or your offspring's offspring) as they learn and play. Who would've thought it was even a possibility?

If art is love made manifest, then 'Leave Your Sleep', is Natalie Merchant's conceptual lovechild. It is not only a sumptuous and thoughtfully collected 2CD set, it is a labour of love that adds colour and light and playfulness to the bond formed between parent and child in the simple act of telling stories.

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