Many Hands for Haiti

by Amy Kraft on August 9, 2010

Who’s got two thumbs and loves a great compilation CD? This guy! Seriously, I’d take a compilation or soundtrack over a straight-up, one-artist album any day of the week. So say someone sends me a compilation CD, loaded with the all-stars of kids’ rock (They Might Be Giants! Recess Monkey! Dan Zanes! Secret Agent 23 Skidoo! Gustafer Yellowgold!). Then mix in a bunch of other really great songs from people you you haven’t heard of, and some that you have (Pete Seeger!). Then say that the proceeds will benefit the Haitian People’s Support Project. LOVE.

With friends in Haiti, not to mention a love of the music from that region, Musician Dean Jones from the band Dogs on Fleas wanted to do something to help relief efforts, and the album Many Hands: Family Music for Haiti was born. I like the label of “family music” to describe this album. There’s awesome stuff for kids, and a huge range of music that adults will enjoy, too. (It’s also a perfect album to bounce a baby to.) The album covers vast expanses of the cultural and musical world, and it thematically tackles the natural world, with songs about insects, plants, storms, and the skies. Dan Zanes’ track, “Tonight Tonight” is absolutely lovely, and Olive naturally gravitated to Recess Monkey’s “Fiddlehead Fern”. Many of the tracks on the album are previously unreleased, and some were recorded specifically for this album.

One of the best surprises on the album comes from geek icon Jonathan Coulton. With a name like “The Princess Who Saved Herself”, I’m pretty much guaranteed to like this song. The princess in question is a fabulous role model, and in a wonderful interlude in the song, she repeatedly hangs up on a prince. Hilarious.

As luck would have it, I listened to this album the day before its release, which is tomorrow. If you head over to Amazon, you can have a listen to all of the tracks. There’s not a clunker in the bunch. I think this one will be great in heavy rotation in a road trip we have coming up. Check this one out – great music for a great cause.

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