I love what Enzo Garcia does, kids-musically. There are lots of kids' musicians who make great music for listening to, for dancing with, but it warms my heart knowing that flame of participatory kids music -- music that encourages singing along and interacting with the music and others -- still burns bright. Enzo Garcia is one of the best at keeping that fire going.
With his latest release, Field Trip with Enzo, his tenth album of original songs, the San Francisco-based Garcia combines his all-hands-clapping approach with an abiding interest in the natural world. Songs about raccoons, squirrels, monkeys, and frogs -- two times -- are found on the disk, blended with other concepts. "Raccoon" is a Garcia original that's a bluesy counting song, while "Monkey Motions" is, as you might guess, a movement song encouraging the mimicking of different animals. "Side of a Mountain Top" is a rollicking movement song.
This sounds a lot like prior Enzo disks -- folky, with an array of rustic instruments including banjo, accordion, jaw harp, slide flute, and, yes, the "enzotar." While almost all of the songs have some interactive component to them, there are a few tracks that sound sweet all by themselves -- Garcia's hypnotizing "Hand Over Hand" and the concluding lullaby "When the Sun Goes Down", and his duet with Erin "Mimi" Lucas on the traditional "The Green Grass Grows."
The album will appeal most to kids ages 3 to 7. For the moment, it's just available at the Pokey Pup (hear samples here), though I believe that will change soon. You can also hear "Monkey Motions" at Garcia's Myspace page. I should also mention that longtime Zooglobble reader Deb in SF gets a nice shout-out from Garcia in the liner notes.
As with all of Garcia's previous kids' CDs, Field Trip with Enzo will work best if you and your kids stand up and actually play along with the music. If you're not willing to do that, then this CD might not be for you (though I think it holds up OK even in that case). But if you're willing to follow Enzo on his trips, then I think you'll be pleased where you end up. Recommended.