Itty-Bitty Review: Zee Avi's Nightlight - Zee Avi


The Malaysian artist Zee Avi has been making music in public since 2007 when she first posted a recording to YouTube.   Seven years later, she's got three albums under her belt and her fourth, a kid-friendly collection of lullaby-friendly covers titled Zee Avi's Nightlight, spotlights simple arrangements and her slightly husky vocals.

Assuming you clear the initial hurdle of not mangling the music itself -- and Avi and producer Kevin Salem (yay Little Monster Records!) do clear that with plenty of room to spare -- the question becomes what songs do you choose to cover, and do you bring your own style to the song.  On  the latter point, she mostly succeeds -- could you ever hear Bobby McFerrin's "Don't Worry, Be Happy" without McFerrin's mouth-music?  Apparently, yes, you could -- it's an excellent start to the album.  Her take on "Rainbow Connection" is more restrained than Kermit's original version.

As for her song selection, some choices are inspired -- the Velvet Underground's "Who Loves the Sun" and Joni Mitchell's "The Circle Game" -- but compared to some other lullaby cover albums, the overall selection is more staid.  And while the "Nightlight Medley" is an interesting mix of American and Malaysian lullabies, as an actual lullaby, it doesn't work as well as an actual lullaby.  (The album as a whole might be a touch too active for lullaby-ing.)

As with all lullaby albums, the 31-minute album is targeted at 0 to 4-year-olds and the parents who are desperate for them for fall asleep.  You can hear several songs at Avi's website.  As a lullaby album which for the most part stays solidly in the latter half of the 20th century, Zee Avi's Nightlight will certainly appeal to many modern parents.  While the album isn't the first I'd recommend for families looking to start a lullaby collection, I'd definitely place it ahead of lot of other such albums.  Recommended.

Note: I was provided a copy of the album for possible review.