CM . . .
. Volume XII Number 12 . . . . February 17, 2006
Hurray for Canada, and hurray for Michael Mitchell, whose third volume of Canada is for Kids is now out. Once again Mitchell, a gifted musician and storyteller who takes his shows to elementary schools all over the country, has come up with another fine collection of traditional and original songs. One of the winners on this recording of 13 pieces features the singer's distinctly Canadian version of the traditional "Donkey Riding" song, ending with a verse
Ballads (including jaunty renditions of French Canadian folktunes "Les Raftsmen" and "Ah! Si Mon Moine Voulait Danse”), a cheeky railroad song from B.C. ("The Kettle Valley Line") and a poignant lyrical rendition of a song about the hardships of farming in North Ontario ("Fields of Ice and Snow") make up the traditional component of the CD. The remaining eight songs were written and composed either by Michael Mitchell, himself, or in collaboration with talented musician Michael Becker. Mitchell claims on the jacket notes that Becker "is the real musical and technical genius behind the recording project."
The first tune, "I Like Walking in the Woods," a cheery up-beat song about the joys of strolling in the forest, has recently been nominated for an International Songwriting award. Along with two other original pieces, "Ratatat-tat" and "Winter, Spring, Summer and Fall," it celebrates one of Mitchell's favourite themes; that of appreciating and learning from nature.
“Come to Canada" is a very different sort of piece. Composed by Mitchell and Becker, it is introduced in the notes as follows: "Canada is a land of immigrants. It is a unique characteristic of being Canadian that we all share." Sung in a minor key with oriental sounding instrumental accompaniment, the verses have lonely, longing feel. The chorus, on the other hand, ("Come to Canada,/Safe and free for everyone, This is Canada, O Canada, our home.") is as perky as it is patriotic.
A retired teacher-librarian, Valerie Nielsen lives in Winnipeg, MB.
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Copyright © the Manitoba Library Association. Reproduction for personal use is permitted only if this copyright notice is maintained. Any other reproduction is prohibited without permission.