Banjo to Beatbox

Music review by
Jacqueline Rupp, Common Sense Media
Banjo to Beatbox Music Poster Image
Unusual mix of folk and hip-hop succeeds in kid-friendly CD.

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The parents' guide to what's in this music.

Positive Messages

Several songs like "It’s the Beatbox" and "Syncopated Washboard Rhythm Song" encourage kids to get in on making music and show young listeners that anyone can make music, and you don’t even need a real instrument to have fun.

Violence & Scariness
Sexy Stuff
Drinking, Drugs & Smoking

What parents need to know

Parents need to know that this is a unique album that sets out to show kids there are lots of ways to make music. Beatbox hip-hop artist Christylez Bacon demonstrates his mouth drumming skills while Marcy & Cathy sing songs about farming, frog and feeling "Jubilation." The hip-hop elements are kid-friendly and reminiscent of an old-school rap flavor, with slow deliberate rhymes that kids can easily understand.

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What's the story?

Grammy Award winners and folk scene veterans Cathy (Fink) & Marcy (Marxer) join forces with Washington D.C. hip-hop newcomber Christylez Bacon to create an album that blends elements of funk, folk, rap, and bluegrass into one mellow album for kids. Bacon contributes both rhymes and his unmistakable beatbox (mouth drums) sound, while the women play an assortment of banjos. Although the collaboration might be unconventional, the songs cover traditional ground, with standards like "New River Train," "Froggy Went A Courtin'" and even a rap about Humpty Dumpty.

Is it any good?

Opposites attract and on this recording it's hard to deny the musical magic created by mixing the divergent styles of hip-hop and folk together. Cathy & Marcy display their musical aptitude and show off some sweet banjo licks throughout the eight tracks. The CD also offers kids the rare opportunity to learn all about "beatbox." With tender harmonies and Bacon's friendly raps make this a unique but comforting collection of songs.

Talk to your kids about ...

  • Families can talk about beatbox. On the song "It’s the Beatbox" hip-hop artist Christylez Bacon shows listeners how many sounds he can make with his mouth “I can walk down the street and always have a drum with me…it took a lot of practice and it started as a hobby, and now I got 20 different drums in my body.”  What sounds can you make with your mouth, with your hands, with your feet? Do some sounds sound silly, do some sound scary? Marcy & Cathy use a washboard, toys and other interesting instruments to make music. Does listening to this CD make you think of any household items you can use to make music?

Music details

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