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SONGS FOR GROWN-UPS:
THE SONGS OF DAVID SIMMONDS AND SJEF FRENKEN (Byte-town Fyfer SF/GU-60)


David Simmonds and Sjef Frenken have been writing songs together since they first met at Ottawa’s famous folk-café Rasputin’s in 2006. Even after David moved from Ottawa to Wellington in Prince Edward County, their collaborations continued, and will probably continue in the years to come. David is an amazing lyricist, who is also a fine composer, with more than 150 songs and several CDs of his own to his credit. The arrangements for these 32 songs are simple: piano and upright bass. Amanda Bon* (a fine Ottawa singer-song-writer with two CDs of her own songs to her credit) provides harmonies on some of the songs, is the soloist on one song, and joins Sjef in a (more-or-less) duet.

Samples:

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Paisley and Polka Dot *
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Rare as Gems *
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No Parachute
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The Great Unknowable
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Samosas in Samoa
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Slip Away *
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Older Than Methusaleh
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The Big Box Store *
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Let it Flow *
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I Believe In
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Lash Me to the Mast
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Wasting My Breath

 


 

‘SONGS FOR THE INNER CHILD’ SERIES:

Songs to Edward Lear (Byte-town Fyfer SF/TIC-04)

This digipak album offers sixteen of Edward Lear's longer verses, including Calico Pie, The Owl and The Pussy-Cat, The Courtship of the Yonghy-Bonghy-Bò, and The Dong with the Luminous Nose. The 36-page insert contains all the lyrics as well as 16 beautiful and imaginative illustrations by Australian artist M.M.J Lee.

As with the previous three albums in the series (Songs to Robert Louis Stevenson, Songs to Eugene Field, and Songs to Walter de la Mare), it contains music that appeals to youngsters and adults. The musicians are members of the Aomezeyck Ensemble. Arranger Greg Geeves substitutes at the piano in two of the songs. The composer is once again singing the songs himself, with a little help here and there from Ottawa singer-songwriter Amanda Bon.

Samples:

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Calico Pie
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The Owl and the Pussy Cat
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The Pobble Who Has No Toes
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The Jumblies
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The Duck and the Kangaroo
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The Daddy Long-Legs and the Fly
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The Table and the Chair

 


 

1. Songs to Walter de la Mare, settings of 40 poems by one of the English-speaking world's great poets, sung by the composer, backed by members of the Aomezeyck Ensemble.
Byte-town Fyfer SF/TIC-03

This is the third in a projected series SONGS FOR THE INNER CHILD -- settings of poems written for children (but also enjoyable by grown-ups) by some of the finest English-language poets of the Victorian and Edwardian eras.

Walter de la Mare was a prolific writer of poems, but also wrote short stories and novels. He is perhaps best known for his poem "The Listeners." He died in 1956.

By permission of the Society of Authors as the representative of the Walter de la Mare estate, the CD also contains a 24-page booklet with the texts of the 40 songs.

Samples from Songs to Walter de la Mare:

Somewhere
Tartary
Miss T
Silver
The Penny Owing
The Song of the Soldiers
Said Jane
Nobody Knows
Nicholas Nye
Nicoletta
Nod
The Truants


 

2. Songs to Eugene Field, settings of 21 poems by one of America's best-loved poets, sung by Kathleen Johnson, and backed by the Aomezeyck Ensemble.
Byte-town Fyfer SF/TIC-02

This is the second in a projected series SONGS FOR THE INNER CHILD -- settings of poems written for children (but also enjoyable by grown-ups) by some of the best English-language poets of the Victorian and Edwardian eras.

Eugene Field, a contemporary of Robert Louis Stevenson, was known in his day as America's Children's Poet. He wrote not only for children, but about childhood too. Most of his poems for children are still as fresh today as they were a hundred years ago.

Kathleen Johnson is a music therapist. As a singer and composer she has published a CD (entitled "You Might As Well Live") combining her music with poems by Dorothy Parker.

The songs in this Field CD are very melodic treatments of 21 of some of Field's most popular poems for children, including quite a number of lullabies.

"As in the Stevenson CD, it is difficult to fit the music into a specific niche. Marry light classics with folk music, and you're half-way there. I think Field would have liked what I did with his poems." -- The composer.

The CD contains a 24-page booklet with the text of the 21 songs. The illustrations, with one exception, are by youngsters from the Ottawa area.

Samples from the CD "Songs to Eugene Field".

The Sugar Plum Tree
A Fairy Lullaby
The Duel
Wynken Blynken and Nod
Norse Lullaby
A Hushaby
The Ride to Bumpville
Child and Mother


 
 

3. Songs to Robert Louis Stevenson, 25 settings of poems from Stevenson’s A Child’s Garden of Verses, sung by mezzo-soprano Lisa Lapointe with guitar accompaniment by John Klepko. A simple, respectful and very melodic treatment of Stevenson's poems, that can be enjoyed by children and adults alike.
Byte-town Fyfer SF/TIC-01

“My approach to these poems was to give them the kind of melody that a turn-of-the-century composer of light classics with an affinity to folk music would have applied. I'm thinking of Percy Grainer and Albert Ketelbey, for instance. -- The composer.

“Yes, they have affinities with lieder, in the quiet, intimate tone and the educated dialogue between voice and accompaniment--except that introductions and codas are shorter than in many lieder. The beautiful voice by Lisa Lapointe is also not in bel canto style (which would indeed have made them more Edwardian but at the same time more self-consciously 'art songs') -- more like the careful folk style of Joan Baez, I thought. However, both artists' careful choice of tone... and the soft Dowland-like guitar 'commentary' are a real delight. Hmm... well-kempt folk songs, quiet Dowland-like guitar- songs, intimate folk-lieder in the lute-song tradition?” -- Richard Dury. (Robert Louis Stevenson website: www.unibg.it/rls)

"I really enjoyed listening to these. They have a lovely folk-like quality, but they're fresh and they're perfectly tuned to the Stevenson verses that I know some of you know so well." -- Eric Friesen, Studio Sparks, CBC Radio 2.

The CD contains a 16-page booklet with the text of the 25 songs.

This CD is the first in a projected series of settings of poems written for children (but also enjoyable by grown-ups) by some of the best English-language poets of the Victorian and Edwardian eras. The series is entitled Songs for the Inner Child.

Samples from the CD "Songs to Robert Louis Stevenson".

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Where go the Boats
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The Cow
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Foreign Lands
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Travel
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My Kingdom
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My Ship and I
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My Bed is a Boat
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My Shadow
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The Land of Story-Books
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The Little Land

Click here to order from Byte-town Fyfer.

Click here to contact Byte-town Fyfer if you wish to be advised on the availability of the next project(s) in the series. We will not bother you by eM for any other purpose, nor sell, trade, rent, lend or give out your eM address to anyone else.


4. The above songs and more, are available in four parts for mezzo-soprano, violin/flute/oboe, piano/harp, and cello. They are arranged in four suites: the first three arranged by the composer, proofed and edited by Anne Dubrofsky; the fourth suite arranged by Canadian composer Kevork Andonian, whose works have been performed and recorded internationally. For inquiries, please click here.


5. The song ‘Bush and Thorn’ (also known as ‘A Bush, A Tree, A Stone’) sung and played by harpist Therese Schroeder-Sheker on her 1991 CD entitled In Dulci Jubilo (Celestial Harmonies 13039-2) of which reviewer Richard Banks said in 1998:

“I was most impressed with Bush and Thorn, a contemporary work by the Dutch-born Canadian immigré Sjef Frenken. This song has a more celtic sound than any of the others, combined with the ethereal quality which is present throughout the record. Ms. Schroeder-Sheker sings and plays with a rare intensity.”

This CD is still available as far as we know, and can be ordered through your friendly neighbourhood music store, or may be downloaded from the internet.


6. The Christmas song ‘From Afar’, written, sung and played by Sjef Frenken, on the CD The Christmas Platter, (Goosegg2) produced by GOOSE, available