Sunday, February 10, 2013

The Shadow Dance

As a songwriter, musician and performer I'm always amazed at the level of talent in the Kindie music world. One artist whom I find super-talented and who's also cornered the market on a certain aspect of the kids & family music scene is Michael Rachap. Michael creates cool little videos that help new readers learn to read. Under the name Readeez, Michael's words pop up syllabically for readers to follow along. With simple images and snappy tunes it's a terrific concept. Having been a fan of the Readeez concept for a while, I sent Michael a song that I thought might work for a Readeez-style video. However, I didn't do my homework and failed to realize that there's very little instrumental passages in a Readeez video. Much like radio, you can't have "dead air." Michael was very kind and explained the importance of keeping the words flowing. I realized the obviousness of my error and was set out to write to the Readeez format. In less than a few minutes I wrote a new song that I thought would work. I wrote it as a duet and knew instantly that my friend, Charity Kahn of Charity and the JamBand had the perfect voice that would fit the style. Unfortunately, it took us about 5 months to get together to record the song! 

Charity offered the services of her band mate/engineer/producer/boyfriend, Daryn Roven, to record the song at his home studio in the hills of Oakland, CA. 
With just my banjitar (banjo body with a guitar neck) for accompaniment we sang the duet as Daryn did a terrific job recording - all 52 seconds of the song! Happy with the results I couldn't wait to show the song to Michael. 

However,in the meantime, Michael had taken on the herculean task of writing, recording and putting together 2 new DVDs of Readeez material which would consume most of his time for the next year. Undiscouraged, I was grateful that Michael's work inspired me to write the song and set about to find a way to present it that would make Michael proud  - without ripping off the Readeez style. I sought the help of Brian Clarke, aka Les Toil. Brian has produced all of the amazing art for our CDs, posters and backdrops since 2009.  We bounced ideas back and forth on how to create a little video to present the song and came up with a concept we thought would be fun.

We hope you enjoy it (dedicated to Michael Rachap and Readeez)

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