January 10, 2007

Musical accompaniments for Ben and Me (and Davy Crockett, too)

I was at Amazon looking for a CD version of the old LP Davy Crockett -- Western Adventures with Fess Parker, Buddy Ebsen, and Gene Autry when I chanced upon Davy Crockett's Fiddle, music from Crockett's time performed on Crockett's own fiddle by Dean Shostak, who began playing violin at Colonial Williamsburg at age of 14. About 15 years ago, Mr. Shostak
became involved in the revival of the rare and beautiful glass armonica, invented by Benjamin Franklin in 1761. Today, there are only eight glass armonica players in the world. Dean is credited with bringing the glass armonica to Williamsburg, where it was performed on many occasions over 200 years ago. Instead of using an electric motor to spin the glasses, Dean is the only glass armonica player since the 18th century to use a flywheel and foot treadle as Franklin originally designed.
Which made me think of JoVE and of my own Davy, and while he's a banjo fan, I think this would be mighty appealing for him.

And that led me to Mr. Shostak and friends performing Colonial Fair: Songs, Stories, and Riddles. From the Amazon website: "Humor, history and music come together on this new 55-minute recording as kids get a chance to hear unusual instruments like Ben Franklin's glass armonica, hurdy-gurdy, fife and drum and harpsichord, as well as sing along to favorites such as 'Yankee Doodle', 'Old King Cole', and 'Simple Simon'. Among the colorful characters kids will meet are merchants singing street cries, fortune tellers, and even fiddlers in a contest. Kids also get to test their wits by solving riddles taken from the 18th century."

And finally, for a Ben Franklin Christmas (no, not now -- save it for next Christmas), Mr. Shostak's Crystal Carols, traditional Christmas carols arranged for the glass armonica, with violin, piano and harp accompaniment.

Though, drat it all, can't seem to find any of them at either Amazon.ca or Chapters.ca. Will have to contact Mr. Shostak directly to inquire about Canadian distributors, or shipping to the north*.

* Thanks all for your kind (and warm) blizzard wishes. The kids and I are safe and indoors, though the wind is still blowing and the snow swirling around. It's all supposed to be over by the end of the day.

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