Sunday, July 25, 2010

Album Review: Pamela Sunshine - Growing Up Green

Pamela Sunshine has created a fun album of environmentally-conscious songs for children of all ages. Growing Up Green was born in 1992, when the first Earth Summit was held. Pamela was invited to perform at an environmental assembly at a school in Norfolk. When she was there she noticed that many of the children were wearing badges that read “Growing Up Green.” The rest, as they say, is history.

The album’s subject matter is serious, but Pamela tackles the recycling and conservation, among many other issues, in a way that isn’t condescending or childish. All of the songs on Growing Up Green are easy to listen to, as well as infectious, thanks to Pamela’s perky singing and Gordon Maxwell’s excellent harmony vocals. This is an album that can appeal to the child in everybody.

Pamela’s musical style is very folksy, much like Peter, Paul and Mary with the childlike innocence of Shari Lewis. From the opening bars of the song “Growing Up Green,” you know that you are in for a enjoyable listen; toes will be tapping, heads will be bobbing and there will be a lot of singing along. There’s an extra bonus to giving this album a listen. You and your children might learn something.

“Garbage Free Sea” will strike a chord with most listeners. It reminds us of how important it is for the waters to remain free of garbage and other things. It’s not just the sea that she’s worried about. She tackles recycling and litter in the song “Litter Matters.” Once the song ends, you’ll think twice before tossing a candy wrapper carelessly to the ground. She also reminds us to conserve water on “Turn Off The Tap.”

Pamela delivers her message sweetly in each song no matter what style she sings it in, from a fun reggae tune, to an upbeat country sounding tune, to a fun spoken-word song. That spoken-word track is “Ten Empty Bottle Cans,” which has a double message. It reminds us that littering is bad and recycling is good, and this message comes via a fun little rhyme that the kiddies will be reciting for hours after listening to it.

The album closes with the frolicking “Very Green Song.” It really doesn’t get much greener than this tune, as she sings “Green, green green green. Green green green green. This is a very green song.” Now that’s a lot of green! Its message is simple, “We can make a change, if we’re all green.”

It is wonderful when children’s music can accomplish more than just the basic entertainment purpose, and Pamela Sunshine’s Growing Up Green serves two purposes: to entertain and to educate. Wouldn’t it be wonderful if the whole world could listen to these sweet and simple tunes, take the message that each song contains, and put that message to use in their lives? It would make the world a better place.

Pamela makes being green fun, with her songs that teach why we need to be good to our planet. Now who was it that said, “It isn’t easy being green”?

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