With simply her voice and acoustic guitar, Kesang Marstrand creates 12 perfect examples of "Naptime Music," tunes that encourage relaxed contemplation rather than a comotose state of slumber. Marstrand's breathy vocals give you the sense that she's on the verge of telling you a cosmic secret, which, combined with her fingerpicking style, brings to mind kids' music star Frances England, early James Taylor, folksinger Sandy Denny (Fairport Convention, The Strawbs, Fotheringay), and singer/songwriter Nick Drake (particularly on the tune "Carry On Crickets").
Hello Night is full of pastoral scenes of water and wind, flowers and insects, setting suns and rising moons. Highlights include the absolutely beautiful waltz "Hush;" a song called "Rest," on which Marstrand trades her guitar for a kalimba; and the James Taylor-like title tune, which could accompany Margaret Wise Brown's classic picture book Goodnight Moon.
The album is painted with lyrics like "wrapped in a blanket of starlight and moonbeams / it's bedtime in our sleepy town" ("Sleepy Town"); "how lovely it is to wonder and wander / in the land of dreams ("In the Land of Dreams"); and "don't be fooled by sounds of the wind / wildflower seeds are scattering / and even when the clouds form, even in a big storm / your bed is safe and warm" ("Among the Green Leaves").
Beautiful, tender, and full of dreamy imagery, Hello Night should be on everyone's "must hear" list despite, or maybe because of, the fact that it's a "kids' album." A prime example of the power of simplicity, Kesang Marstrand's debut children's album is definitely some of the best kids' music of 2009.
Released September 1, 2009; North Node Records
- "Carry On Crickets"
- "Sleepy Town"
- "In the Land of Dreams"
- "Cocooned in My Blanket"
- "Listen to Your Heart"
- "Among the Green Leaves"
- "Hello Night"
- "Sleep Tight"
- "All the Little Children"