I first got wind of this album from the video (view) of Toma que Toma in one of the world music video blocks on Link TV, a largely unknown gem of a channel on DirecTV. On Songs of Innocence, Tomas Gubitsch and Hughes de Courson take childrens’ songs from around the world and arrange them for children’s chorus, orchestra, and a wide variety instruments from around the world.
From the CD label…
The title is borrowed form the British poet William Blake, who sought to write “Happy songs every child may joy to hear”. But those songs, like the ones on this recording, do not all depict an innocent and happy world. Many of them incorporate injustice, evil and suffering. For Blake, “Innocence” is the state of the human soul that stands opposed to the state of “Experience”. He maintains that these two states must be surpassed in order to achieve an ideal third state, that of “Organized Innocence”.
Unlike many records specifically aimed at children and often made by adults, this is a disc for everybody which interpreted by children.
The music blends world music with Broadway, jazz, and sometimes a bit of the Avant Gard. An interesting feature to be found on the CD is the jazz improvisation on the Ullian Pipes. Beyond Toma que Toma, other full arrangements worth finding in this collection are Barisokhanda, Mascaro da Pru, and Mome Djakunde.