Monday, November 13, 2006

Dan Zanes at Carnegie Hall

This was a benefit for Carnegie Hall’s children’s music series so you could pay $150 or $300 or a mere $8. We paid eight. Great. We had pretty bad seats, but it was a great hootenanny. Dan Zanes came out in a very, very bright red suit and sang “The Wonder Wheel,” his new old song about riding the Coney Island Ferris Wheel with all his friends.

I love Dan Zanes and I love his music—the new stuff that sounds old and the old stuff that he reminds you of: hearing him and Natalie Merchant sing “You take the high road and I’ll take the low road” was moving and fun and beautiful all at once. And when Barbara Brousal—who has every bit as much star power as Natalie Merchant—came out to sing her gorgeous “Malti,” she brought the house down.

This was the third time my older daughter and I have seen Dan Zanes; the second for my husband, too. The formula is so winning and great: lots of homespun special guests come out in quick succession to sing a mix of new and old folk songs on old-time instruments. We were sitting with a bunch of eleven year-old boys who whooped and hollered when their friend made his Carnegie Hall debut, playing trumpet alongside his father and Anna Zanes. Father Goose comes out toward the end and leads everyone in his Jamaican dub-style medley of nursery rhymes and the band slowly marches off-stage in a waltz through the crowd.

I’m not a good singer but I love to sing. When I was little, the other kids at summer camp let me sing only because I learned all the lyrics. So, out of tune, I could carry the other campers through the tougher verses. Dan Zanes’ happy open attitude about music—everybody sing along, everybody dance—helps keep me singing with my girls now. We sing all the time.

This morning, my daughter said she wished she could go back and be a baby again but this time she would try to remember it. She is jealous of the infant and feels like things would be better if she could remember how I used to tend to her as I now tend to the baby. So we talked about how no one remembers being a baby.

“Except you, Mama.”

No, I don’t remember being a baby.

“But you remember all the songs, Mama. All of them.”


Bud Parr said...

I'm with you on enjoying his music - I'll have to send you my video of Dan and co leading our neighborhood Halloween parade. He lives here and you can sometimes find him shooting a video on his stoop or doing something for the kids.

Unknown said...

I think I'd about die if I saw that video--do send it.

My daughter and I both have crushes on him. So yes, I do enjoy the music. But I also really am a little mad for the whole phenom. (silly, but very wholesome in the end, I guess...)