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North of Mars

North of Mars CDParents' Choice AwardA bunch of kids’ songs!

Winner of the 1995 Parents’ Choice Honor. “Parents’ Choice Foundation‘s panels of educators, scientists, performing artists, librarians, parents and, yes, kids themselves, identify the very best products for children of different ages and backgrounds, and of varied skill and interest levels.”

“beautifully rendered”—NPR’s All Things Considered

Produced by Russ Landau and Lui Collins
Recorded at LMG Studios, Litchfield, Connecticut,
August – September 1994
Recorded and mixed by Russ Landau

Cover Artwork by Sylva Zander
Design by Kathy Cowles

Lui Collins – Vocals, guitar, piano, keyboards
Russ Landau – Arrangements, keyboards & percussion programming, acoustic bass and oboesis proboscus on Peace on Earth, multo tubissimo on Waltzing with Bears

Guest Musicians:
Chris Brown – trumpet on Two Pterodactyls and Ms. A. Hulas
David Kaynor – fiddle on Maggie’s Reel/Raven Song
Michael Kessler – accordion on Waltzing with Bears
Bill Lauf – tenor guitar on Ms. A. Hulas
Jim Mola – percussion on Bearline and Ms. A. Hulas

Children’s Chorus:
Sylva Zander
Sam Jones
Sarah Bodley
Timothy Zander
Jane Spencer
Eric Estra
Magdalen Zander

Song List/Lyrics

Peace on Earth
Lui Collins ©1992 Molly Gamblin Music/BMI
Lui Collins/July 10, 1992
The night before the Grumbling Gryphons 1992 Arts Camp production, Director Leslie Elias asked me if I knew any songs about “sun, rain, peace.” I wrote this song in the car driving my kids to camp the next day. I taught it to the other children when we got there and they sang it like angels that evening! Recorded here with Children’s Chorus.
Lui Collins ©1992 Molly Gamblin Music/BMI
Lui Collins/January 1, 1992
I awoke on New Year’s Day with this song in my head. I marvel at how a story, by taking me very far away, can give such perspective and clarity on what is deep inside myself.
Lui Collins ©1991 Molly Gamblin Music/BMI
Lui Collins/June 30, 1991
A black bear really did come visit us on the afternoon of June 24, 1991. Hope you can bear to listen to this track!
Guest musician Jim Mola plays the Black Bear Udu solo and other percussion.
Red Creek Rising (instrumental)
Lui Collins ©1993 Molly Gamblin Music/BMI
After my performance at the Music Hall in Oswego, NY, Cathy Barbano, organizer of this wonderful concert series, and I talked until the wee hours at her home in Red Creek. The next morning she cooked me breakfast as I played guitar in her cozy kitchen, together celebrating the sunshine, the glorious autumn day.
Ms. A. Hulas
lyrics by Jane Yolen ©1990 Jane Yolen, Beer & Pizza/BMI; music by Lui Collins ©1994 Molly Gamblin Music/BMI
Sometimes at bedtime we get very silly before we get sleepy. Books like Jane Yolen’s Dinosaur Dances, (published by G. P. Putnam’s Sons, 1990) help keep us going. Jane’s poems are so musical, often as I read one to my children, the melody arises spontaneously. Ms. A was about the best inspiration yet.
Guest musicians: Chris Brown – trumpet, Bill Lauf – tenor guitar, Jim Mola – percussion.
Joyful Noise
Lui Collins ©1992 Molly Gamblin Music/BMI
I wrote this round for the Joyful Noise Coffeehouse of Lexington, Massachusetts, a few days before my first performance there.
Guest musicians Sylva Zander, Sarah Bodley and Jane Spencer from the Children’s Chorus.
Lui Collins ©1993 Molly Gamblin Music/BMI
Lui Collins/with the children of the 2nd annual Grumbling Gryphons Theatre Arts Camp/August 5, 1993
I learned of the myth of Sedna through Leslie Elias, director of the Grumbling Gryphons children’s theatre group. Versions of this myth are found in many parts of the world. The Netsilik Eskimos give the Sea Goddess the name of “Nujialak”; in many versions she is known as Sedna. I wrote the song, with creative input from the children, for Leslie’s 1993 Grumbling Gryphons Theatre and Arts Camp’s production of Elke and the Magic Gryphon. The narrative is my version of the myth of Sedna, based on information from Leslie. Many thanks to Leslie for sharing the myth with me. I am grateful for the privilege of working with her.
Recorded here with Children’s Chorus.
Two Stones, One River / Reflection
lyrics by Jane Yolen ©1995 Jane Yolen, Beer & Pizza/BMI; music by Lui Collins ©1994 Molly Gamblin Music/BMI
When I shared my plans for this album with Jane, she sent me several poems, including these two. This piece is one of my favorites of our collaborations. The poems are from Water Music, published by Boyds Mill Press 1995. This one is for you, Tim, for those moments of stillness.
Waltzing With Bears
by Dale Marxen ©Dale Marxen
This song has been a favorite of mine ever since I first heard Gail Rundlett sing it in the WERS studio in Boston years ago. The Matilda verse was written by Nick Hawes.
With guest musician Michael Kessler on accordion and full Children’s Chorus.
Maggie’s Reel / Raven Song (instrumental)
Lui Collins/May 19, 1993 and September 13, 1992, ©1993 Molly Gamblin Music/BMI
Violin was one of my earliest instruments, but I gave it up after high school. A few years ago I revived my interest in it playing New England and Celtic traditional dance tunes. I derive great pleasure from this and from writing an occasional tune for fiddle. Maggie’s Reel is named for my daughter Magdalen, who danced to the tune when it first came into my head, as we walked down Ivy Mountain Road.
With guest musician David Kaynor on fiddle.
Two Pterodactyls
lyrics by Jane Yolen ©1990 Jane Yolen, Beer & Pizza/BMI; music by Lui Collins ©1994 Molly Gamblin Music/BMI
Remembering to celebrate our lives, setting moments aside from the busy-ness that often engulfs us – as children or grown-ups – to dance, play, dream, or just to be with a friend, is so essential to our well-being and to keeping the joy present in our lives. This song is another Dinosaur Dances treasure.
With guest musician Chris Brown on trumpet.
Poppa Bear’s Hum
lyrics by Jane Yolen ©1987 Jane Yolen, Beer & Pizza/BMI; music by Lui Collins ©1988 Molly Gamblin Music/BMI
Magdalen’s favorite lullaby, from The Three Bears Rhyme Book, published by
Harcourt Brace Jovanovich 1987.
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