If I could choose any “dream job” with the natural talent to pursue it, it would involve singing and playing jazz. Fortunately, dreams don’t always demand pursuit, and I can just enjoy an occasional fantasy while working my other dream job of being a children’s librarian.
But local mom and musician Lori Henriques is living the fantasy. If you don’t know about her, you need to. This singer/songwriter/pianist was recently given an ASCAP Foundation award for her song, “Something You Learn” (Learn more about that here).
Her new album- “The World Is a Curious Place to Live” released this summer- gives breath and melody to hefty subjects such as science, math, nutrition, and language. Reminding me of the familiar “Why?” stage all young children experience, it’s fueled by the concepts of curiosity and wonder. Aptly, her first song, “Curiosity” pays tribute to a joy of learning and discovery:
“Curiosity- I love to be under your spell
Curiosity- yes I can see you work so well
Question pops into my curious mind, I start to research ‘cause I’ve just got to find
Another pattern, another answer…the rings of Saturn, a cure for cancer…”
These seventeen tracks make for a fun listening session with your favorite school-age kid. Henriques sounds like a jazzy Julie Andrews and her classical and jazz influenced vocals and piano technique are a delight to listen to.
The best songs on the album are those that don’t force a specific lesson but allow Henriques to express deep feeling and heart along with the subject matter. As a casual listener, I favor her ballads more than the counting songs like “Let’s Count By Two’s” although I see how useful those are from a teaching perspective.
Here are some of my favorites:
Dinosaur (#2) is a soulful ode to dinos, describing both admiration and wonder:
“Gotta say- you were so cool/a little creepy/and so old-school…hard to imagine you walked on this same land/and quite possibly you touched this rock with your 3-fingered hand”
Everlovin’ Water (track #4) A song praising the benefits of water, describing the physiological process water has on the body, while using clever rhyme and rhythm. Impressive!
When I Look into the Night Sky (track #6) This haunting tune describes the night-time wonder of atoms, stars, planets, and a large universe:
“Every atom that’s inside us, used to live inside a star/We sparkle and we marvel, what is near has come from afar/Whatever may be out there, whatever may be true, the beauty and the wonder, how it moves me through and through”
The World Is A Curious Place to Live (#17): A beautiful, sweet ballad describing things we learn about (music, science, language, math) as well as human relationships ( “we’ve got family, we’ve got friends, we’ll find more along the path”) I just wish there were more verses to this one.
I’m really looking forward to hearing more from Lori in the future!