Out of The Door of The Ark

Our songs and stories come from many years of playing with children and families, who like music as an activity they can join in with, as well as a performance. Music as an activity happens best in a circle, which is how we always arrange the seats. Teachers like songs that highlight elements of rhythm and pitch, pulse and dynamics. Some of these songs were developed to be educationally useful and are popular in schools. All were made to engage both children and adults, to give a chance to participate and to listen simultaneously. Most of them originated in theatre shows at The Ark, Europe’s first children’s cultural centre in Dublin, as experiments towards finding a participatory style: ‘The Croons’, ‘The Christmas Cafe’, ‘All Aboard’, ‘Christmas Island’. We owe The Ark a debt of gratitude which we gratefully acknowledge.

Thank you to everyone we play the songs for; the audiences of children and families in theatres, halls, schools, festivals and art centres.

Martin recorded us at The Glens Centre, Cluainín uí Ruairc, Contae Liatroma and at Kate’s house near Kilkenny – grateful thanks to all.

Thanks also to singers Teige and Abbey who had no rehearsal, only knew the songs a bit, and to James, Fan and Dee, who looked after everybody at a busy time.

We’d like to dedicate the album to Andrew Dickson, the most brilliant musician we know, with love and thanks.

Recorded by Martin Brunsden, mixed by Karl Odlum.

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join in with the songs

1. Jungle Journey You can help make all the sounds of this trip through wild Africa. Slap your knees for footsteps. Rub your hands for a grassy rustle. Flobber your lips and pop your cheeks for the river and thump your chest for the sound and rhythm of your feet crossing the bridge. When we jump over the creatures you can count the beat and try and land at the same time as us.

2. Aye Aye Captain There are actions for all the five Pirate Rules. They are not compulsory, unlike pirates, who are very compulsory. On ‘aye aye captain’ you cover your eye like a pirate and salute like a swab. On the cutlass you slash and stab. On the plank you edge forward three times, then slither to your doom. On the laugh you make up your own hideous pirate guffaw. For the treasure you turn the key in the lock, lift up the lid and gasp greedily.

3. Turtles 1 Make the wave sounds with us and rustle your hands to make the sound of midnight palm trees. Help the turtle dig and fill in her hole. I’m sorry she doesn’t escape from the net too. But that’s the way it is and there is a second part to the story…

4. In That Door The daddy animals are louder than the mammy ones, and the babies are quieter. That isn’t always true, but it is for this song.

5. The Last Puppy Please join in with singing this. Nowadays you don’t see puppies in petshop windows because everyone knows it’s unkind. Anyway a puppy isn’t just for Christmas, is it? We forgot to write on the CD that Martin plays the trombone on this song. He’d never played it much before. That’s Kate’s dog Hatty you can hear whimpering because we’ve shut her out. We had to, because she howls whenever she hears the accordion.

6. Turtles 2 If the sand is warm all the baby turtles will be girls. Boy turtles hatch from colder sand. They come from many different turtle fathers. You can be inside the eggs, hatch out and help with the sound of the sea. When we perform this we pass furry toy turtles around the circle and chase them with a furry shark.

7. Mon Ami My friend Matthew told me this story when I was about 6. I hope French people don’t mind this song about OUI. If you don’t mind, you can join in OUIing (and NONing) too.

8. This Is Our Cafe Help us chop, mix, fry and eat. We sang this song in ‘The Christmas Cafe,’ a show at The Ark. Nico played an 8-year-old girl called Nicola, wore pigtails and did ballet with Cindy Cummings. Martin wore a nappy as Malachy, a huge baby with dreadlocks. It was great!

The instruments on the album are: double bass, accordion, thumb pianos, mandolin, concertina, trombone, violin, swanee whistle, guitar, singing saw, harp.

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testimonials

“So lovely to have some music for childen that is not a money-making spin-off from the TV.”

“The first children’s CD I’ve been truly engaged and not nauseated by.”