Thursday, July 21, 2016

The musical Rinkitink

Last year, Karyl Carlson announced that there would be CDs of her son's efforts to put music to the songs in Rinkitink in Oz. Well, Karyl's son Sean Carlson delivered!

The Songs of L. Frank Baum's Rinkitink in Oz is a 23 minute concept album in which Sean sings as Rinkitink (and speaks as Bilbil on one track), putting all of Rinkitink's ditties and songs from the book to music, reminding us that this was a very musical book.

Sean uses synthesized music as well as his own instruments, and he noted specifically that he used a ukulele and a didgeridoo. Synthesized music can sound good, and it does here. It doesn't feel like you're suddenly listening to a computer game from 1998. In addition to the songs, the album has four instrumental tracks of just music inspired by the story.

It should be noted that this is one interpretation of Rinkitink, not a definitive one. For me, when I read Rinkitink's songs in the book, I imagined Rinkitink having a deep baritone voice, and he'd belt out all his songs. Sean is not a baritone, so his Rinkitink is different with a much more gentle voice, giving more of the idea that Rinkitink is coming up with these songs on the spot and singing to himself and his friends. It's a viable interpretation, and the results are very pleasing.

Sean also doesn't try to keep the music in line with the time it was written. Perhaps I have a bad ear for genre, but the album uses all sorts of song styles for Rinkitink's songs, which lends to the idea that Rinkitink is coming up with these on the spot. Also, it helps with the idea that this story takes place in Fairyland, which has a culture that doesn't always mirror our own.

The CD comes in a digipak case (heavy cardstock with a hard plastic disc holder glued to a fold-out panel), decorated with art by John R. Neill in full color. The fold out panels include lyrics for the songs, and a track list, which reveals some of Sean's inspirations for these songs.

The CD was for sale at Oz Con International for $12 a copy (this is a small run of a concept album by an independent artist, so it will become a collector's item), and several copies will be available at Oz Con Philly next month, so if you're going or know someone who is going, your chance to get one is not far off. All sales will help fund future Oz Con events.

To order online, go to http://Paypal.Me/OzConInternational, enter $17.00 ($5 to cover shipping) and log in.

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