If you ever find yourself feeling as if there was nothing in the world that could lift your spirits, you surely haven’t heard Rob Duquette’s new CD, “Love Is Contagious,” a lovely collection of five uplifting and light-hearted songs aimed at children.
Duquette, of Saco, is a multi-instrumentalist musician and educator with an emphasis on drums and percussion.
Music directly targeting children has been growing in popularity over the years, and the consensus about the quality of the music is usually well, not so favorable to parents’ ears.
“Love Is Contagious” is thankfully a refreshing dive into the kiddie pool. The music is, first and foremost, driven with cheery reggae-induced melody and beats. Duquette is influenced by Afro-Caribbean, North and South American, north Indian and African music, as his studies are broad and eclectic.
Luckily for us adults, the music is not over-the-top hokey (think The Wiggles and “Fruit Salad”). The first track, “Brush Everyday,” is a song with a positive message. It’s catchy from the start with Afro-Jamaican beats, and the cutesy dialogue about going to the dentist and having a “good” report makes it acceptable for parent and child alike.
“Friends Forever” is a very upbeat and enthusiastic song that could be played on any mainstream radio station. It’s more pop than reggae, but infuses a xylophone to keep the Caribbean feel.
In the final track, “Behind the Mountain,” the infectious beats and catchy lyrics play until a child’s voice answers the question pertaining to the whereabouts of the sun when it disappears. The sweet innocence of the young child’s voice — answering with enthusiastic lisped expression, “To California? Australia? To another planet?” — succinctly depicts why Duquette would even want to tackle this kind of genre.
This music is for the kids, not the parents, even though it’s very nice for the parents to be able to not get completely annoyed with a children’s album.
In the end, these children are precisely the people in the future who will be ruling this kingdom, so let’s give them a childhood with good, fun music that teaches kindness, exploration and love — for that is our responsibility as their role models. Kudos to Duquette for embracing it.
Kristin DiCara-McClellan is a freelance writer.