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Introducing “Arise Together Children of the World” 

The artistic quality of charity albums is often a hit-and-miss proposition. There are some who will say quality, ultimately, doesn’t matter as much as message. They are wrong. It’s testing the goodwill of consumers to ask them to buy an album of bad songs just to benefit a worthy cause. Fortunately, however, Arise Together – Children of the World doesn’t have to face that conundrum. The 23 songs included in this release draw from a bevy of global musical and songwriting talent frequently recurring throughout the track listing and don’t suffer from a lack of artistic merit. This release promoting diversity, ability with disability, and inclusion makes excellent use of the children involved and champions a just cause.

The dizzying cross-section of talent present on this release is guided, for the most part, by two key figures. Producers Kevin Mackie, a Grammy winner, and two-time Grammy nominee, and Guinness World Record holder Rupam Sarmah are key movers in the finished product of this release. Sarmah makes his presence felt from the outset with the album opener “You Never Know”. Featuring varied talents such as Randy Sharp, Dave Kinnoin, Dennis Sy, and Jennifer Della Guardia, it isn’t a case of too many cooks in the kitchen. The acoustic guitar, patient drumming, and flawless vocal harmonies make this an ideal beginning.

Joy Blooms’ “In the Garden” has a strong folk-song pedigree and Blooms’ voice recalls Joni Mitchell sans the latter’s soaring vocal pyrotechnics. Acoustic guitar is at the song’s foundation and Blooms augments it with piano and strings to a pleasing effect. The Broadway Kids, Jack Sargent, and Aoede conspire for the album’s fifth track “Thrive”. It opens with an unadorned, even skeletal, piano, and Aoede’s voice pairs nicely with the stately melody. Sargent joins her on vocals at key points and the Broadway Kids further flesh out the song’s vocal harmonies. It has a wonderful life-affirming message that’s always timely.

The Chernivtsi Music School Chorus works with Sarmah, Emilia Lopez-Yanez, Rhea Sarmah, Ruth Weber, and Kevin Mackie on the song “Children of the World (Remix)”. Vocal harmonies are abundant throughout the opening before the song transitions into unique verses that culminate in a near-ethereal chorus. Lopez-Yanez and Weber collaborate on the unexpected rock anthem of “Stronger Together”. The accompanying horns give the song an added brassy attack and the cascading stride of the song will appeal to countless listeners.

“Vamos En El Tren De Laz Paz (Live)” features an abundance of talent. The Youth Symphony Orchestra, The Peace Train, Sharon Katz, and the Conservatorio de la Musica Santiago de Cuba accentuate the song’s Caribbean conceits without ever sounding like they are straining for effect. Katz, in particular, shines. One of the great performers of children’s music working today, Dana’s “Hold On To Hope” glitters with resplendent melodic virtues and a genuine sense of a better tomorrow coming.

Award-winning musician and songwriter Greg Lato contributes the winning “Same Kind of Love” to the album, and it rates as one of Arise Together’s peaks. The song’s construction pays off for listeners in varied ways. This release doesn’t have a single lull and it’s clear that the participants are working at an inspired level on each of the 23 songs. 

Mindy McCall



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