Full disclosure: I fell in like with this album at first description. An album of world music which introduces new instruments and incorporates storytelling and little local history? That’s so many of my favourite things all in one, how could I not jump at the chance to review this album?
I fell in love with it within the first two tracks. And so did my youngest son, sitting behind me in the car. “I like this music, Mummy!” He eagerly exclaimed.
In Findng Friends Far From Home: a journey with Clara Net, Oran Etkin takes us to Zimbabwe, Turkey, Czech Republic, China, Russia, and Japan. In each locale we meet a new instrument friend to play with Oran’s clarinet, Clara. (We also meet the expert musician who will play that instrument, obviously.) Through storytelling and music we get a small glimpse into life in each place.
Oran and Clara model friendship building across cultures in a way that seems simple and straightforward. They demonstrate to all of us how we can use what we have in common to learn more about what makes us unique.
While the message of friendship shines in this album, my review would be incomplete if I didn’t also mention the musicianship and educational value. I’ve used traditional “meet the instrument” albums with students before, however they’re all very Western-centric. I love that Finding Friends highlights instruments you don’t find in a symphony hall, making this even more inclusive to different interests and cultures. This is an excellent album for any music collection.