Archives for March 2018

Looking for Graduation Invitations? Basic Invite has you covered!

Spring is almost here and before we know it…it will be time for Graduation! I recently discovered a site called Basic Invite and am really impressed with what they have to offer! They have a variety of graduation announcements, invitations, and thank you cards. I really like that they have almost unlimited color options! Basic Invite is one of the few websites that allows customers almost unlimited color options with instant previews online. Once you select a design you can change the color of each element on the card to over 180 different color options so you can make sure the card is exactly how you want it down to the littlest detail. That sounds really great to me!

You can also order a printed sample of your actual invitation so you can see what it looks like before you place a final order. Now, how cool is that!? They also have a variety of colors for their envelopes so you don’t have to just get the typical boring white! Okay, so maybe white isn’t exactly boring but I love having a choice of colors! They have over 40 different colors to choose from and their envelopes are peel and seal and that makes it super easy to close the envelopes securely.

Basic Invite also has Address Capturing Service! What’s that? This allows customers to simply share a link on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, or any other form of social media to request their friends and family’s addresses which will be stored in the customer’s account and can then be selected during the design process. Basic Invite offers recipient address printing at no cost on all Christmas card orders.

So, if you are looking for graduation open house invitations, you have to check out Basic Invite! They also have great thank you cards for graduation.

And check out Basic Invite on Social Media too!






Self Disclosure: This is a sponsored post and compensation was received. Information and images were provided but I checked out the website and highly recommend Basic Invite. Any personal opinions expressed are my own.

Celebrate Natl. Waffle Day March 25 with Pure Maple Syrup during Tapping Season

B&G Foods, a pure maple syrup powerhouse, is the largest bottler of pure maple syrup in the United States. Tapping Season is now underway, so it’s time to celebrate and learn more about B&G Foods’ extensive offering of pure maple syrup brands, including:  Maple Grove Farms®Spring Tree®,Cary’s® and MacDonald’s.

Tapping Season, as the maple syrup season is known, is the time when the trees are “tapped” to gather sap which is then boiled in sugar houses to produce maple syrup. It takes 40 gallons of sap to produce one gallon of syrup.  Tapping season, which typically lasts about six to eight weeks, ends sometime in April. Weather dictates the length of tapping season – warm days followed by cool nights are needed to get the sap flowing. Once a tree buds, tapping season has come to an end.

Pure maple syrup is just one ingredient, sourced from nature, and contains no high fructose corn syrup and no artificial flavors or colors.  Our pure maple syrup is naturally gluten-free and certified kosher.  Additionally, pure maple syrup offers inherent benefits of the minerals manganese and zinc.

With proprietary blending methods and the highest standards of quality, B&G Foods is proud to offer the largest branded portfolio – nearly six times that of the nearest competitor. Maple masters on staff have an incredible 860 years of combined experience, ensuring that only the best maple syrup is bottled for our leading brands. Our pure maple syrup goes through numerous taste and consistency checks to ensure the highest quality.

With changes in pure maple syrup grading in 2015, all of our pure maple syrup is now Grade A followed by a color and taste qualifier (Golden Delicate, Amber Rich and Dark Robust). Different grades are best suited for different usage occasions and taste preferences which is why B&G Foods’ portfolio of brands feature different grades and sizes. Additionally, our Maple Grove Farms and Spring Tree brand offer Organic varieties that are USDA or QAI certified and support the sustainable practices of maple syrup farming. For all of our syrups, trees are never tapped in the same place twice, to ensure the health and safety of this renewable resource.

Multiple reports have shown the use of maple syrup is on the rise. According to Techonomics, restaurant menus have shown a forty-five percent increase over the past four years in the use of maple syrup.  Additionally, maple syrup – a delicious alternative to cane sugar and artificial sweeteners – reflects the alternative sweetener movement that has grown 200 percent in the past four years.

“Pure maple syrup is affectionately called liquid gold,” says Meghan Swatt, Brand Manager, B&G Foods.  “It is the secret ingredient to almost every recipe occasion and our brands offer an array of grades and certifications, but one thing always remains – our commitment to quality and consistency.  We encourage everyone to explore with our pure maple syrup beyond breakfast—as a sweetener in baking, roasting vegetables, poured over salmon, stirred into a cocktail and even in your morning tea or coffee!”

B&G Food’s portfolio of pure maple syrup brands satisfies every palate and use:

Maple Grove Farms has been making maple products since 1915 and sources syrup from local and well established farms, including trees that have been tapped since the 1700s. Maple Grove Farms offers Golden Delicate and Amber Rich grades as well as Organic varieties of pure maple syrup. Bottled in the maple syrup capital of the United States, St. Johnsbury, Vermont, in a Zero Waste Certified Facility, Maple Grove Farms pure maple syrup is nationally distributed in three sizes: 8.5 fluid oz., 12.5 fluid oz. and 32 fluid oz.

Spring Tree was founded in 1976 and is named after the time of year maple syrup is produced.  Spring Tree pure maple syrup is available in both Amber Rich and Dark Robust in Organic and regular options.  Spring Tree pure maple syrup is available nationally in three sizes: 8.5 fluid oz., 12.5 fluid oz. and 32 fluid oz. ‘

Cary’s, is the oldest maple syrup brand in the United States, founded in 1906 in St. Johnsbury, Vermont. Cary’s pure maple syrup is available in Amber Rich nationally in 8 and 12.5 fluid oz. sizes.


MacDonald’s pure maple syrup is available predominantly in the Midwest and West Coast in two sizes of Amber Rich:  8.5 fluid oz. and 12.5 fluid oz.

Stay tuned! I will be reviewing soon! 

Credit: B&G Foods

Based in Parsippany, New Jersey, B&G Foods, Inc. (NYSE: BGS) and our subsidiaries manufacture, sell and distribute high-quality, branded shelf-stable and frozen foods across the United States, Canada and Puerto Rico.  With our diverse portfolio of more than 50 brands you know and love, including Back to NatureB&GB&MCream of WheatGreen GiantLas PalmasLe SueurMama Mary’sMaple Grove FarmsMrs. DashNew York StyleOrtegaPirate’s BootyPolanerSnackWell’sSpice Islandsand Victoria, there’s a little something for everyone.  For more information about B&G Foods and our brands, please visit

Self Disclosure: Information and images were provided. I will be receiving samples and reviewing soon so stay tuned!

New ‘Ballads for the Age of Science’ Zoom a Little Zoom: A Ride Through Science The release date is March 30th!

The two-time GRAMMY® winning folk and children’s music duo of Cathy Fink & Marcy Marxer will release their 46th album collaboration, Zoom a Little Zoom! A Ride Through Science, on March 30, 2018 on their Community Music label.With 10 new interpretations of tunes from Ballads for the Age of Science, a classic 1961 collection of educational science songs on such subjects as space, nature, weather and energy, and an Activity Guide featuring dozens of ideas for hands-on science fun, the album is intended to excite a new generation of scientists, engineers, and explorers.


The original songs, written by lyricist Hy Zaret and composer Lou Singer, and performed by Dorothy Collins, Tom Glazer and other artists, appeared on the 1961 space race era album Ballads for the Age of Science.  Academy Award nominee Zaret (1907 -2007) is renowned for writing the timeless hits “Unchained Melody,” “One Meatball” and “Dedicated to You.” He also wrote dozens of socially conscious songs for his public service albums, Little Songs on Big Subjects and Little Songs About U.N.

“The science in the originals remains sound, not to mention the wonderful lyrics and melodies, 57 years after the original release,” says Cathy Fink. “Marcy and I are delighted to take a new approach to this material.” Marcy Marxer adds, “We’ve brought some exciting genre treatments to a number of the songs, including western swing, Klezmer and boogie-woogie, and I believe that while the kids are moving and grooving to the songs, a little science may just seep in.”

Zaret’s son Robert (Argosy Music Corp.) commissioned GRAMMY winners Cathy Fink and Marcy Marxer to create contemporary arrangements, selecting the best science-based earworms from the original six-LP Ballads for the Age of Science collection. Fink and Marxer assembled other top-flight musicians and the result is an upbeat album of catchy songs about rockets, constellations, animal habits, gravity, and more. The reworked songs aim to spark listeners’ curiosity to learn, and together they provide a resource to introduce elementary level science concepts.

The new album includes an Activity Guide for each song by Lynn Baum (former head of School Programs at the Museum of Science in Boston), downloadable from the CD. The guide, which features ideas easy to replicate at home or school using household materials, will be available for free download soon at In upcoming performances and videos, these activities will come alive – experiments and all.

I received a copy of this CD and highly recommend! If you have a child that likes Science, they will love this CD!~SoCal City Kids.
More about Cathy & Marcy

Cathy & Marcy are trailblazers in children’s and family music. Their relationship with family audiences spans over 35 years of live performances. They play dozens of instruments from banjo to mandolin to rockin’ electric guitar, steel drum and ukulele. Two GRAMMY® Awards (and 14 nominations), Parents’ Choice Awards, American Library Association Awards, National Association of Parenting Publications Awards, Early Childhood News Awards and Washington Area Music Association Awards all attest to the superb quality of their body of work. Along with the album release Cathy & Marcy offering a limited number of live concerts based on the new album complete with fun activities designed by Lynn Baum (formerly of the Boston Museum of Science), plus graphics, animation, and film from NASA. These always-touring artists are based in Maryland and North Carolina.

More about Hy Zaret

The New York-born songwriter is best known today for his 1955 collaboration with composer Alex North, “Unchained Melody,” written for the Hollywood film, Unchained. That year, the song was recorded by more than 40 artists, including 3 chart-toppers, and was nominated for an Academy Award. Revived in 1965 by The Righteous Brothers, “Unchained Melody” became a worldwide hit once more, and gained momentum again in 1990 when The Righteous Brothers version was used in the 1990 film, Ghost. Parodies of the pottery wheel scene continue to be a staple of advertisements. With over 1000 recordings in multiple languages, including platinum records by The Righteous Brothers, Elvis Presley, Robson & Jerome, Gareth Gates, and Harrison Craig, “Unchained Melody” is #5 on the BBC’s 2012 list of the Ten Richest Songs. The Righteous Brothers original recording was inducted into the Grammy Hall of Fame in 2000, and the song was recognized with the U.S. Songwriters Hall of Fame’s Towering Song Award in 2007, just weeks before Hy Zaret’s passing at the age of 99.

Self Disclosure: I received a free CD to facilitate this featured CD. Images and information were also provided by our friends at Sugar Mountain PR. 

Top 4 Reasons to Go Little Tokyo for the​ ​Allegiance Broadway Musical

The Broadway musical, Allegiance, starring George Takei, will take center stage in LA’s most vibrant neighborhood, Little Tokyo, February 21 – April 1, 2018. Planning to see the musical? Go Little Tokyo, the community campaign offering top insights into Little Tokyo, presents countless opportunities to discover or re-discover one of Los Angeles’ most historically rich and energetic urban neighborhoods. From family-owned eateries, to traditional sweet shops and discounted tickets, Go Little Tokyo presents the top 4 reasons to experience a deliciously, authentic night in Little Tokyo, before and after the musical.

1. Tastes of Allegiance Time Period: Let your taste buds travel back in time and dine where the scent of nostalgia lives, at Little Tokyo’s classic Japanese diner, Kouraku. Located in the heart of Little Tokyo and open since 1976, Kouraku is a cozy mom-and-pop eatery offering an array of authentic Japanese comfort food dishes from ramen, curry, and their famous tenshin chahan ankake, a gravy covered omelet filled with pork fried rice. Awarded “Best After Midnight Snack” by Los Angeles Downtown News, Kouraku is open nightly until 3am.


2. Become a Sushi Aficionado: No tempura, no teriyaki, no noodles – no problem! Experience traditional, delicious sushi at Hama Sushi in an intimate, laid-back setting. Enjoy high-quality nigiri sushi and menu favorites like the sashimi platters, red snapper with a squeeze of lemon and brush of salt, and the spicy tuna roll. Pro tip: For the true aficionado experience, sit at the sushi bar and ask for the decadent off-menu item, Salmon Belly Nigiri.


3. Enjoy a ‘sweetened’ Encore: Continue the entertainment after the musical and indulge in your greatest dessert fantasies at Snowya. Offering sweet treats like croissant taiyaki with your choice of filling and their signature snowflake shaved ice bowls, Snowya offers melt-in-your-mouth goodness that guests can surely applaud. Capture the moment with an Instagram-able photo of the infamous fish-shaped cone topped with your favorite matcha ice cream.


4. Use code GOLITTLETOKYO for 15% off Allegiance tickets: Purchase tickets to the powerful and uplifting musical with Go Little Tokyo’s 15% off promo code: GOLITTLETOKYO. Allegiance is inspired by the true story of L.A.-based actor, director and author George Takei. The musical transports audiences back to a dark time in U.S. history when roughly 120,000 Japanese-Americans were forced into internment camps after the attack on Pearl Harbor. Experience the Los Angeles premier of the musical in Little Tokyo, where the story has it’s richest legacy. Promo code valid on performances 3/1–3/31, excluding Sundays, on sections A–D. Cannot be combined with other discounts or student/senior pricing. Maximum number of tickets is four per transaction. Ticketing fees apply.


Miguel’s California Mexican Cocina & Cantina Announces Extensive Remodel in March

Miguel’s California Mexican Cocina & Cantina, located at 1920 Frontage Road, has announced that an extensive remodel to the iconic flagship location will begin on Monday, March 19. After almost 20 years of business serving Founder Mary Vasquez’s homemade recipes, the remodel will pay homage to the restaurant’s history and heritage with updated exterior colors, interior furniture and new décor. The restaurant will temporarily close for the renovations and will reopen to diners in early April, 2018.

The first phase of the remodel will focus on updates to the restaurant interior, including new paint colors and the use of rich woods and fabrics to highlight the new flooring and furniture package. The exterior will also be refreshed with a new bright color palette.

Other highlights of the renovations include a dedicated banquet facility. The existing back room dining area will be transformed to operate exclusively for special events, available by reservation only.

“After 20 years of serving this community, we are excited to begin the remodel of Miguel’s Restaurant on Frontage Road and prepare the venue for the next 20 plus years to come,” stated Stephen Rezner, Director of Marketing for Miguel’s restaurants, “This year we are celebrating our founders 75th birthday, and this is one of the many exciting announcements rolling out over the course of the year.”

The restaurant will host a grand re-opening celebration in early April, and welcome all to dine and experience the restaurant’s latest upgrades.

Miguel’s California Mexican Cocina & Cantina located in the nearby Shops at Dos Lagos will remain open to serve guests while the Frontage Road location is temporarily closed. Restaurant-goers are welcome to follow progress of the remodel, as well as receive updates, by visiting the website at or by following Miguel’s on Facebook at

Miguel’s California Mexican Cocina & Cantina continues the family tradition of homestyle Mexican dishes made using only the freshest and best tasting ingredients including fresh Haas avocados, all natural and hormone free poultry, pasture raised, corn fed beef, 100% stone ground tortillas and tortilla chips, as well as their famous fresh-made daily hot sauce.

The Shops at Dos Lagos – OPEN
2715 Lakeshore Drive,
Corona, CA 92883

Frontage Road – CLOSED March 19 – April 9

1920 Frontage Road

Corona, CA 92882


For reservations or questions at Miguel’s Restaurant Dos Lagos location, please call 951.277.7532. For more information on Miguel’s Restaurant Frontage Road location remodel and re-opening, visit or follow Miguel’s on Facebook at

Hours of Operation

Miguel’s California Mexican Cocina – The Shops at Dos Lagos

Monday –Thursday: 11am – 10pm

Friday: 11am – 11pm, bar open until Midnight

Saturday: 10am – 11pm, bar open until Midnight

Sunday: 9am – 10pm

Credit: Miguel’s California Mexican Cocina & Cantina.

Newport Dunes Hosts Auditory Egg Hunt for Blind Children’s Learning Center Students, 3/30/18

Beeping Eggs Donated by the OC Sheriff’s Department

Give Blind and Visually Impaired Kids an Easter to Remember

March 30, 10:30 AM-12 PM

Newport Dunes Waterfront Resort is pleased to welcome Blind Children’s Learning Center students for an Easter celebration to remember on Friday, March 30 from 10:30 a.m. to 12 p.m.

The Santa Ana based organization and seventy of its students, ages one to eight years old, will kick off the holiday weekend with a sensory Easter egg hunt featuring hundreds of special beeping eggs donated by OC Sheriff’s Department.

The plastic eggs, used as training devices for the OC Sheriff’s Department Hazardous Devices Section, will be carefully placed on the sand and in the grass throughout Newport Dunes’ expansive waterfront property. The beeping Easter eggs provide an innovative solution to help visually impaired children take part in a favorite Easter tradition. “We’re truly grateful for the meaningful partnership we have with Blind Children’s Learning Center and the opportunity to provide an unforgettable holiday celebration for the kids,” says Brian Ross, Executive Director of Newport Dunes Waterfront Resort.

Following the Easter egg hunt, each student will be given an Easter basket filled with candy and toys donated by AT&T Pioneers volunteer network who, along with the OC Sheriff’s Department, will be onsite during the event. In addition to participating in a number of tactile holiday activities, the kids will have the opportunity to visit and take photos with the Easter bunny himself. A beachfront picnic lunch for the children, staff and volunteers will be provided by Back Bay Bistro.

Credit: Newport Dunes Waterfront Resort.



Friday, March 30, 10:30 a.m. – 12 p.m.



Newport Dunes Waterfront Resort

1131 Back Bay Drive

Newport Beach, California 92660


PUBLIC CONTACT: For more information on events and amenities at Newport Dunes Waterfront Resort, please call 949-729-3863 or visit

Tomb Raider (2018) – A Most Enjoyable Video Game Adaptation!

Lara Croft is the fiercely independent daughter of an eccentric adventurer who vanished years earlier. Hoping to solve the mystery of her father’s disappearance, Croft embarks on a perilous journey to his last-known destination — a fabled tomb on a mythical island that might be somewhere off the coast of Japan. The stakes couldn’t be higher as Lara must rely on her sharp mind, blind faith and stubborn spirit to venture into the unknown. KIDS FIRST! Film Critic Arjun N. comments, “…one of the more enjoyable video game adaptations. The acting and the direction provide the same sense of adventure and excitement as the video game. This is sure to be a must-see watch for fans of Lara Croft or anything adventure related.” Morgan B. adds, “Mysteries, stupendous graphics, a terrific story and action all make this one awesome film! I love the original Lara Croft: Tomb Raider (2001) and Tomb Raider has just topped it. The ending had me breathless.” See their full reviews below.

By Arjun Nair, KIDS FIRST! Film Critic, age 16

Tomb Raider is one of the more enjoyable video game adaptations. The acting and the direction provide the same sense of adventure and excitement as the video game. This is sure to be a must-see watch for fans of Lara Croft or anything adventure related.

The story follows Lara Croft (Alicia Vikander), an intelligent yet reckless thrill-seeker, who embarks on an adventure unlike any other, when she finds evidence of her father’s disappearance. Seeking to solve the mystery of Richard Croft (Dominic West), Lara enlists the help of Lu Ren (Daniel Wu), a ship captain. However, their adventure lands up in the worst when their ship crashes to Yamatai. Lara soon finds herself in the hands of Matthias Vogel (Walton Goggins), a rival archeologist who will do anything to unlock the tomb within Yamatai. Realizing the tomb will unleash global genocide, Lara must find a way to stop Vogel while discovering secrets about her father.

Alicia Vikander, as Lara Croft, is my favorite character and splendidly presents the character of Lara Croft and her struggle/rise to become the well-known “Tomb Raider.” Her acerbic wit and vulnerability add a relatable extension to the character. Dominic West, as Richard Croft, excellently delivers his love for Lara and adventure. His mystery adds to plot, which leaves you wanting to know more about it at every turn. Daniel Wu, as Lu Ren, is a capable and funny companion to Lara and he shows a caring need to help the poor. Walton Goggins, as Matthias Vogel, portrays a threatening, yet over the top performance as the main villain, and it works for the most part. His involvement in the Croft conspiracy is interesting as well.

Roar Uthaug incredibly directs the movie with a knowledge of the video games, resulting in a brisk pace from one scene to the next. My favorite scene is when Lara has to find a way out of a plane which is slowly falling off of a river bank. It is extremely intense and it reminded of me of fun, innovative levels from the Uncharted and Tomb Raider games. My problem with the movie is, despite a superb first half, the second half falls from an overreliance on CGI and over-the-top scenarios, often leading to unintentional comedy. It feels jarring when compared to such a first half.

The message of the movie is to always be hopeful, as this allows Lara to keep fighting, even in the toughest of times. I give this film 4 out of 5 stars and recommend it for ages 10 to 18 because of its intense action. The movie releases in theaters on March 16, 2018 so check it out.

Tomb Raider
By Morgan B. Bertsch, KIDS FIRST! Film Critic, Age 13

Mysteries, stupendous graphics, a terrific story and action all make this one awesome film! I love the original Lara Croft: Tomb Raider (2001) and Tomb Raider has just topped it. The ending had me breathless.

The astonishing graphics are crazy. The ancient tomb is amazing. Everything looks so realistic and very magical. I would love to travel through it and see the wonders inside. Another scene that has a lot of fantastic graphics is the one where Lara Croft and her new companion are caught in a humongous storm. The water looks stormy and crystal clear and I loved this scene because I felt cold and scared while watching it.

Lara Croft (Alicia Vikander) is the kind of girl that you don’t want to mess with. After all, she raids tombs and runs after villains, and these happen to be her best qualities. Also, she has a kindhearted, lovable side that wants her father back desperately after his mysterious disappearance seven years ago. She shows both sides of her personality and makes sure that she isn’t too nice or too mean. Lara Croft is also a good role model for girls who want to stand up for themselves and people who want to learn self-defense. These are the reasons why she is my favorite character. Yes, she knows how to shoot a bow and arrow. Watching all of the various fighting styles and action scenes Alicia Vikander is able to pull off is entertaining.

My favorite scene is when Lara Croft and Mathias Vogel (Walton Goggins) are trying to escape the tomb and the tomb collapses. I also loved the fact that Lara shows a bit of both sides in this scene because she fighting and also knows that a dreadful fate awaits her father.

The story line is easy to follow and a bit cliché, but worth watching due to the scenery and of course the treasure hunt. The treasure and the underground cave are amazing discoveries. Watch your step because each step is a risk. After all, you might right set off a booby trap or two. The end leads you to believe that there will be more Lara Croft stories in the future.

This is a great first film to reintroduce this powerful female adventure seeking, action figure. The 2001 Lara Croft is very self-assured, tough, smart and fearless.  In this movie, she is very young and not sure of herself, but she is a quick learner, although a bit naive. She has room to grow until she becomes the Angelina Jolie version. 2018 she is still not sure of herself

Tomb Raider has a few messages. They include: standing up for yourself when you’re in danger, helping others when they are in need, being yourself and not being afraid to do the impossible.  Another message is the value of a good education which helps Lara solve puzzles throughout the tomb.

I give this film5 out 5 stars and recommend it for ages 13 to 18. Tomb Raider does have a lot of violence and intense action which is bit too much for younger kids. Tomb Raider comes out in theaters on March 16,  2018 so be sure to check it out.


Photo credit: © 2017 Warner Bros. Entertainment Inc. and Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer Pictures Inc.

Take a Musical Journey to the Land of Yangalele with Papa Siama and Auntie Dallas First Children's Album Release from Siama Matuzungidi, Available on March 23

With their lively interactive world music concerts and “instrument petting zoos” around the Twin Cities, Congolese-American artist “Papa Siama” Matuzungidi and singer/emcee “Auntie Dallas” Johnson are introducing children to African culture, rhythms and music. Inspired by happy experiences with their growing young fan base, Siama and Dallas will release an album of new original rumba songs and rhythms called Land of Yangalele this spring.


As Siama says in the opening track, “Welcome to Bas Congo, land of yangalele, smiles, games, dancing and music.” These capture the feeling of the all-ages sing-alongs which Siama remembers from his childhood in rural Zaire (now Democratic Republic of the Congo. After dinner, generations of family and friends would sit outside under the stars to share songs and stories together.

Congolese guitar man Siama (“see-AHmah”) enjoyed a prolific soukous career in Africa during the 1970s and ‘80s. Over his two decades in the United States, Siama has emerged as one of Minnesota’s foremost voices of global roots music. His intricate guitar style, spirited vocals and feel-good songs make him a crowd favorite. Dallas Johnson’s robust background in music, storytelling and community arts organizing makes their all-ages shows distinctly educational and interactive as well as entertaining.

Using traditional instruments and lyrics in English, Swahili, Lingala and Kikongo, this new recording provides listeners an opportunity to learn about a vibrant African culture through engaging music.  Dallas’ strong female voice adds just the right harmony to Siama’s deep vocals and Siama performs most of the instruments himself, employing acoustic guitar and bass as well as traditional instruments like balafon (calabash marimba), mbira (thumb piano), and Jamaican rumba box.  Dallas adds fun flavors like penny whistle and toy piano and David Tullis drives the sound with conga drums.

Audience participation is expected from the very first track, “Welcome Bakongo Chant,” and continues with “Monkey Game”, “Ko Yimbi Ko” (No Hawk, No) and “Auntie’s Song” (Yangalele). “It’s So Easy To Make a Song” and “ABCD” celebrate a child’s power to create and learn, a love for the natural world is evident in songs like “Sweet Water,” and a yearning for peace and freedom shines in, ”When We’re Free” and “Nalingi Bosembo” (Peace Lullaby).

The colorful album liner notes include lyrics and guitar chords, a glossary (“Yangalele” means happiness in Kikongo), an African map, pictures of instruments, and a fun quiz to enhance the educational fun relating to these 10 tracks. Discover more and download the lyrics and a coloring page by award-winning cover illustrator Kayla Harren at

Land of Yangalele is available directly from now, and it will be available from various retailers on March 23. Music videos and several public family concerts are planned at Twin Cities libraries and community venues this spring.

Watch a special Twin Cities PBS program about Siama’s life and music here or watch him playing mbira with singing birds near the headwaters of the Mississippi River on his YouTube channel.

This music is fun and lively and I really recommend this one for younger children! They will enjoy dancing to this CD!~SoCal City Kids.

Self Disclosure: Information and images were provided by Sugar Mountain PR. I also received a free CD but only feature CD’s that I recommend.