Parents' Choice, March 2011
Planting Seeds is singer/songwriter Maria Sangiolo's fourth album for children and features her friends, which include many leading lights of the New England folk music scene. The new CD focuses on the themes of locally based agriculture and sustainability, and does so with a sense of style, grace and fun rarely found in children's or adult music. Nu-Grass band Rani Arbo and daisy mayhem [sic] back Sangiolo on the jazzy opening "Dancin' the Breeze," which celebrates all the fruits (and vegetables) found in the garden on a summer day. "Brown Spaghetti" tells of all the great whole grain and organic vegetables that are alternatives to the usual supermarket faire, while "Garden Slug" is a slinky, slide driven protest to a garden's most common pest. "Eggs, Milk and Butter" act as a gypsy jazz tribute to all things dairy. Massachusetts singer/songwriter Lui Collins wrote and duets with Sangiolo on the delicious "Farmers Market A to Z," while daisy mayhem sheepishly returns for an atrociously funny, reverse anthropomorphizing of the famous Richie Valens song "Baa Baa Bamba." Children's music performer SteveSongs duets with Sangiolo on an amazing game and motion song "Plant a Seed." Boston area folk singers Alastair Moock and Lori McKenna extol the virtues of the backyard garden ("Didn't Know What I Was Missing"), while Milwaukee based folker Peter Mullvey sings of the dubious fate of "Bill Grogan's Goat." Other highlights include Tracy Grammer, Jim Henry and his kids Jackson and Ruby singing about all the different kinds of wood used for fuel, and Sally Rogers & Howie Bursen praising New England's most famous export in "Maple Sweet." The always-excellent Mark Erelli tells the tale of "The Fox," and acoustic guitar master Brooks Williams backs Sangiolo on Lui Collins' singularly beautiful "Bee Song."
The album is a true collaboration between the gorgeous singing and songwriting of Sangiolo and that of her many friends. The result is the feeling of a beautiful community coming together to celebrate all the bounty nature provides. The caliber of the writing, singing and playing is so high that most people hearing any of these songs on the radio would not immediately assume this is a CD for kids. Maria Sangiolo has contributed an excellently conceived and executed album for young and old. As an added bonus, a portion of all the proceeds from the recording will benefit NOFA, the Northeast Organic Farming Association.
Lahri Bond ©2011 Parents' Choice
Lahri Bond is a father, a writer and the art director for Dirty Linen: The Magazine of Folk and World Music. His published books include Spinning Tales Weaving Hope (with the Stories For World Change Network) for New Society Press and People of the Earth (coauthored with Ellen Evert Hopman) for Destiny Books.
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Raging River Records/ Long Night Moon Music
Babble.com, March 8, 2008
Maria Sangiolo has one of the prettiest voices in contemporary children’s music: rich, articulate and warm. She sounds like she was born to sit on a hill during a sunset and sing folk songs. Instead, she records albums like Under the Mystic Sea, a collection of songs largely inspired by girlhood (“Giggly Girl”, “Hairbrush Blues”) and ocean life (“Mermaid Molly,” “Down by the Ocean”). After the jump, download “Rock Penguin Hop” -- and tell your kid to get her best penguin moves ready.
COOKIE Magazine, December 2007, On-line issue
Maria Sangiolo's happy-go-lucky brand of folk-rock is put to good use on this musical paean to marine life, both real (dolphins, sharks, penguins) and fantastical (mermaids). Sprinkling mandolins, dobros, tin whistles, and toy pianos among the standard guitar and drums, she invokes a fun-filled undersea world that will resonate well with little ones looking to sing along. And while she's got their attention, she manages to throw a little global-warming awareness into the mix with "It's Too Hot!"—Ages 3 and up
The Boston Globe, November 2007
The honey-voiced singer-songwriter was a successful performer on the national folk scene when she had her first child 10 years ago.l She curtailed her touring in favor of motherhood, eventually turning her creative focus to music for families. Her first two CDs, “Hello Moon” and “Fairy Moon: Songs of the Ring,” garnered her new fans and several awards. The latest, “Under the Mystic Sea,” quickly scooped up a 2007 National Parenting Publication Award. Sangiolo celebrates its release with a show at Greater Boston’s coziest, most intimate folk venue. Kids can feel part of the oceanic-themed music-making, whether its tunes about swinging penguins, swimming with mermaids, or saving sharks. Multi-instrumentalist Jim Henry joins Sangiolo for the family show. 3 pm, $10, free under 6. Club Passim, 47 Palmer Street, Cambridge, MA 617-492-7679.
Midwest Book Review, November 2007
Maria Sangiolo is an award-winning recording artist and contemporary folk musician. Her latest CD album is "Under The Mystic Sea" and showcases songs for children that are hallmarked by their truth, purity, and social values as much as their melodic harmonies, beautifully performed vocals, and compelling lyrics. Flawlessly recorded, this highly recommended and delightful collection includes: Giggly Girl (3:36); Mermaid Molly (2:56); Rock Penguin Hop (2:34); It's Too Hot! (3:47); At the 'Quarium' (1:58); Celia Says (3:34); Save the Sharks! (2:42); Power Shower (1:40); Hairbrush Blues (2:45); Penguin Sounds (:13); Down by the Ocean (2:23); going Over the Sea (2:36); Wibbaly, Wobbaly, Woo! (2:33); Dolphin Sounds (:32); No Dolphins Here (2:39); Little Miss Magic (3:40); Talia Too! (2:12); and Baby's Boat (2:49). Featuring a total running time of 57:11, "Under The Mystic Sea" also includes four sing-along tracks for children: Save the Sharks! (2:46); Giggly Girl (3:43); Mermaid Molly (2:58); and Rock Penguin Hop (2:35). Ideal for families and perfect for both school and community CD music collections for young children, "Under The Mystic Sea" is will prove to be a welcome and popular acquisition. Also highly recommended are Maria Sangiolo's previous CDs for children: "Hello Moon (2000) and "Fairy Moon: Songs of the Ring" (2004).
Richmond Parents Monthly, November 2007, Richmond, VA
I remember the days before my two babies when I could go to a coffeehouse and read a book, listening to the music of Shawn Colvin, Carly Simon and Suzanne Vega for hours. Perhaps that’s why I felt like I already knew the music of folk singer/songwriter Maria Sangiolo, even though I was listening to her CD for the first time.
Sangiolo has a loyal following in the Northeast from her four adult releases and with this, her third children’s CD, she is gaining even more national attention.
In Under the Mystic Sea, Sangiolo sings about the ocean in ways that will make you want to go to the “’quarium, where the little fishes make googley-eyes and starium.”
She has a sweet, strong voice, but it’s really her fanciful lyrics that caught my attention. From “Save the Sharks” to “No Dolphins Here,” Sangiolo makes it clear that these are not rehashed nursery rhymes, but the imaginative and thoughtful words of a singer with a message, that of ocean conservation.
Her lyrics, ‘People hurt sharks more than sharks hurt people,” and dolphins “have a brain as big as your head, a part of the whale family, smarter instead,” could be mundane or contrived in someone else’s hands, but Sangiolo effortlessly weaves her meaningful words into her music.
Other songs are just plain fun. “Hairbrush Blues,” my favorite, could be a cover of a B.B. King classic, but instead is about the trials of brushing tangled hair, a chore to which all children (and parents) can relate.
ParentMap, Seattle, WA, November 2007
I would like to be Maria. Her beautiful voice and folk-music albums have won numerous awards. She has been compared to Joan Baez and Judy Collins. She and her husband own a little café/music venue in Connecticut called the Vanilla Bean Café. Heck, she’s even good-looking! But I will settle for listening to this wonderful disc of songs about oceans and the critters (real and mythical) that live in them. -- Kristen Dobson, ParentMap
The Opinionated Parent, November 2007
Since I’m feeling honest, I’ll tell you that we’ve been enjoying the new Maria Sangiolo CD so much that I almost neglected to post the review! My first thought when I heard this CD was that this is a concert I’d love to take my children to. Her style is an awesome folksy one with a greater energy than many. It’s evident from her music that she loves what she does and it’s evident by the booty shaking happening in my living room that kids love it too. It’s the kind of music that you simply can’t sit still to and you’ll be humming and singing the songs long after the CD is over. In fact, the CD contains 4 special sing along tracks at the end especially for those sing-along kids! Many of her songs contain an earth-friendly message that’s admirable and growing ever more important. When sung with her beautiful motherly voice they don’t seem at all lecture-ish (as they certainly would if I sung them to you so I’ll spare you). This is an independent release and is not available in stores.
Hear It, Love It, Share It, October 2007
You know how when you hear a song with a storyline, you imagine what the characters and places in the song look like? Within the first few songs of "Under the Mystic Sea" by Maria Sangiolo, my mind was filled with bright and brilliant oceanic colors, and for a moment I just wanted to pause the day, sit back and close my eyes so I could live in the serene ocean scene I had created in my mind. Do it with me. Once you're in your daydream, hop on the little boat that's setting sail to explore little pockets of ocean life and feel the wind in your hair (try to forget that the wind tugging at your shirt is actually your toddler wanting some lunch). Drag your fingers through the water and watch the mermaids swim along with the boat, see the (friendly) sharks circle, and while your kids are learning about animals that live in and around water, plan in the back of your mind that cruise you're going to take someday.
While you're sunning on the boat, don't worry about entertaining your kids because they'll have plenty to keep them occupied with Maria Sangiolo's third album (and first and second, for that matter) "Under the Mystic Sea." With songs that are happy and fun, educational and energetic, some silly and some soothing, Maria's music hits that spot in your soul that makes you feel like all is right in the world. She's been performing for over 20 years, but has only recently made the transition over to children's music, and I'm so glad she did. She's already received a NAPPA Gold Parent's Choice Award (2004) for her second album, "Fairy Moon - Songs of the Ring."
My favorite description of Maria's music is on her website: "...she sings them with a pure voice and a great big heart." I couldn't agree more.
"Singer-songwriter Maria Sangiolo presents 21 tunes celebrating fairies, imagination, and the joys of parent-child time. With a voice that evokes fairy rings, butterflies, and fireflies on a summer night, Sangiolo will set little feet tapping with songs such as "Dance Little Maiden," "Knots and Bows," and "A Fairy Went a-Marketing." The magic of everyday things comes to life in the infectiously upbeat "Life Is Sweet," and in traditional songs such as "White Coral Bells" and "The Rattlin' Bog." A chorus of children joins Sangiolo and her guitar on "Meanie Mary," and librarians will want to take note of the short, sweet "Little Caterpillar," which is perfect for inclusion in story times. Spiked with imaginative details, like the spider-web clothesline in "Fairies' Wash Day," this album belongs in all children's music collections."
-School Library Journal, May 2005 Kathleen Kelly MacMillan, Maryland School for the Deaf, Columbia
"Maria Sangiolo, a melodic folksinger with a mother's warmth, brings a gentle mood of dream-time fantasy to original and traditional folk-style songs, mostly about fairies and the childhood pleasures of meadow, woods and play. Here, "life is sweet when I'm with you," a fairy cobbler might leave "a tiny shoe not quite sewn" to be found by a keen-eyed searcher; fairies dance in a fairy ring, tickle toes and wash in "acorn cups for tubs." Accomplished musicians, including Sangiolo, provide evocative accompaniment on acoustic guitar, mandolin, harp, fiddle and other instruments. "
-- Lynne Heffley, ©2004 Parents' Choice
"These 21 songs are a mix of originals by singer/songwriter Maria Sangiolo, traditional tunes ("White Coral Bells," "The Rattlin' Bog"), poems set to music, and flute and harp interludes. As the title indicates, many of the songs center on the world of wee folk. Sangiolo's strong singing voice complements the varied arrangements, from folk to jazz. Each cut varies in length from 10 seconds to more than 5 minutes. Fortunately a somewhat ragged children's choir only appears on one track. Backup instruments include everything from mandolins and fiddles to slide whistles and egg shakers. The final three "Bonus Tracks for Adults" are a pleasing addition."
-- Kristi Jemtegaard -School Library Journal, Booklist, April 2005
"While we don't have a music section in the catalogue, this lovely CD happened to come our way and we just had to include it. Sangiolo's music springs from the love and delight she feels in being a mother - spending all morning in the garden with her girl, picking dandelion puffs and riding bikes, dancing in the dew, getting into trouble with pixies, and singing Lady Spring. Her CD is a marvelous tapestry of original songs and traditional tunes set to fairy poems; plus songs accompanied by the lilting voices of children, and three bonus child-friendly songs for adults. The Celtic sounds of harp, whistle, fiddle, boohran, piano and acoustic guitar are irresistible!"
"Sangiolo is well known and loved in the folk music world, often compared to Joan Baez or Judy Collins. Her voice is beautiful and full of life. She says becoming a mother has brought her songwriting and creativity to an entirely new place, one that she is celebrating and sharing with us now. A lot of parents are celebrating with her - this CD won a 2004 Parents' Choice Award. This is children's music at its very best!" (3+ years)
-- Chinaberry Catalogue, Summer 2005 Issue
"Maria Sangiolo, affiliated with the Vanilla Bean Cafe in Pomfret, CT, has released her sixth CD, "Fairy Moon - Songs of the Ring," on Raging River Records (RRR105). A collection of 21 well played, interesting lyrically and eminently hummable songs that, although described as "children's music," will probably find yourself (as I do) listening to the CD alone in the car, with no kids within earshot! Songs about Fairies, Maidens, Daughters, enjoying the outdoors, gardening, and nasty moms make up this thoroughly enjoyable CD. All of Maria's CDs are available at CDBaby.com, Amazon.com or mariasangiolo.com."
-- By Edward Goss, Neighbors, August 2004
"A knockout new voice emerges among Boston singer-songwriters."
-- The Boston Globe
"A born singer"
-- Dan Gewertz, The Boston Herald
"Her music holds the thoughtfulness of a Tish Hinajosa and the depth of a Patty Larkin."
-- Rona Edwards, FAME
"Her voice (as chillingly clear as a March river and capable of virtuosic trembles) and lyrics (introspective but never Natalie Merchant-sappy) overpower the listener by strength of conviction alone."
-- New Times, Kansas City
"...best performance of the day."
-- Review of the 1995 Continental Divide Music and Film Festival, New York Mills Herald, New York Mills, MN
"One of the best singer/songwriters coming out of the Boston scene today."
-- Johnny D's, Somerville, MA
"[Sangiolo] enraptured the audience."
-- Matt Whorf, The Enterprise, Brockton, MA
"...a woman of talent...check her out before her tickets are out of reach and her venues are standing room only."
-- Pasadena Weekly
"..touching lyrics and understated melodies are delivered with poise and grace."
-- George Varga, San Diego Union Tribune
"Sangiolo's lyrical style attempts to plumb the depths of the human spirit; the poetry of her songs confirms that she is in touch with the fears and hopes of her own young adult generation."
-- Holland Patent Newspapers, Holland Patent, NY
"From out of the pack of young songwriters from the Boston area, comes Maria Sangiolo, a first class young songwriter and singer who has the ability to look deep within herself and others for her lyrical inspiration."
-- Dick Pleasants, WGBH/WUMB Radio, Boston
"A singer with a highly revealing style of songwriting and an arresting voice."
-- Stephen Ide, The Patriot Ledger
"She's one of those rare people, who does a CD where every song is great."
-- Clytia Fuller, KZSC, Santa Cruz, CA
-- Scott Alarik, The Boston Globe/The New England Folk Almanac
"She sang like an angel."
-- The Columbus Dispatch
"..an artist who captures folk sounds with a new vibrancy. Her voice remains crystal clear through both joyful and sorrowful songs."
-- Kate Huyvaert, Old Gold and Black
"The owner of one of folk music's most lovely sopranos, this tender-voiced balladeer reminds one of Judy Collins at an incipient part of her career."
-- Dan Gewertz, North Shore Weeklies, Ipswitch, MA
"...a voice as clear as chimes and a great feel for romantic ballads."
-- The Marblehead/Swampscott Reporter
"Sangiolo's voice sends shivers. Sweet and unforced, it delivers personal songs that ever-so-gently touch the heart."
-- Maureen Jackson, Victory Review
Copyright © 2004 by Maria Sangiolo. All rights reserved.