SPRING MORNING- New album from danna banana

It’s a new year, and I have a new album almost done!

It has a bunch of songs you haven’t heard, along with a bunch that I play a lot in live shows but haven’t put on an album yet, like I’M WITH THEM and BLA BLA BLA, which everyone thinks is my song but it’s actually by a great Jamaican band called Toots and the Maytals. It also has a new one called SPRING MORNING, which is a lot of fun. Kind of slow, but not a ballad. It has activities in it. Mostly jumping up during the chorus like a flower growing in springtime. Do you remember what a chorus is?* And since it is going to be Spring soon I thought that would be a good title for my album. It just means I have to get it out before Spring is over!

It’s also going to have a song called Slowpoke, or (My Daddy Is A) Slowpoke, that uses a drum machine. I’m a little sorry I didn’t work with a drummer, but it’s a fun song and a different sound for me. It’s got a kind of hip hop beat that starts about a minute into the song. There’s a breakdown in the middle where you get to chant SLOW-POKE! SLOW-POKE! Have you ever thought your Dad was taking soooo long and you were really impatient and frustrated? That’s what this song is about.

I just got a new piece of equipment for recording songs that has a LOT of sounds on it– drums, and bass, and horns, and strings, and all kinds of weird computer sounds. I’m not very good with computers, but I’m really going to try to learn how to use this one, because if I really learn how to use it, I can make some really cool songs that I could share with you. So…stay tuned!
Yr Pal,
Danna Banana

*the chorus is the part of a song that comes back with the same exact music and the same exact words.

Prepare To Be Scared

So excited about my new album Prepare To Be Scared. Despite it’s title, there’s nothing to be afraid of. ‘The only thing we have to fear is fear itself’, I crib from FDR on my song I Frighten Myself from the album.

Recorded by the estimable Larry Alexander in his studio in Valley Cottage, NY, it reflects a lot of what you’ve come to expect from a danna banana album- solid songwriting, great musicianship (thanks Joel Newton/Peter Moffitt/Ethan Linden (Cohen)/Takashi Otsuka/Bill Ruyle and everyone else!), danceable tunes, but also some weird, unexpected twists and turns you’d never hear anywhere else. Last House On The Left and Evil Awful Cheez Monkeez fit that category labelled ‘uncategorizable’which is probably why they’re my favorite songs. Where did they come from? Your guess is as good as mine. Well, maybe not quite as good. I remember when I got at least the germ of the idea for Evil Awful Cheez Monkeez. My son’s best friend Jonathan lived across the street, and he was in our kitchen eating cheese. And eating and eating and eating it. I’d just been to the doctor, my cholesterol was high. I couldn’t eat cheese. He was focussed, deliberate, like a dog. I’d heard that dogs don’t have a switch to turn off hunger, that if there’s food around a dog will just eat and eat and eat until his stomach bursts. I imagined Jonathan keeling over in my kitchen from an overdose of Polly-O string cheese. Nine years old, with the sclerotic build-up in his arteries of a 45-year-old. And it would be all my fault.


I finally said ‘Hey Jonathan, that’s a lot of cheese’, and he shrugged and looked sidelong at my son and said ‘I guess I’m just a cheese monkey.’ And started laughing. And my son laughed, and I laughed, and we all laughed for…quite a while. And I tucked it away in my memory bank.

Last House on the Left? Well, that’s a tale that will have to wait for another time. You can wait, can’t you?….

Working on Halloween album- Prepare To Be Scared

Why is it that i have a tragic, fundamental inability to get anything done on a recording program. I work in Logic. I use the term advisedly. I worked with pal Peter Moffitt, incredible pianist and all around good guy, to create a track yesterday. Piano vocals. He left and I was to bounce our session and send him an mp3. First thing I did was, I somehow managed to eliminate my vocals. I hit something, I don’t even know what, and I discarded my vocals. It keeps asking me to search for the vocal tracks, but I don’t know where they are. There’s no folder in my file called ‘Ether’…so now I’m trying to re-record the vocals over the existing piano track he laid down yesterday. And I’m getting nothing in the program. I can’t hear piano. I can’t hear myself. And I can’t believe I’m so bad at this! And it’s a cute song! Has potential!

I’m so Sandy

Hey people-

It’s taken me four days just to get to a working computer that has access to the internet! Everything is fine, my family is okay, we had one tree that almost fell on the house, and broke the windshield of our car, but other than that, no real damage. We have no power, however. We’ve been having people over every night, cooking meat from the freezer before it goes bad, drinking wine and singing songs by candle light. I could get used to this!

Thanks for all the notes of concern. I’ll be back in touch soon about the releaswe of my NEW ALBUM, i am NOT silly, very soon. It’s already gone to the printers, and I should be receiving delivery of actual cds in a few days. This hurricane may have delayed IANS world takeover release, but not by much! Have no fear!

Danna Banana at PS 40 in Brooklyn, Part 1

All kinds of things happening with Danna Banana. Perhaps the coolest is my work at PS 40 in Brooklyn through the good offices of Brooklyn Arts Council (BAC). I was hired as a teaching artist for first and second graders who had no music instruction at their school. We met Friday afternoons, February thru May. As the weather got warmer, it got harder and harder to contain all that energy at the end of a long school week. Nevertheless, we had some amazing kids, and amazing voices. (the volume attained even between songs, saying ‘i was here FIRST!’ or ‘You CUTTED!’ should be investigated as possible weapons-grade sonic defense system).

Our final program included songs from Canada, the United States, Spain and the Carribean.  We did a killer version of Jamaica Farewell, complete with dances. And we made masks for Scary Monster Train, and when we stomped menacingly toward the crowd, they were scared. Even though are masks were pink. Check it out:

We made masks for Scary Monster Train

Scary Monster Train 1

Once the MASKS were completed, we marched around holding them up as we roared.

And roared...

And Roared!!!

We couldn't decide which was scarier-- our scary monster drawing? highly intimidating, even in this light. or...

our own scary monster face!!!! Run away, run away!!!