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Tuesday, 27 August 2013

Hook, Line and Singer - A Sing-A-Long Book by Cerys Matthews

Hook, Line and Singer: A Singalong Book

From Cerys Matthews, radio 6 DJ, ex-singer of Brit Pop band Catatonia and one of Britain's best known music devotees, comes Hook, Line and Singer, a sing-a-long book for all the family, for any occasion. After more than thirty years of singing, travelling and collecting songs, Cerys Matthews still finds there's no better way to spend time than singing along in good company. In Hook, Line and Singer she invites you to join her in a grand old singalong. From songs for young families through tunes for vintage-lovers, trips away, American favourites and songs for times of optimism, ending with celebration songs for Christmas and New Year, this is a book filled with Cerys' own memories and musical arrangements. A mix of the traditional and contemporary, Hook, Line and Singer presents music and lyrics clearly so the book can be sung as well as read, offering you the stories behind the songs, their ages and origins, and the reason for their inclusion. This is a life-affirming book of the most memorable, melancholy, silliest and easiest-to-sing songs that Cerys knows, designed to keep handy at home for those moments when only a song will do. Cerys Matthews is a singer, songwriter, author and broadcaster, hosting a popular weekly radio show on BBC6 Music and appearing on The Voice with Tom Jones. A collector of songs for over thirty years, she has also written and presented documentaries on subjects such as Blue Horizon (the iconic British blues label), Sacred Harp singing and Dylan Thomas. A columnist for the number one world music magazine Songlines, she is the author of children's stories Tales from the Deep and Gelert, A Man's Best Friend. She was lead singer and songwriter for the multi-million-selling band Catatonia, and duets with Sir Tom Jones on the perennial winter favourite, 'Baby, It's Cold Outside'. She lives in West London with her children.

My job is that of an Activity Worker, in a city council run Children's Centre. I work with families who have children aged 0 - 5 years. In every session that I am a part of, songs and rhymes play a part. They are important as they attract a child's attention, teaches them about words and rhyme, encourages interaction, expectation and enjoyment. The use of actions encourages movement and co-ordination and as the children get older it aids language development and can include numbers, counting and turn taking. They are just as important for parents and other carers who gain confidence in groups and in also helping their children with their language and development.

When  I saw this book I knew it would be perfect for my job. I know the traditional rhymes and some of the alternative versions but am always on the look out for new rhymes and songs to teach the groups.

The book is all about song and rhyme. The author, Cerys Matthews, female lead of pop group Catatonia, has collected together lots of songs and rhymes which  together make for a fantastic sing-a-long. There are traditional tunes along with modern day songs which children and adults of all ages with enjoy, recognising many but I am sure all will learn a few new songs to add to their repertoire.

The songs are split into eleven chapters: Action Songs; If You're Happy and You Know It; Oh Dear, What Can The Matter Be?; Nan's Tune Emporium; Let's Go Fly A Kite; Monoglots to Polygots; La, La, La, La, La, L'America; Sea Dogs and Blue Water; Creature Songs; Sweet Dreams; and Christmas and New Year. Each chapter has 10-12 songs in each. All songs have brief introduction to the song, a little of its history and include those little gems of facts which could be a winning answer in a pub quiz! There is also the music included in the book - the basic tune and chords, suitable for guitar or piano players, along with the song words. If there are actions associated with the song, they are also included along with an alternative song words.

As I have previously said I work with children and therefore know lots of songs, however I think that nearly half of the tunes were new to me - I will definitely be learning some to take with me for the new term. I really like that there was the music too as it helps with the tunes for the songs I don't know - it would of been great if a CD could have been included with the book featuring all the songs in the book - this would have made a perfect songbook, however I am sure entering the song title into a well known search engine would soon throw up the tune! There is the perfect mix of old and new tunes within the book and it is one which the older generation will see as a walk down memory lane - it would make a perfect gift. I really like this book and I can see me dipping into it alot over the coming months as I plan sessions and sing-a-longs.

I received this book through the Amazon Vine Programme.

1 comment:

  1. Hi Sarah - I nominated your lovely blog for a Liebster Award..