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Review of I Love My People (above left) written by Linda Goodman
This CD begins with The Creation, a James Weldon Johnson sermon that I have heard numerous times, but never with the depth of feeling given it by Oba William King. A dramatic teller, King becomes one with the story, his deep, full voice painting God as practical, artistic, wise, and loving.
King accompanies himself on the drum as he sings Red, Black, and Green, a song meant to teach children the colors of the flag of the African people. In a call and response format, we learn the significance of the colors: red is for the blood; black is for the people; and green is for the land.
I Love My People is a multi-voice anthem celebrating the courage and spirit of the African People:
“No matter what the world puts us through
We come out on top in all we do.”
This self-affirming testimony is sung to a catchy tune that makes those who hear it listen twice, so that they can sing along.
In Emma Young’s poem Kimberly Ann Elizabeth Hall, a young girl discovers on her first day of school that other children have skin that is a different color from her own. On the advice of her mother, she reaches out to those children and learns that they have much in common. King is the voice of wisdom here, counseling that skin color is not as important as a person’s heart.
The Sad Girl features a child, much like Cinderella, whose step-mother is mean to her. As the girl cries at her mother’s grave, she is given the comfort of material things, but her step-mother destroys them. Can true love release her mother’s spirit so that the girl can be saved and live happily? King tells this story with just the right touch of sentimentality and hope.
The Bridge, a story about two loving brothers who somehow become enemies, is a favorite of mine. An unexpected visit from a wise carpenter teaches them both a valuable lesson.
Would eagles who were raised with chickens think that they were chickens? That is the case in The Eagles Who Thought They Were Chickens, until a wise older eagle teaches them that if they spread their wings they can fly, if they really want to.
Other tracks on this CD include a drum solo (Imani), a Muddy Waters song (Signifying Monkey in Blue), and an ode to playing in the snow (I want to Play in the Snow).
This charming album will appeal to all ages. Oba William King knows how to use his voice to best effect, changing it with each character and encompassing the emotions that draw the listener deep into the stories. Whether he is being playful or somber, he hits the perfect notes. With his undeniable talent, he makes the stories his own.