Besides learning medieval music, the kids also developed an early good taste for the best of the rock era, starting with Beatles and ending with Rammstein. They were eager to learn a few of the songs and see how it goes when played by their own hands.
Regarding rock music, we tried to be carefully selective.
Many people who dislike rock don’t really understand this phenomenon. Their perception is based on whatever the major media channels distribute incessantly. We detected three major parts of rock music:
1. bad rock – mainstream – generally frivolous, pornographic, ‘shake-butt’, etc
2. evil rock – bad-ass, cruelty, no mercy, etc
3. good rock – which includes protest rock and any non-evil and non-frivolous songs created on the rock foundation: accented rhythm, heavy riffs, truthful singing. This is the type of rock we are interested to learn and play.
While continuing on learning medieval music, we started doing covers of rock songs; first piece was Beatles – Love Me Do and then two more songs from the 60s. We had a to-do list, supposed to follow the timeline of the rock history, but for several reasons we skipped everything and jumped to the end, so we did three Rammstein songs.
Some people got outraged about this. Why we should choose a band so controversial? They have behaved in concerts and some videos in a bad way. Young kids shouldn’t be exposed to this. True. But we used only the music itself, because we really liked it.
Another reason: same age playmates were making fun of Stefan when learning that he likes and plays Beatles. Unfortunately this new generation is mostly into gangsta-rap, some evil metal and what the young Cornelia calls ‘shake-butt’ music. We had to counteract, so we started working on Rammstein music, the best teachers to learn from, with powerful and melodious compositions.
Love Me Do – Beatles
Changed some of the words, made it more appropriate for a children band and for this era.
Some viewers are unhappy about changing the lyrics, considering it a sort of sacrilege. We actually believe that Beatles are among the greatest musicians of all times.
But let’s face it: most of the kids today don’t care. They listen to either death metal or shake-butt stuff.
My kids love Beatles but don’t like some lyrics. Stefan, somewhat upset, asked me: “why so much ‘love you baby’ stuff? I don’t want to sing it. Can’t we change that?”
So we did. I think the “world without love is bad for you” gives a deeper meaning to this great song. And the other verse: “If there’s no Love, Nothing is True” is in fact so deep that only few can grasp its meaning completely.
Regarding ‘Pray for love’, it’s a different story; when they sing ‘love me do’ altogether it’s one thing, but the girl alone didn’t sound right. There are plenty of nasties who would have made fun of it.
And last, the fact that we mentioned God at the end: we take it as it is. You can take it as a metaphor of Love in the purest form.
There are two other versions of this song:
– faster: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=urEIFMa8bxA
– and this: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=9t6v0UdtVJw – voices are better, but Cornelia was kindof busy with her sleeves 🙂
Technical details: the song should have been transposed, it is obvious that Olga has difficulty singing her part which is too low for her. But we couldn’t change the diatonic harmonica part, so we had to stay in G major.
Heart Full of Soul – by Graham Gouldman
Talking ’bout You – by Chuck Berry
Ich Will – by Rammstein
This is our first Rammstein cover. There is an interesting detail about the beginning of this song. When Stefan says ‘Ich will’, Olga starts counting silently; she knows that ‘will’ falls on the 3rd beat. So she counts: four-one-two-three-four and starts playing her keyboard line on the second half of the following 1st beat. Immediately, one eighth later, on the 2nd beat, Stefan enters with another ‘ich will’…
This is an amazing silent tempo counting between two kids, 10 and 9. There is difficult practical math involved here, besides good musical timing. On top of that, a few bars later, the little drummer girl enters perfectly with a quick crescendo, without being confused by the rhythmical complexity of the keyboard theme.
They performed this intro faultlessly before an audience of 10,000. How is that possible? What secrets of child’s mind are still hidden from us?
The point is there are people who claim that R+ music is so simple that even a child can play it. They really don’t know. Most of these persons won’t be able to play the beginning of ‘Ich Will’ like these kids do. It might be related to innate talent, of course, but there is also a dedicated educational effort done with love and understanding.
Here is the home recording:
SONNE – by Rammstein
This cover has been viewed by about 3 millions on youtube. Stefan performs with some anger and this looks good. Why a 10 year old kid should be angry? One reason might be the fact that today children cannot go out and play freely. This is not a safe world for kids. A lot have been kidnapped and killed…. And there might be other motives for a child to be angry, not because of his life at home – as many would jump to suspect – but because of how the world is and has been perceived already by an intelligent kid.
Is Rammstein a good choice for children? Some of their videos we don’t like, some of the lyrics also, but overall their music, with that unique combination of immense power, tension, glorious themes and subtle infusion of good taste romanticism, sets them among the best musicians of the rock era. For someone who wants to learn new music, theirs is one of the best to learn from.
Technical details: we had to face some technical and also natural limitations; at this age 8-10, the voice range is less than 2 octaves. We had to transpose this song from D to G; so instead of the original guitar tuning – DADGBE, Stefan is using DGDGBE. The chords’ positions are different, also the sound – the power chords are not fifths, but fourths, which sound a bit dissonant on the bass – but the overall effect is still good.
Du riechst so good – by Rammstein
The first part doesn’t sound too good, we run out of time and couldn’t afford another recording try. I posted it as it is because the second half is fine and the end is actually great.
For those concerned that the lyrics are not appropriate for a child to sing: whatever the intention of the composers might have been, we selected only the middle part from the German text, and added English and Romanian parts with a different meaning. This way the song has a message which kids liked better.
Anyway, regardless of lyrics, this is a great piece of music of all times. It has the best fusion of baroque elements and romantic German Lied into heavy and tense material. This is definitely something to learn from.
More rock songs played by the CMB kids:
7 Nations Army – http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=i38T8FaixZE
From Me To You (Beatles) – http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=sheRXYk6G5I
Donaukinder (Rammstein) – http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=veBRYPyj7fc
Walk Don’t Run (Ventures) – http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=n_hO1ZlZvf8
There’s a Place (Beatles) – http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=5YcGWd-EL9Q
The Old Man (Rammstein) – http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=rwC-UWgBxUw
Purple Haze (Hendrix) – http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=YtiJoGB5zQk