"Hey everybody," announced my younger daughter, "I'm writing a play! It's called Monkey Bongo!! And it'll be performed to this music."
We'd just cleared the supper dishes from the table. Jesse Cook's Frontiers (A) was playing. My wife was home from one of her international forays. The planets were in alignment, it seemed, for our eight-year-old to create Monkey Bongo!!
As she drew pictures of monkey mischief she explained what each song on Cook's CD inspired. "Now the monkeys are resting beneath a tree and eating sandwiches. Mr. Justice Possum is lost." "The monkeys are splashing in a stream and trying not to drown, even though the water is only two inches deep!" etc.
It's a scene I reflect on, two years later. It's noteworthy, I think, that this creative rush occurred inside an environment of absolute happiness. So much artistic expression is in aid of toiling through the shadows, but this was a joyous expression on the other side of the valley. Mom is back, the family is together again! This music is so fun! I'm writing a play! Monkey Bongo!!
Cook's CD is still a family favorite. If you check out his website, "Matisse The Cat" is the song that gave rise to the title of the play. Most of the disc is devoted to Cook's wizardry with the acoustic guitar, but Melissa McClelland provides the ravishing vocals for "It Ain't Me, Babe." Listening to what she does with Dylan's "get lost" tune, I can understand exactly why she has to tell some poor sod to go away from her window.
As for the play, my daughter never managed to follow through on the original promise. But that's alright: the title and the memories are entertainment enough.
Links: Jesse Cook (h), Melissa McClelland (MS).