Make a Happy Face EP
2021 / Carol Nicodemi
Review by Kathy Parsons
The Make a Happy Face EP is a collection of eight original children's songs composed and performed by Carol Nicodemi with instrumental accompaniment by Ed Nicodemi playing an amazing variety of instruments including guitar, flute, piano, theremin and percussion. Additional vocals are provided by Elyse and Melody Orecchio, Carol and Ed's daughter and granddaughter, making it truly a family project! The title song and "Dance All Over the Map" were released as singles earlier this year and both are a delight, as is this entire upbeat, fun and positive album. Carol and Ed have released albums together and separately and often perform as a folk and jazz duo. Carol is known primarily as a singer/songwriter, and much of Ed's solo work is piano and/or guitar.
Make a Happy Face begins with "Dance All Over the Map," a buoyant song about a child who is having trouble concentrating in class because his/her imagination is taking him/her all over the world, dancing to the music and rhythms that are bursting from within his/her own head. "My feet gotta move, my hands gotta clap, my fingers keep snappin', my toes wanna tap - gonna dance all over the map." "Do Like the Animals Do" is a cute little song sung by Elyse and Carol about imitating the sounds and movements of various animals and making yourself happy at the same time. The title song features Carol singing and playing the kazoo with additional vocals by Elyse and Melody along with Ed's recording debut on a toy piano. This carefree little song should do it for anyone needing a little bit of musical sunshine in their day/week/month, etc. "Turn around your frown, turn it upside down." Who can stay grumpy with words like that? "I Love to Dance Ballet" is a sweet ballad about a little girl who, well, the title gives that away! Sung by Elyse, it also features piano and cello. Who doesn't need to be reminded that "It's Okay to Make Mistakes"? A mother/daughter duet with a jaunty beat, this is a handy song that offers reassurance to a tearful child. "I Make Funny Faces for My Grandpa" is sung by Melody, accompanied by Grandpa on guitar, xylophone and percussion - really cute! "We're Twins" is a happy ode to having someone who looks just like you do. "Storyland" ends the album with a fanciful song about how fairy tales, nursery rhymes and other stories can feed a child's imagination, allowing him or her to envision a world of make-believe much better than simply sitting in front of a television or computer screen.
Even though Make a Happy Face is intended as a children's album, the warmth and optimism are infectious and can give the day a real lift. In that regard, I can easily recommend it to "children of all ages" who could use a dose of musical sunshine. The album (and its singles) are available from Amazon, Apple Music/ iTunes, Spotify and other sites. It's a charmer!
September 15, 2021