Much like a storybook, music has a way of exciting kids as it takes them on a journey using different sounds, instruments, voices, melodies, and lyrics. And, once music and narrative are combined, something truly remarkable happens—especially in Big World Audio Theatre’s nautically themed album, The Peculiar Tales of the S.S. Bungalow.
This two-disc set created in Portland, Oregon invites kids to set sail on a magical, multi-voiced musical adventure aboard the S.S. Bungalow. Pop in the first CD and the voyage begins as kids are transported from their rooms, the car, or wherever they may be into The Museum of Maritime Wonderments and Nautical Oddities, “a museum where the weird and the wonderful are one and the same.” Once the crowd gathers and the narrator begins speaking, kids will listen track-by-track as they’re told the most fantastic tale about an old fisherman named Sleepytime Greg, his curious old wooden ship, and its crew, who once set sail across the Atlantic Ocean in a quest to reach a great treasure.
Their journey takes many twists and turns, but what the crew discovers at sea; from a school of gigantic Tortoises to Poseidon’s Graveyard, are what adventures are all about. And while the narrator, and seasoned voice actor, Kevin Barbare orates most of the story, children in the crowd are there chiming in and asking questions. It’s components such as this that make The Peculiar Tales of the S.S. Bungalow much more than an audio book—there are brilliant sound effects, from the cries of sea birds to the crashing waves on the ship’s deck, and beautiful vocal and instrumental tracks performed by talented musicians.
After 1 hour and 15 minutes, the Narrative disc and the story of Sleepytime Greg come to a close, but the takeaway from this CD has no end. Before the narrator leaves off he ends with a great message, “However, dear friends, your life has just begun. And everywhere from the highest mountain peaks to the deepest river valleys, adventure impatiently awaits.”
The Peculliar Tales of the S.S. Bungalow was more than a year in the making with the help of a successful Kickstarter campaign. While a few sample tracks were originally launched as free downloads, the full 2-CD album is now available as a digital release after much anticipation. In addition, a 2-CD illustrated digi-pack can be pre-ordered now, while the entire physical album will be available to retailers nationally in January 2015 (Big World Audio Theatre, Burnside Distribution).