Picks and Pans Review: On a Starry Night
Whatever social and political chasms divide our planet, there is one challenge that unites parents everywhere: getting the kids to bed at night. As both these albums show, every culture has its lullabies to soothe and drowse, but The Planet Sleeps (Work), in its choice of performers, also reminds us of the strife that shatters nighttime’s peace in many places. The traditional Yugoslavian song “Oj Talasi” (O Waves), for example, was recorded by a Bosnian choir that has since been decimated by that country’s civil war. On a Starry Night (Windham Hill) pursues a cheerier vision. With such jazz and New Age performers as Bobby McFerrin and George Winston interpreting traditional lullabies from lands as far-flung as Ghana and Iceland, the results are gentle and pretty but oddly unexotic. Not as compelling a disc as Planet, perhaps, but a sweet way to drift off.