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New book and CD package encourages kids to take care of their world’s oceans

Lively and optimistic, Akai and Mamoo’s Ocean Adventure, a Canadian children’s book packaged with an original music CD called Everybody’s World, launches in the fall of 2012. Its goal is to open children’s eyes to their own responsibility to preserve and protect undersea life.

It does this through the playful tale of Akai and Mamoo, a couple of mischievous orca cousins who ignore their mothers’ instructions to stay close to home. When they stray from the comfort of their own pod, they encounter all kinds of manmade hazards, from plastic webbing to spilled oil. Though the whales are eventually reunited with their mothers, young readers learn how human actions affect our oceans and their own individual responsibility to follow a more sustainable path.

The book, which was illustrated by China’s Zhong Changxu, was written for five-to- 11-year-olds by Calgary’s Irene Herremans, Holly Speer, and Renay Eng-Fisher.
“If one song strikes a passionate chord in someone, and instills environmental values, a healthy respect for animals and an understanding of the necessity for biodiversity, the earth will have won a friend,” says Eng-Fisher. The accompanying CD, Everybody’s World, features 16 original songs written and performed by award-winning Canadian, American and Spanish artists along with 13 chamber orchestra musicians in the Red Deer Symphony Orchestra, under the musical direction of Claude Lapalme.
It was recorded by Richard Harrow at Calgary’s HB Media.

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The Ocean Adventures of Akai and Mamoo & Everybody’s World

Aimed at children aged 5 and up, this book and CD package focuses on the impact of the human world on the habitat of orcas. Brightly illustrated, the book The Ocean Adventures of Akai and Mamoo tells the tale of Akai and Mamoo, frisky young whale cousins who decide to explore beyond their usual territory one day. In their travels, they encounter human threats from various forms of pollution, boats and even well-meaning people, who may just be curious to watch the orcas but get close enough to put the whales in danger.

In addition to telling a compelling story featuring endearing characters, the book contains a glossary of terms associated with orcas. It also suggests other sources of educational material so children can continue exploring this fascinating subject.

The Ocean Adventures of Akai and Mamoo was written by Calgarians Renay Eng-Fisher, Irene Herremans and Holly Speer, who work together under the banner of Natoura, Inc. Together, the authors have more than 30 years’ experience in developing materials for educational and business projects. This particular endeavor was inspired by their realization that in order for environmental values to become intuitive, a cultural transformation must take place. What better way to change the culture than by engaging and educating young people through words, images and music?

“We need to instill the idea that nature has value in itself, and is not only for human use,” says Renay Eng-Fisher. “Adults and children need to be encouraged to think outside of the boundaries of their own region, and respect natural resources as global common property.”

The CD Everybody’s World was created to accompany and complement The Ocean Adventures of Akai & Mamoo. Its lively original songs, written and performed by seasoned Canadian, American and Spanish musicians, range in style from bluegrass and country to swing and folk. Fifteen chamber orchestra musicians from the Red Deer Symphony Orchestra also appear, under the direction of Claude Lapalme. Calgary’s Richard Harrow, who won a 2011 Juno award for Best Children’s Album for Peter Lenton’s Proud Like a Mountain, handled the CD’s engineering, production, mixing, mastering and graphics.

“The song collection asks listeners to imagine what we can do to show greater respect for the oceans and to recognize that we must share our world in a peaceful and just way with earth’s creatures,” says Eng-Fisher, a musician and environmentalist who appears on two of the CD’s songs. “Their needs for healthy habitat are as important as our need to consume the ocean’s riches.”

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Everybody’s World

The music on the CD Everybody’s World evokes the beauty of undersea life but hints at its fragility, as well, in an effort to make children understand that human beings are responsible for its care. Each of its 15 original songs, featuring songwriters and musicians from around the world, mirrors part of the story of Akai and Mamoo.

Ocean Reflections (overture): Claude Lapalme, the Music Director of the Red Deer Symphony Orchestra, composed and conducted this overture and the arrangements performed by the 13-member Red Deer Chamber Orchestra on many of the CD’s songs. Mr. Lapalme, who has conducted orchestras around the world, has been described as “remarkable and superb” by the Paris newspaper Le Figaro. Mr. Lapalme is also the founder of Choir Kids, a program that allows elementary school children to perform with the Red Deer Symphony Orchestra.

Mamoo’s Dream: Longview, Alberta’s Jim McLennan is an acoustic guitar-player, photographer and fly fisherman. He released his first solo album, Six-String Gumbo, in 2011, and it was nominated for the 2012 Western Canadian Music Awards for Instrumental Recording of the Year.

O The Ocean: Alberta singer-songwriter Paul Rumbolt has five albums under his belt, including his latest, SongSmith. A native of Newfoundland, Mr. Rumbolt has been described in glowing terms by fellow musicians such as Cindy Church, who wrote, “his performances create a warmth that is truly refreshing and infectious; the real thing.”

Only Love Can Bring You There: Quebec folk singer and teacher Randall Spear released his first album, Slow Parade, in February, 2010. Le Soleil reviewer Eric Moreault described the album as a must-listen and called it a happy surprise, comparing the timbre of Mr. Spear’s voice to that of Blue Rodeo’s Jim Cuddy and his songwriting to the long tradition of artists like Bob Dylan and Neil Young. Mr. Spear’s latest album is 2011’s Someone to help me.

We Are The Children Of The Sea: Texan Steve Spurgin describes his music as folk, alternative country, bluegrass – all of which adds up to “original acoustic Americana.” He spent three years as a Nashville staff writer assigned to Gene Watson and Reba McEntire, and in 1994 won the prestigious New Folk Award at the Kerrville Folk Festival. “Spurgin isn’t just good, he’s stellar,” according to Rockzilla World Americana Music Review. His most recent album is called Past Perfect.

World Running Out Of Time: California’s Steve Seskin has written seven number one songs, including the Grammy-nominated Grown Men Don’t Cry, a hit for Tim McGraw, and Don’t Laugh at Me, recorded by Mark Wills, winner of Song of the Year awards from Music Row Magazine and Nashville Songwriters Association International (NSAI) in 1999. Renay Eng-Fisher is a Calgary singer-songwriter, bassist and environmentalist who’s active on the Alberta roots music scene. She currently tours with her band The June Bugs. Renay has released three self-produced acoustic CDs, The June Bugs 2 in 2011, The June Bugs 1, in 2009 and Paririe Wind in 1996.

Spyhopping: Calgary acoustic guitarist and lawyer Steve Fisher started off playing the saxophone but became fascinated by acoustic guitar after a friend played him a recording by Mississippi John Hurt called Stack O’Lee. He mastered that instrument and has been performing in bands for 30 years; his current band is Restless Lester. Mr. Fisher also plays with a collection of musicians known as the Steve Fisher Group and as a guitarist with singer/songwriter Cori Brewster. His solo CD, River, captured the number one spot on the International Folk DJ Radio list for four consecutive months.

All Aboard The What If: Award-winning cowboy poet Doris Daley has been both an emcee and a performer at every cowboy festival in Canada and many in the United States. She was named Best Female Cowboy Poet in North America in 2004 by the Academy of Western Artists, and in 2009 won awards for Best Female Cowboy Poet and Best Cowboy Poetry CD at the Western Music Associates (WMA) Awards Show. A native of Southern Alberta, Ms. Daley has even given a command performance to Canada’s Governor General, and has been called “the female Robert Service.”

Blue Planet: Sam Lardner has been described as a “living musical bridge between Spain and the United States.” Based in Spain, the former Russian and Spanish teacher has performed with his flamenco fusion band all over Europe and the United States, often at folk and world music festivals. Mr. Lardner became interested in threats to the world’s oceans when an activist friend enlisted him to help launch an awareness program in the form of 12 songs on the topic — the Oceans Are Talking album won the 2011 Parents’ Choice Award for outstanding family music. Mr. Lardner’s latest album is Suite Mediterranea.

Salt Water Rhapsody: Alberta singer-songwriter Carolyn Harley plays rhythm guitar in a wide range of styles, from classic country to rockabilly. She’s been hailed as “a songwriter’s songwriter.” Her Let’s Cause a Stir was the single Cajun release on Crystal Plamondon’s album No Borders/Plus de Frontieres. Her second CD, in the acoustic roots style, is called Roots Eclectic. Ms. Harley co-wrote Salt Water Rhapsody with Calgary’s Renay Eng-Fisher.

Whisper In The Wind: Saskatchewan instrumentalist Bob Evans, whose specialty is playing traditional roots music with contemporary finger-style guitarwork, won the U.S. National Fingerstyle Guitar Championship in 2003. Two of his recordings – 4 On 6 and Caffeinated Coffee — have been named Outstanding Instrumental Album by the Western Canadian Music Awards, among other honours. “I consider Bob Evans to be one of Canada’s national guitar playing treasures,” wrote Randy Finney, president and founder of fingerstyleguitar.ca.

It’s Our Big World: Canadian songwriter and musician Rob Hollis has written songs for Quartette and Cindy Church, most notable “- Rockabilly Heart”.

Do This Alone: Born in 1989, Calgary singer-songwriter Lindsay Ell was discovered by Canadian rock pioneer Randy Bachman at the age of 15. He went on to co-write and produce her first album, Consider This. In 2008, she toured with legendary blues guitarist Buddy Guy. In 2009, Ms. Ell released her second album, Alone, and in 2010, she was a featured artist at Vancouver’s 2010 Olympic Winter Games — not bad for an artist who was 20 years old at the time. In the fall of 2012 she was chosen to open shows for Keith Urban.

Two Orcas: Vancouver, BC’s John Reischman is one of the top-rated mandolin players and composers in the world of acoustic music, known for his phenomenal tone and immaculate musicianship. The album Field Guide, produced by Mr. Reischman and his band, The Jaybirds, was nominated for Canada’s highest music award, the Juno, in the Roots and Traditional Group category in 2002. In 2005, Billboard magazine enthused, “Any argument about John Reischman & the Jaybirds being a leading bluegrass band can be settled by listening to their exceptional third album, The Road West.” The Jaybirds’ most recent album is Stellar Jays.

Find My Way Home: Cindy Church, a member of the groups Quartette, Lunch at Allen’s, and Rankin, Church & Crowe, has been nominated for multiple Juno and Canadian Country Music Association Awards and won Female Artist of the Year at the 1993 Alberta Country Music Awards. A native of Nova Scotia and resident of Toronto, Ms. Church’s latest album is Sad Songs Make Me Happy. Winnipegger Gwen Swick is also a member of Quartette, as well as a band called the Marigolds. The Toronto Star said of Ms. Swick “her voice evokes a sense of wonder.”

This Is Everybody’s World: Richard Harrow is a singer, musician, actor, audio engineer, producer and teacher whose 40 years of professional experience include building his own Calgary recording studio, The Living Room, and recording hundreds of artists through the 1980s. In the 1990s, he developed audiomastering.com, a division of Canada Disc Inc., into a world-class facility, and in 2010, Mr. Harrow teamed up with Cole Binder to form HB Media Services Inc. Over the years he has amassed many awards, and in 2011 he won the Juno Award for Best Children’s Album for Proud Like a Mountain, by Peter Lenton (a.k.a. Peter Puffin).

CD Photography: Red Deer, Alberta’s Harley Hay is a photographer, TV news videographer, writer, and drummer.

CD Graphic Design: Calgary graphic designer Sacha Kiefer has 12 years experience working in the print and media industry. He has designed CD cover graphics for Grammy Award winner Donald Ray Johnson, ASCAP Award winner Ray Griff and, most recently, Juno Award winner Peter Lenton (a.k.a. Peter Puffin).

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