Courtesy of Eothen Alapatt
Kieran Willem Campos Alapatt.
Kieran Willem Campos Alapatt. Courtesy of Eothen Alapatt
My wife and I are new parents. Our son, Kieran Willem Campos Alapatt, entered the world on Jan. 14, 2011. I come from a musical family; my mother has taught piano since I was born, and she currently instructs at a Suzuki Method school in my home state of Connecticut. I'm well aware that there are dozens of theories as to the best way to cultivate a musical bent from an early age — our Bach for Baby's Brain collection, for example, has taken many spins.
Early on, when my wife needed a break and I was given the opportunity to bond with an often-sobbing, comfort-craving newborn, I instinctively gravitated toward the stacks of vinyl sitting in front of my turntable. The first record I played him, the claustrophobic soul of Watercolor's "All Bundled Into One," struck out. The second, an expansive jam by the Indonesian pop-psychedelic ensemble Ariesta Birawa Group, fared much better.
This got me thinking: The music I love today is informed by the music from my earliest memories. I love Mediterranean psychedelic fusion, so it's no surprise that one of my parents' favorites was Mikis Theodorakis' rocking score to the Costa-Gavras film Z. Sly and the Family Stone's Stand was my parents' soul of choice, and Miles Davis' Bitches Brew was their jazz. I knew the words to most every song on Galt MacDermot's Hair soundtrack by the time I was 10. In college, when I discovered the composer's lengthy Kilmarnock Records discography, MacDermot's pulsing rhythms and timeless melodies transported me back to my childhood.
So I moved from record to record to see what worked with baby Kieran. While I'm far from playing him the Stark Reality's psychedelic jazz interpretations of great American songsmith Hoagy Carmichael's children's songs, and further still from showing him Carmichael's 1970 WGBH TV pilot, I like to think his positive response to the following songs hints at an open-mindedness that my wife and I can nurture. That his favorite nursery rhyme is my wife's interpretation of the sage Caetano Veloso's "O Leãozinho" is a happy omen.