Vocalist/percussionist Mark Davis initially recorded this as an educational tool for his music classes. He chose songs that connected with his students, and then added touches of music he heard while studying in Ghana in the mid-2000s.
In addition to teaching music at Elk Elementary Center, Davis is well known about town as the Voodoo Katz frontman, a member of the a capella group Bare Bones and drummer for the Bark-o-Loungers.
The 14 tracks here include familiar sing-alongs like "Day-O," "Kingston Market" and "Jamaica Farewell," all penned by famed Calypso writer Irwin Burgie. Along the way, Davis is joined by Katz bandmates Deron Sodaro on keyboards and bass and singer Karen Collison.
In addition, Brandon Willard's steel drums adds a measure of warmth and authenticity throughout. (Willard studied with WVU's steel drum pioneer and W.Va. Music Hall of Fame Spirit Award recipient Ellie Mannette).
Some of the most effective tracks are the rhythmic, percussion-and-vocal "Water Come a Me Eye," the call-and-response "Missa Ram Goat," the full band "Colon Man" (which adds Katz guitarist Andy Park) and the gentle, swaying take on "Michael Row the Boat." "Banyan Tree Waltz" adds fiddler Jake Krack. Spicing up the mix are intriguing snippets of African percussion and street music Davis recorded in Ghana.
Oh, and the packaging includes nice artwork by Vasilia Scouras and design by Jeff Pierson.