For ages: any age
Topics Covered: Environmental Activism, Politics, Music, Health, Activism, Community Organization, Curiosity.
Summary: Have you ever felt that you were too small to get something done? That no one will listen to you if you dare to raise your voice? The answers to these questions form the backbone of the “eco-feminist musical” Curious: Think Outside the Pipeline. Created by Ants on a Log, “two Philadelphia musician-educator-activists” Julie Beth and Anya Rose, Curious charms from the first song, and follows a chronological story. Siblings Taylor and Clio find out that an oil refinery wants to expand and build in their neighborhood. After doing some digging around, the pair decide that they have to fix the problem. But will anyone listen?
A narrator and varied cast of characters and voices tell the tale of active resistance and resilience, and we here at TTA think it’s best when listened to in order, but if you only have time to listen to a few songs, standout tracks include “Research” an ode to serious study that had both Corrie and I guffawing with it’s accurate retelling of a conversation that occurs often at our house, when all I have to add to the discussion is the fact that “I’m hungry.” “Air and Space” is another excellent song that will make anyone who has ever experienced “mansplaining” laugh and roll their eyes.
There are many important topics covered within the music, and they all meld together into a collection of scientifically correct, real life experiences that is easy to follow and incredibly current with its concepts. Anya Rose and Julie Beth draw you in with their harmonies and don’t let go until the end of the story. The themes of community organization, health and environmental justice could feel weighty or awkward in less thoughtful hands, but the Ants buoy the material with Peter Rose’s dry Narrator guiding the listener through the narrative.
A focus on growth mindset is a massive trend in early childhood education, and Curious echoes this with songs and lyrics about resilience and not giving up. Clio and Taylor travel from researching and doubting themselves to believing that they do have the right idea, and this character development doesn’t happen overnight. The siblings have to fail and feel dejected before they can finally speak their truth, and these lessons are threaded throughout the album. When letter writing reveals that “The Man in Charge (Is Useless)”, Taylor and Clio think on their feet and figure out a louder way to speak their truth.
About the Artists:
Ants on a Log is Julie Beth (they/them) and Anya Rose (she/her). The folksy duo writes music for children and other childlike people, songfully advocating for positivity, social justice, and silliness! The Ants have been featured on XPN’s Kids Corner, at the Philadelphia Folk Fest, and on radio stations around the globe. In 2016 the Ants debuted their musical, “Curious: Think Outside the Pipeline!” The show harnesses the power of eco-feminist music and humor to encourage families to stay “curious” about alternatives to fossil fuels.
In their off-stage lives, Julie is a music therapist and Anya is an elementary science teacher. Their powers combined make for smart and socially conscious folk, mostly originals with some must-know classics. Their harmonies and rhythmic play are a delight for children (and grown children!) of all ages.
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