Local organic music can help your soul and school
She may not have coined the phrase "organic music," but local artist and musician Anna Antonia Giedwoyn's reference to her first CD of kids' songs as "organic" means it's healthy for the soul as fruits and vegetables are for the body.
"Like organic fruits, there aren't any harmful ingredients" in her songs, Giedwoyn says. "It's really music for the whole family."
Plus, 10 percent of the proceeds of each sale of her upcoming CD can be donated to the buyer's school of choice this Saturday.
She's holding a free CD release party Dec. 4 from 2 p.m. to 4 p.m. at Buckman Elementary School at 320 S.E. 16th Ave. and will sell her CD of 22 children's songs for $14.99.
Giedwoyn wrote the lyrics and the melody of her songs and she sings them on the CD.
The event will include a short concert, face-painting, balloon animals, dancing by Stumptown Dance and an appearance by Snow White.
The CD, entitled "Goldfish Don't Eat Pizza" was inspired by her nephew, Aleksander Mizgajski, her own experiences as a child and from other kids she's met.
Many of the songs have a story behind them, including "Training Wheel Blues." It's a song based on her nephew's reluctance to make the transition from a bike with training wheels to a two-wheeler when he was 5 years old. And it's about the impatience of kids who want to grow up too fast.
The song "Apples" has a message about acceptance and the differences among people.
During a coloring exercise, Giedwoyn and her other classmates in the second grade were tasked with coloring a sheet of three apples.
She started coloring the first apple green because her parents had a tree in the backyard that produced sour green apples.
Then "these kids kind of converged on my desk and my drawing and they hijacked my coloring with their red crayons. They started coloring red on top of the green and telling me that apples are only red. ... In the song I sing about the fact that apples come in many different colors."
Not all the songs have lessons or messages. They're just fun.
The entire way the CD came about carries a message of community and teamwork. About 10 local musicians contributed to the project.
"I've been so touched by people's kindness and enthusiasm. My musician neighbors, Keith Fleming and Scott Killops, said 'yes' to the project before they'd even heard a single note."
She says she barely knew her neighbors until she began working with them on the album.
"I'd spoken to Scott and Keith maybe once or twice before, so I had no idea if they'd be interested in playing on the album, since they barely knew me. But they're terrific musicians and incredible people."
She says she was especially happy to collaborate with Portland jazz pianist, Matt Tabor, who worked with her on the musical arrangements on an almost weekly basis for a year.
And what about that album title? That's also inspired by her nephew who as a 6-year-old fed his goldfish scrambled eggs. Needless to say the eggs disrupted the pH balance of the water and the fish died. Giedwoyn says she choose pizza for the title instead of eggs because pizza is more universally enjoyed.
In addition to writing the lyrics and melodies to her songs, she also painted her CD cover using the daughter of painter, Becca Bernstein, as a model.
Giedwoyn holds a master's degree in psychology from Pacific University, a Bachelor of Arts in English from Lewis and Clark College and a Bachelor of Science in psychology from Portland State University. She's been an online news writer and producer in Portland, including KATU.com from 2000 to 2001.
Listen to samples of Anna's music: