How do you sum up the history of music and incredible diversity of musical genres that have evolved since cavemen first started banging drums around the fire? You can’t. Unless you’re writing an encylopedia and updating it every few days. Instead Stusoy and Radford have created a colourful, engaging and humorous board book to introduce young children to music, whetting their appetites to explore what’s out there and, likely, inspiring parents to keep digging and dancing too.
Taking in everything from medieval and orchestral music to blues, country, skiffle, bebop, tap, samba, swing and “sock-hopping dancing feet” to pogoing, stage diving, hip hop sampling, electronic wizardry and shiny pop stars, We Are Music (Simon & Schuster) isn’t just enlightening for children (anyone else never heard of a theremin?). But the illustrations are the stars of the show (we are slightly biased, however – see below); a textured blend of pencil lines, bright pops of conceptual graphics, collage overlays and impeccable attention to musical detail. While the comic style is relatively simple, the facial expressions and emotion rendered in a few careful pencil strokes is impressive.
But Nick Radford, who also works under the name of Frootful (as both an illustrator and musician himself – including his most recent collaboration with Angeline Morrison, The Mighty Sceptres) is no stranger to us. A longtime collaborator since the Stranger magazine days and honorary League of Strangers member at large, he also happens to be married to yours truly. So we managed to twist his arm to take a bit of time out from his client work for books, magazines, advertising, record covers and the like, to whip up the brilliant masthead for Strike magazine. We think he’s done a fantastic job. Stringently objective, of course.
Buy We Are Music here for less than seven English pounds (there you go, all upcoming baby shower, birthday and Christmas presents for under 8s sorted).
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What helps you create? Whether it’s writing, drawing, shooting or even whittling, for so many of us, music makes the world go round. In fact, we couldn’t imagine working without it. Fascinated by how other creative souls get stuff done, we decided to unpick this causal connection by speaking to different creators about their practice, process and how music fuels their fire.
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Samuel Crosby shoots the rather illuminating breeze with all-round creative fireball Kaasam Ali Aziz...
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