Tuesday, March 1, 2011

Penny for Your Thoughts

CD Review

Written and performed by Diane Ferlatte, with Erik Pearson. Order by emailing diane@dianeferlatte.com or visit www.dianeferlatte.com

Reviewed by Linda Goodman

Diane Ferlatte has a rich, silky voice that is full of soul and heart. I could listen to her recite multiplication tables for hours and never feel board. Imagine how pleasant it is to hear her telling stories.

I first heard Diane at the Three Apples Storytelling Festival in Harvard, Massachusetts. I was spellbound by her gentle wisdom, coupled with spurts of energy that had me springing upright in my seat. I have heard her many times since, and she never fails to delight her audience.

Three of the stories on this CD are ones I have not heard before, including Next Town, in which Ferlatte shares a tale about a family road trip from California to Louisiana in the midst of a steaming, hot summer in her childhood. Her wise mother prepares food for the trip, but it disappears much sooner than expected. In the segregated south, when many restaurants refused service to black people, Ferlatte learned that people can hate others without even knowing them.

My Black Day, also new to me, relates an encounter with a French exchange student that leads to a deep friendship. Friendship and love, we learn, transcends cultural barriers. And singing a familiar song, by the way, can make everything all right if we put our problems behind us and concentrate on the music.

You Never Know What the End’s Gonna Be is the story of how the African American Ferlatte and her English husband won over her mother-in-law, who refused to attend their wedding. What was their secret? Patience, persistence, conversation, and two irresistible grandchildren. They included this reluctant grandmother in their lives, despite her resistance, and won her over. This story speaks to the comfort that only a loving family can provide.

I Got Your back begins with an instrumental version of Swing Low, Sweet Chariot, morphs into a folktale about an old woman who sacrifices everything to save the people of her village, and ends with a tribute to the late, great J.J Reneaux. Sweet memories…how they linger.

Penny for Your Thoughts, the third story new to me on this CD, shows how two cultures, as well as two generations, can come together if they talk honestly to one another. “The most important person in your life is the one you are with right now,” Ferlatte affirms. Lean on Me is the perfect song to end this series of stories about lessons learned on life’s journey.

Ferlatte’s stories, vocals are songs are well complemented by Erik Pearson’s deep vocals, banjo, guitar, and bass. Together they shine a light on interactions between people who are open to new understandings of old philosophies. Even in this chaotic world, they make peace seem possible.

1 comment:

  1. I love Diane. One of my favorite tellers. A beautiful woman inside and out.