AMONG THE many attractions at the upcoming Baboró festival is There’s A Snail In The Garden, Dermot Carmody and Morgan C Jones’ hilarious live music and comedy show for children.
Carmody and Jones have been familiar figures on the Irish comedy scene for 20 years but what prompted this recent diversion into writing and performing material for children?
“A few years ago I finally gave in to the incessant suggestions from my wife Bairbe that I write some songs for kids,” Carmody tells me from his Dublin home. “She’s a music teacher and does a lot of work with smaller kids.
“There’s a lack of decent songs for children and they’re able for something a little better than what they tend to get. So I ended up writing a collection of songs which we put out as a CD. The natural progression from there was to do a live show.
“I love working with Morgan, we’ve been working together for over 20 years so he came on board. We basically translated the onstage relationship we have when doing shows for adults into something that’s like vaudeville for young kids. There are songs plus some interplay and slapstick between me and Morgan. We’re very comfy doing improvised interacting with the kids in the audience too.”
Among the songs in There’s A Snail In The Garden is the title track which wonders about the determined but less than speedy progress of a snail on the back doorstep. There’s a protest song for the modern traffic-bound child (‘Mammy, Are We Nearly There Yet?’ ), a song that addresses the imponderable mystery of ‘Why Is There Fluff In My Belly Button?’ and another making a noisy virtue out of dental hygiene; ‘Brushy Brushy’. In the middle of it all there’s even a song about…middles!
“I would hope that, firstly, kids would enjoy it but also that it won’t be an absolute trial for an adult,” Carmody notes. “While the songs need to be simple enough to appeal to kids, they don’t have to be stupid.
“I really like ‘Mammy, Are We Nearly There Yet?’ it’s like a signature tune for the whole thing because it’s about the wider suburban car-based experience that most Irish kids have. We wanted the songs to relate to kids’ actual experiences rather than re-setting Victorian nursery rhymes or something like that. A lot of the stuff is silly, but taps into that questioning spirit of kids like ‘Why is there fluff in my bellybutton?’”
Both the CD and show have met with positive feedback, whether that be from fellow-parents ‘road-testing’ the album in the car or The Irish Times which enthused about its “original music for kids that doesn’t talk down to them - or make their parents cringe”.
There’s A Snail In The Garden is at the Town Hall from Monday October 12 to Wednesday 14. There are two performances daily. Full details of the times can be obtained at www.townhall.ie or www.baboro.ie For tickets call 091 - 569777.