Vered Ronen examines the dynamics of family with her new CD, Songs for Sisters and Brothers.
“One Family” delivers an inclusive all-world message but the other tracks delve into the interpersonal aspects, from excitement upon hearing your family is growing (“You’re Gonna Be”) to the soulful, bluesy longing for one-on-one contact (“Like It Once Was”). Walter Martin humorously duets on “It’ll Be” with insults and wistful enthusiasm, such as “I’ll help you blow out all your candles ’cause by then there’ll be millions of them” before declaring “It’ll be so good to be grown up with you.” A kids chorus sings (and whistles) about how everyone’s a narcissist sometimes in “Brothers and Sisters.”
There’s also a view from the parental side. In “PR Agent,” Vered gives a first-person account of succeeding because of—and sometimes despite—her kids. And how those same kids bring moments of pure joy and frustration, just like in every parent-child relationship.
The bond between siblings remains the crux of Songs for Sisters and Brothers. It’s something “only” children just can’t understand because they don’t have an “other.” I don’t remember when my first little brother arrived. I was just under two years old. Same story with the next one two years later. My mother wrote an anecdote in my “baby book” that she passed along a few years ago: After my third baby brother joined the gang, at some point I asked, “When is the next baby coming home?” to which she replied, “That’s the last one.”
The recent movie Tully examines the mental and physical toll of being a full-time, stay-at-home mother. Vered recognizes that after the first child, it’s almost impossible to lavish the same amount of attention on all the kids. At which point, it becomes almost astounding when the youngest one suddenly discovers and develops skillsets. As she relates in the song “Little Bird”:
You learn to touch the sky all by yourself
When no one’s watching
It’s really something.
My little bird, it’s like you just need a nest
For when you want to rest.
There is a bevy of special participants on Songs for Sisters and Brothers, and Vered even credits them as the “Dream Team” on the CD inner sleeve. It’s an impressive list of vocalists and instrumentalists who collaborated on a smart, friendly collection of tunes. My brothers may be a little too old to appreciate the sentiments, but my younger son isn’t. And maybe even his older brother.
Here is the world premiere video of Vered performing “Little Bit Tough”: