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MP3 Wendy Flower - Flower Power

Wendy Flower (Wendy & Bonnie). Uplifting folk-rock messages for young and old. "A ''60s vibe for today''s families." Themes include peace, brotherhood, environment, animal rights. Portion of proceeds to Free The Children.

14 MP3 Songs
KIDS/FAMILY: Kid Friendly, FOLK: Political

A new music CD is designed to promote activism among young people, making them aware that they can make a difference.

Wendy Flower''s "Flower Power" creates "a ''60s musical vibe for today''s families." It contains original folk-rock songs with positive messages for young people, as well as a cover of Rick Nelson''s "Easy To Be Free." Themes include peace, brotherhood, freedom, hope, individuality, imagination, community, the environment and animal rights. The sound calls to mind Crosby Stills, Nash & Young, the Mamas & Papas, the Byrds and Simon & Garfunkel.

Among the CD''s songs are "Stand Up," "Fur Belongs On Animals," "Good News Day," "Get On Board," "A Billion To One," "I''d Rather Be Me" and "Bells."

"When I was growing up in the ''60s," Wendy says, "people actively expressed their passion about world peace and the environment. This was reflected in the music of the day. These are timeless messages and they need to be heard now, more than ever. Brotherhood and sisterhood never go out of style. We wanted to offer youngsters new songs that would encourage them to get involved, to speak out, to care."

Singer/songwriter Wendy comes from a musical family in the San Francisco area. Her father, drummer Art Flower, played in the house band at the famed Bimbo''s 365 Club and later taught music in elementary schools. Her mother, Jeane, once a big band and radio singer, became a vocal coach.

Wendy and her sister Bonnie are revered for their cult sensation, the 1969 pop/folk/jazz album "Genesis." Just as it was emerging, it disappeared, due to the record company''s bankruptcy. But interest from such artists as Stereolab and such producers as Irwin Chusid and Mike Alway led to the album''s release on CD via the Sundazed label in 2001. It earned rave reviews from North American, UK, European and Japanese critics. It receives airplay on many college, free-form and folk radio and internet stations.

The innovative Welsh band Super Furry Animals chose a sample from "By The Sea," one of the beloved songs from "Genesis," to open their "Phantom Power" CD. While playing San Francisco''s legendary Fillmore Auditorium, they invited Wendy to join them on stage. She performed a duet of the band''s "Hello Sunshine" with front man Gruff Rhys to a standing, cheering, full house. SFA included the rehearsal of that number in their DVD documentary "American Sasquatch," a bonus disc in their "Songbook: The Singles Vol.1."

After the "Genesis" recording in ''69, Wendy sang with numerous Bay Area bands. With Bonnie, she recorded jingles and added vocals on sessions with prominent artists, such as Cal Tjader.

In the ''80s, Wendy, who had been deeply involved in early childhood education, released a children''s music album titled "My Pet Songs." It promoted kindness to animals. She created shows, often utilizing original puppet characters, to acquaint young audiences with animal rights and other important issues.

"Many times," Wendy says, "children are not even aware of how animals should be treated. Cruelty -- witting or unwitting -- sometimes results. It''s important to cultivate respect for all living things. It''s a matter of harmony."

She also performed family concerts and the San Francisco Chronicle referred to her as "the Pied Piper of children''s entertainment."

"I feel very comfortable around children," Wendy says. "They''re so honest, so natural. They love life. They''re intuitive, creative, pure, innocent. They''re appreciative. They have courage. They''re not afraid to get up and try new things."

Wendy has always encouraged children to begin helping others at an early age. She and her husband Paul Freeman wrote the theme song for Project Wee Care, which helps Bay Area youths to help the homeless.

Wendy''s latest effort, the "Flower Power" CD, actually was sparked by Paul''s award-winning screenplay of the same name. It''s a comedy-drama about a forgotten protest singer, who discovers that, through children''s music, he can achieve his aim of changing the world -- even if it''s just a little bit at a time. Huey Lewis, who was interested in playing the lead at one time, suggested that Wendy and Paul complete all the snippets of songs that were sprinkled into the script. So it became an album, original songs reflecting ''60s ideals for 21st century families.

The album offers a "homemade" charm, as Wendy relied on musician friends and students to accompany her on these songs. They all volunteered, because they believed in the project''s goals.

The children in her Bay Area music classes have already been enjoying the songs. Now these uplifting tunes are available to the public. They''re designed to appeal to all ages.

A portion of the proceeds from "Flower Power" goes to Free the Children. Free the Children is the largest network of children helping children through education in the world, having directly impacted over 1 million children in 45 countries through its projects.

Wendy finds her work to be very rewarding. "The children I sing to mean a great deal to me. I''d like to move mountains, even if they''re only small mountains. If I can help motivate a child to help others, I will have contributed something meaningful with my life."

Wendy and Paul have already written many of the songs for her next project, a "grown-up" folk/rock/techno/Wendy & Bonnie-ish album.

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