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Caged Bird Songs by Maya Angelou

4.8 out of 5 stars 12 customer reviews

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Audio CD, November 4, 2014
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Editorial Reviews

One of the most renowned and influential voices of our time, iconic American writer, poet, actor, dancer, director, composer and lecturer Dr. Maya Angelou, will posthumously release Caged Bird Songs on November 4th via Smooch Music. Caged Bird Songs, produced by RoccStar (whose production credits include Jennifer Lopez, Jennifer Hudson and CeeLo Green) and Shawn Rivera (the lead singer of Az Yet, the R&B vocal pop group formerly on La Face/Arista Records) in Los Angeles and at Angelou's North Carolina home, is a unique musical collaboration which thoughtfully blends the lyrics and recorded vocal performances of Dr. Angelou with modern day hip-hop, creating an exciting new work and presenting her words in a way they ve never been heard before.
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Product Details

  • Audio CD (November 4, 2014)
  • Number of Discs: 1
  • Label: Smooch Music Inc.
  • ASIN: B00NBXFCC4
  • Average Customer Review: 4.8 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (12 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #123,069 in Music (See Top 100 in Music)

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

By Andre S. Grindle TOP 1000 REVIEWER on November 25, 2014
Format: Audio CD
One of the most significant things I can say about Maya Angelou is that she was able to very successfully integrate her life and her art. Her poetry,prose,social activism and occasional musical activities were all intertwined with her own persona. While I know all life does end? It still saddened me greatly when Maya Angelou passed away earlier this year. Earlier this month however,I became aware of this project. It wasn't exactly going to be her spoken word poetry,but rather her "rapping" in her own vocal approach lyrical poems that she had written-with a contemporary style musical bed featuring the help of producer/multi instrumentalist Shawn Rivera. At first I wasn't sure what this album was going to present-the previews sounded a lot less inspired than expected. Really goes to show how hearing the album in it's proper context can totally change things.

"Human Family" opens up the album with a Pharell style percussive modern funk beat/guitar driven piece dealing with cherishing the differences in culture in the world while respecting our similarities. "Pow Pow" is a stripped down,bass driven groove that finds,like Maya's style on the song,has the lyricism and attitude of a poetic prize fighter. "Sepia Fashion Show" has a dinging piano style hip-hop style pulse with a hilarious story about uppity brothers and sisters judging a fashion show-as Maya tisks lightly at their pretensions. "Harlem Hopscotch" is a tone poem set to a Missy Elliot style Afrocentric hip-hop/funk-heavy on the sense of tribal motion and dance. "Pickin 'Em Up" has Maya speaking rhythmically on a down home style bluesy gospel/funk stomp.
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I've been reading Maya Angelou's beautiful poetry for years, but somehow it truly came alive when she read her own work. Her voice captures the essence of her poetry and it becomes magical. Thank you!!!
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Somewhat clunky, but a good vibe for the first several tracks (Harlem Hopscotch is great). Then things get bad - like it was rushed and they tried to make the words fit the music rather than making music to fit the words. With heavy "autotune" and sped-up speech (to the point of unrecognizable vocals as Maya Angelou and indecipherable words) - the second half of the CD is what I would call "amateur" mixing which sounds like it was made by kids playing with an app rather than a professional studio production.
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I've always loved her poetry, and her sassy attitude and these poems set to music and rythm combine both of those elements of Maya Angelou! They are incredibly effective when 'performed', but in an entirely different way. She, and her family's hope that these poems, set to music, will reach a wider, and younger audience, I believe, has been achieved.
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This is a treasure. How often can you hear the author of beautifully crafted poems then do them to music. We listened to it three or four times on first receipt and it is now part of the regular rotation in our daily music. Don't miss this.
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This is a fantastic Hip Hop Album with the voice Maya Angelo saying the words of her poems over the music. The music and poems are addictive and fabulous together. I would recommend this to anyone
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