Treasure Swamp - A Pop Opera
Download a pdf of the "Treasure Swamp" release here.
In "Treasure Swamp," 22 songs tell a musical adventure story about a pirate who invades a swamp looking for treasure, spurring the swamp animals to join forces to defend their home. The entire story is told by the characters in song, with a frog chorus leading the way.
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE:
Contact: Gwynn Torres, Sid Berger
(504) 481-4125, (504) 456-2217
ARRR YOU READY FOR A MUSICAL ADVENTURE?
New Orleans Grammy Nominees Release Family-Friendly Pop Opera!
New Orleans, LA – October 5, 2012 – Following the success of their freshman album, “Gulf Alive,” nominated for a 2012 Grammy for Best Children’s Album, The Banana Plant has just released “Treasure Swamp – A Pop Opera.” Written, performed and produced by New Orleanians Gwynn Torres and Sid Berger, who perform as The Banana Plant, “Treasure Swamp” is a 22-song musical adventure story for the whole family.
Set in a cypress swamp in the Deep South, “Treasure Swamp’s” theme revolves around a greedy pirate who sails in with plans to drain the swamp in search of Jean Lafitte’s treasure. The swamp animals join forces to thwart the pirate’s evil plan and save their homeland. At the heart of the “Treasure Swamp” story is a message about appreciating the real treasures in life.
“We designed the story so no one has to die during the struggle with the pirate,” explained Torres. “It was important to us to illustrate conflict resolution in a kid-friendly way.”
The music of “Treasure Swamp” ranges from hard rock to ballad pop to Cajun, gospel, jazz, blues and even a tango. The entire story is told in song, with a female chorus of frogs explaining the action throughout the 43-minute soundtrack. All the characters sing, so there’s a rich variety of voices, including love-struck possums, a cagey raccoon, a pesky monkey, the villainous pirate and lots more. Said Torres; “We performed all the voices ourselves, which was both fun and challenging.” “Especially challenging,” added Berger, “since our custom home recording studio under our staircase is only big enough to fit one person at a time!” Clips of all the songs can be heard at http://www.thebananaplant.com/treasure_swamp.html.
Inspired by the Disney work of Alan Menken, as well as rock opera standouts such as “Tommy” and “Jesus Christ Superstar,” “Treasure Swamp” was originally conceived of as a puppet opera. “But then we realized the show could work equally well on a full-size stage with real actors as it could in a puppet theater with hand puppets,” explains Berger. “We’re already in production of a full-length puppet video of the show, which should be finished in a few weeks.” The trailer is online now at http://www.thebananaplant.com/video.html.
The music CD of “Treasure Swamp – A Pop Opera” is available now, either digitally or packaged, through creativityinstitute.com, (888)-814-TOYS, as well as CDBaby and other online music vendors.
Gwynn Torres and Sid Berger are veteran New Orleans advertising executives who’ve frequently used their songwriting skills on client jingles over the years. As branding and creativity specialists, they provide consulting services and workshops for select clients. They also work together on Torres’ online toy store, CreativityInstitute.com, dedicated to offering toys that nurture creativity in children. The store features the team’s original puppet scripts along with the Grammy-nominated “GulfAlive.” Sid Berger is a past-president and founding member of New Orleans Artists Against Hunger and Homelessness (NOAAHH), an organization started by Allen Toussaint and Aaron Neville. Both Torres and Berger are active members of NOAAHH’s Board of Directors.
Nominated for a 2011 Grammy!
Best Children's Album, GulfAlive
Download the GulfAlive Grammy Nomination release here.
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE:
Contact: Gwynn Torres, Sid Berger
New Orleans’ own “GulfAlive” is Grammy Nominee!
New Orleans, LA - November 30, 2011 – The funky New Orleans children’s CD, GulfAlive, has been nominated for a Grammy for Best Children’s Album. Nominations for the 54th Annual GRAMMY Awards® were announced Wednesday night by The Recording Academy®, and GulfAlive, written, performed and produced by native New Orleanian couple Gwynn Torres and Sid Berger (performing as The Banana Plant), was one of five nominees selected from a field of more than a hundred and twenty entries that included artists like Amanda Plummer and John Lithgow.
GulfAlive brings to life the enchanting wildlife and lifestyles of Southern Louisiana. All ten songs are fun-filled snapshots of animals and aspects of the Gulf in musical styles of the region, including New Orleans funk, Cajun waltzes, island rhythms, gospel and more.
According to Torres, “When we heard that the oil-spill response plans of major oil companies discussed how to protect walruses in the Gulf, we felt an obligation to enlighten the world about our wonderfully unique region.” Berger adds, “We put to music much of what we treasure about living in Southern Louisiana and the New Orleans area.”
The entire album was produced in a tiny closet studio under the stairwell in Torres and Berger’s home. Berger laughs, “The studio is so small and airtight, you pretty much run out of air in 30 minutes. I had to install a long hose leading to an electric air vent from another room just to keep us conscious when we were recording!”
Complementing the CD is a coloring book filled with illustrations by New Orleans artist, Gus D. Levy, father of Gwynn Torres. The illustrations delightfully reflect the subject matter of the songs with jumping dolphins, flying seagulls, pesky alligators, proud pelicans and more. There’s even a video of the Cajun-style song “No Walruses in the Gulf” both on YouTube and on The Banana Plant site. “By making this project multi-dimensional, we hope kids and adults will have an opportunity to truly engage in the sound and diversity of this area,” explains Torres.
Other songs and sounds on the CD include: The rhythm and blues of “The PeliCan,” the tropical flavors of “Everything Starts with Plankton,” the funky grit of “The Crab Song,” “Albért Alligator” and “Life on the Half Shell,” the dewlap-doowop ballad “Green Anole,” the Cajun waltz “The Ibis, the Egret and the Heron, ” the Mardi-Gras-Indian-inspired street chant “Every Drop of Water” and the joyous, gospel-like “Little Creatures.” You can hear clips of each song at www.thebananaplant.com
A portion of the proceeds generated by the sale of GulfAlive benefits Gulf Coast restoration through the efforts of the Coalition to Restore Coastal Louisiana.
Gwynn Torres and Sid Berger are veteran New Orleans advertising executives who’ve frequently used their songwriting skills on client jingles over the years. As branding and creativity specialists, they provide consulting services and workshops for select clients. They also work together on Torres’ online toy store, CreativityInstitute.com, dedicated to offering toys that nurture creativity in children. The store features the team’s original puppet scripts and a children’s art workbook entitled “Look, I’m Drawing!” written by Torres and illustrated by her father, Gus Levy.
Sid Berger is a past-president and founding member of New Orleans Artists Against Hunger and Homelessness (NOAAHH), an organization started by Allen Toussaint and Aaron Neville. Both Torres and Berger are active members of the NOAAHH board.
The GulfAlive CD and coloring book are available through creativityinstitute.com or by calling 888-814-TOYS. The GulfAlive CD and coloring book are available through creativityinstitute.com or by calling 888-814-TOYS.
© 2011 The Banana Plant LLC. All rights reserved.