Banana Plant, Treasure Swamp: A Pop Opera (Independent)

Banana Plant, Treasure Swamp: A Pop  Opera, album cover

The Banana Plant is the brainchild of Gwynn Torres and Sid Berger, musicians and producers of the Grammy-nominated album Gulf Alive, a “children’s” introduction to the animals and culture of the Gulf of Mexico. Their new record continues the saga of animal tales in the Gulf region. This one focuses on the swamp with two themes: a love story between two possums, and a battle between them and other bayou critters including a raccoon, an owl, a beaver and others who face off with a bad pirate who wants to drain the swamp in pursuit of Jean Lafitte’s treasure. A kidnapping leads to the possums almost being eaten before an army of insects buzzes in to save the day. Children will love the storyline and the voices portraying the characters. There’s also a great variety of song types with love ballads, ominous grungy marches, jazz tunes, blues numbers, sing-along anthems and a Cajun cut or two, thereby introducing children to different forms of Louisiana music. Adults will be entertained also, but occasionally the opera sounds too cutesy and the use of computerized instruments can sound claustrophobic. Still, this record serves well as an art piece for children to be exposed to the concepts of nature, the animal world, music and teamwork. And the overall message of good triumphing over evil is substantial enough to stick, yet not so emphasized that it overwhelms everything else.