The Laughing River is the story of two fanciful African tribes - the Funga and the Alafia - in conflict until the laughing river bubbles melodiously into their lives, bringing fun, friendship and peace. This enchanting lyrical folktale brings love and laughter into the lives of young and old. The Laughing River is a blend of several fascinating African elements. It was inspired by an African greeting song in the Yoruba language, which is spoken in Yorubaland, a West African area within Nigeria that is inhabited by a number of different tribes. The fictitious tribes, the 'Alafia' and the 'Funga,' are modeled after the Yoruba people, particularly the Oyo. Inspiration was also drawn from the religious beliefs of the Bunu tribe, who occupy a region in Northern Nigeria. The song 'Che Che Koolay' originated in Ghana. The theme is peaceful conflict resolution. (By the way, there is also on the market a full-color hardcover picture book by Elizabeth Haze Vega that tells the lively story of The Laughing River and includes accurate written music on the pages. The book includes easy-to-follow, illustrated instructions for making and playing a drum, as well as dance steps and hand motions to accompany The Laughing River songs. It encourages read-along, sing-along, dance-along participation and is particularly enjoyable while listening to The Laughing River musical CD). Elizabeth Vega is a talented Orff musician, teacher and performer. She was born in Chicago and was educated in the United States and Europe. The daughter of a musically-talented Presbyterian minister, Ms. Vega began her musical training at an early age, and in her teens, she traveled to thirteen countries, perfornimg vocally in international competitions. While studying in Vienna, she was introduced to, and became a devotee of, the Carl Orff approach to teaching music. Ms. Vega holds several academic degrees, including a masters degree in education, a multiple subject teaching credential, and three level certificates in Orff instruction. Professionally, Ms. Vega enjoys combining her love of children, her unique creative and performance skills, and her dedication to the art of teaching. A Note About Orff Music: The instruments you hear on The Laughing River CD are Orff instruments. Carl Orff (1895-1982) was an Austrian composer who developed a holistic approach to teaching music which uses these pitched percussion instruments. These xylophones, metallophones and glockenspiels are adaptations of African marimba/xylophones and the Balinese gamelan. With the capacity to remove notes, these instruments are often tuned to pentatonic scales. By removing the dissonant intervals, children are given the freedom to experiment and improvise while creating pleasing harmonic sounds. The Orff approach addresses different learning styles by allowing students to experience music on many different levels. The rhythm of the spoken word is often a starting point for teaching children a musical concept. Integrating movements, speech, songs, games, instruments, dramatics and more, the Orff approach is a delightful way to experience the Magic of Music! - Elizabeth Haze Vega ....................................... 'A gift to the children of all nations, The Laughing River is a delightful story that will put a smile on your face and a song in your heart ... uplifts the human spirit and spreads the simple yet important message of peace.' - O. J. Ekemondé, World Beat for World Peace, Nigeria.