Dreamland Faces bring ‘fear and excitement’ to kids’ songs

(Dreamland Faces performs; Photo courtesy of Marcus Metropolis.)

Many parents struggle to find music for their children that can also be tolerated by adults.

But a Minneapolis band called Dreamland Faces will test their serious musical chops against young attention spans in a concert for kids this weekend. And it might appeal to grown-ups too.

Musical saw player Andy McCormick said it's difficult to pin down the genre of Dreamland Faces, which also includes stradella accordion and a host of guest instruments like organs and double bass.

"We sound like an accordion with some kind of whining instrument played over it, that's my musical saw," McCormick said. "And we're not afraid to sound a little strange."

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McCormick and accordionist Karen Majewicz began playing in a Rochester, New York piano bar about a decade ago. The group now features a revolving cast of between two and eight musicians, who take their unique sound everywhere from movie theaters to dive bars.

Dreamland Faces performs original material, as well as songs they like from composers they feel are underrated, like Alec Wilder. The group plans to perform many of Wilder's short songs from his collection "Lullabies and Night Songs" at the concert on Saturday.

"We like a lot of them because they're sort of violent," McCormick said. "Some of them are about cannibalism, some are about eating children."

In previous shows where children were present, McCormick said his musical saw has been the star, eliciting a mix of "fear and excitement" from young listeners whose first reactions seems to be to try and touch the very sharp instrument.

"We've done a few kids shows that we really enjoyed, and I think for this one, I'm just going to try to be loud and obnoxious, because I enjoy that," McCormick said. "It is, after all, a kids' show at a bar in the morning."

Dreamland Faces will play the children's concert on Saturday, April 20 at The Icehouse in Minneapolis. It will be hosted by The Current's Barb Abney.