Music is a very important part of Mexican culture and is always part of a celebration, whether big or small. The music of Mexico sings of love, country, passion, history, legend and oppression, among other things. Marc Burrows developed a fun folkloristic kiddie’s story through music and song, that cleverly debates the beaten down piñatas that originated in Mexico, and their demand for justice after the Cinco de Mayo celebrations end. A piñata, for those who may not know, is a container often made of papier-mâché, pottery, or cloth; it is decorated, and filled with small toys or candy, or both, and then broken as part of a game celebration.
Each game participant will have a turn at hitting the piñata, which is hung from above on a string. The participant is blindfolded, given a wooden stick, and then spun a number of times. As the participants works to hit the piñata, another moves it to make it harder to hit. Not very nice if you are a piñata!
Hence the song ,“The Night the Piñatas Came Back”, tells the tale of the piñatas claiming to be tired of being hit with sticks at parties, and that they also wanted to party too. This version of the song is performed by The Roving Apatosaurus, a new collective on their debut outing.
The instrumental of the song was re-imagined by Israeli musician, arranger and producer Alon Leon Hillel, for Perfect Pitch Productions. Hillel’s embellishment, with regards to the original arrangement is impressive to say the least.
His version sounds more fleshed-out and lush, especially the horns which are dynamically resonant and richly layered. The Marc Burrows’ version, issued through Heritage Music Press is more simplistic sounding, with reduced instrumentation, as it is an arrangement aimed towards helping kids to practice at school.
Much the same is delivered by The Roving Apatosaurus, who take their name from a genus of the extinct sauropod dinosaurs that lived in North America during the late Jurassic period. To be honest, we know more about the extinct dinosaur than we do about The Roving Apatosaurus!
I suppose all they really wanted us to know is that they could actually perform this song exquisitely and uniquely, without deviating from the original melodic arrangement. And for all intents and purposes they have succeeded. “The Night the Piñatas Came Back” retains all of its clever playfulness, bathed in gilded harmonies and a spotlessly spine-tingling lead vocal.
Though the track is classified as kid friendly on the music platforms, I think it offers much more than that in terms of listening pleasure, and could easily find a place among your easy-listening adult contemporary music collection.