Bardina's Forest
Bardina's Forest CD cover
songs and stories about animals, nature and dreams
with words by Bardina, Hans Christian Andersen, Henry David Thoreau, and Peter S. Beagle.

Bardina, a cousin of the fairy Thumbelina, is a bard: a person who sings songs and tells stories while playing the harp.
Bardina is an alter-ego of composer/lyricist/harpist/vocalist Stephanie Bennett.

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1. Planets & Stars (4:02) a loving lullabye that also teaches the names of the planets.
2. Ballad of Gorilla and Bear (3:57) the TRUE stories of a bear who made friends with a cat, and a gorilla who uses sign language. "I learned from this, and in many other ways, that animals have feelings too... and I hope that you and I can remember to be as kind as that gorilla and bear!"
(Words & music by S.B.) (The bear and cat friends lived at Wildlife Images; here's their introductory video, which includes brief clips of the bear and cat.)
3. I Can Imagine (3:00) "to begin any project, you start with a dream..." 
4. The Harper (3:33) in the time of lords and ladies, a harp hastens true love. 
5. Flutter By, Butterfly (6:20) the amazing true story of the insect who leads "four different lives"!
6. Crazy, Mixed-Up Platypus (9:07) this incredible animal has a secret weapon & unusual parenting techniques! 
7. October Suite (5:52) celebrates the inspiring beauty of Autumn. 
8. The Snow Queen (17:25) a little girl with a kind heart, courage and determination, rescues her friend.
9. Going Home (4:49) the joy & comfort of returning to the familiar after great adventures. 
10. Pathétique (CD bonus track) instrumental version of Going Home.

Total running time: 63 minutes.

Stephanie Bennett: electric harp with digital effects, Celtic harps, vocals and narration. With: flute, french horn, percussion, and string quartet. All music by S.B. except Going Home and Pathétique, music by Beethoven.

REVIEW in FOLK HARP JOURNAL magazine, Summer 2000:

This CD is different. Really different. Let's begin with the jewel box: mostly cardboard rather than plastic, printed with vegetable days and on the obverse, bearing an image of "Bardina" carrying a Triplett wire-strung harp and riding a blue-winged butterfly.  On the reverse, one finds barefoot Bardina again, posing with a beautiful Lyon and Healy pedal harp, a Dusty Strings Celtic harp, and ... a giant platypus?...In the liner notes, Stephanie thanks her parents "for always encouraging me to be creative."  It must have worked!  for this harp album is one of the most charming, whimsical, witty and well-produced I've ever encountered. It has much to delight both children and adults - all the more in that most of the stories it relates ("Planets and Stars," "Ballad of Gorilla and Bear," "I Can Imagine," etc.) are true.

Stephanie plays very well indeed... She obviously takes thought to detail - even to getting vocal coaching in Australian dialect for "Crazy, Mixed-Up Platypus" (my favorite).  Most important, while she mostly directs herself to children, she neither "talks down" to them nor ignores the adults in the audience.  Two works ("October Suite" and "Pathetique") seem directed to adults specifically, but I feel sorry for the adult who doesn't get a tear in his or her eye when hearing her version of "The Snow Queen."

...The arrangements for harp are excellent too, and backed at times by string quartet, flute, percussion, and French horn." - reviewed by John Wheeler, Folk Harp Journal Magazine

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