Sue Ribaudo gives little music lovers cause to celebrate

March 18, 1995|By Naomi Davis | Naomi Davis,Special to The Sun

It has been an eventful year for Sue Ribaudo. First she XTC relocated to Baltimore County from Cincinnati, where she had built a successful performing and recording career as a children's musician.

Then, having barely settled into her new surroundings, she learned that she had received the coveted Parent's Choice gold award for her latest recording, "In the Same Boat," performed and produced with Paul Lippert on Raspberry Records.

The Parent's Choice Foundation -- a non-profit consumer group for children's entertainment -- called Ms. Ribaudo's CD "a collection of celebratory songs . . . sung with such cheer and warmth that it's hard to listen without swaying to the melody, tapping a foot and singing along."

"I felt very honored," says Ms. Ribaudo, 43. "We are one of the few small, independent labels to get the award. I knew it reflected the hard work we put into making a high-quality recording."

And, this week, she returned from a visit to Nicaragua, where she gave a series of concerts.

Ms. Ribaudo, who has three recordings to her credit, did not originally choose a career as a performing artist. "I came from a musical family," she explains, "but I wasn't a music major in college. I just wanted music to be for fun."

It was fun she couldn't keep to herself, however. As a pre-school teacher in three different states, "I became the unofficial music teacher in each school," she says. She eventually started doing music workshops for the teachers, who asked for tapes of her music for their classes.

She made her first recording, "Reach to the Sky," for Sampler Records.

"Performing was an offshoot of that recording," says Ms. Ribaudo, who lives in Towson with her husband, Vic, a hospital administrator, and her two boys -- Dan, 15, and Adam, 11. "I began giving concerts at schools, libraries and the zoo after moving to Cincinnati. My second recording, 'Earth Celebration,' was inspired by my work at the Cincinnati Zoo."

"My interest in learning international music stems from the fact that I think music can be a viable bridge between cultures. . . . This is my way of helping people to learn to understand each other and be more open to other cultures."

During an interview this week, Ms. Ribaudo was still abuzz from the experience of giving concerts to Nicaraguan children at venues ranging from adobe huts to the large auditorium of a private girl's school. She was in Nicaragua as part of a Sister City program.

At one concert she sang Harry Belafonte's "Turn the World Around." While the children couldn't understand the words, they were all moving to the tune -- which reinforces Ms. Ribaudo's belief that, through music, "we'll finally see we're all a part of one family."

Ms. Ribaudo said she looks forward to sharing music with area families.

"I try to encourage people to make music their own. There is a trend to put professional musicians on a pedestal and reserve the making of music for those elite people. We are becoming a nation of listeners. There is so much to be gained from singing and making music together both emotionally and socially."

Recordings available from: Raspberry Records, 3472 Cornell Place, Cincinnati, Ohio 45220, (513) 281-2945 or Border's Books & Music, 415 York Road, Towson (410) 321-4265.

AWARD-WINNING MUSIC

To hear excerpts from "In the Same Boat" by Sue Ribaudo and Paul Lippert, call Sundial, The Sun's telephone information service, at (410) 783-1800. In Anne Arundel County, call 268-7736; in Harford County, 836-5028; in Carroll County, 848-0338. Code: 6186.

SUE RIBAUDO

What: Concert and dance sponsored by the Baltimore Folk Music Society

When: 2:30 p.m. tomorrow

Where: St. Mark's on the Hill Church, 1620 Reisterstown Road, Pikesville

Tickets: $6 for BFMS members; $8 for non-members; $4 for children; $13 family rate, members; $17 per family, non-members

Call: (410) 366-0808

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