Skip to content

Father’s Day 2014 continued + FREE DOWNLOAD

In addition to the preceding list, here are some other Father’s Day songs that you will absolutely enjoy.

The WhirlyGigs – “Every Day In Every Way” –  from the forthcoming Greetings from Cloud 9. This rag-timey jingle celebrates the love a Dad has for his daughter as it rings out, “you know I love ya girl, every way I can!” followed up with the promise of never-ending support. To download the song, enter ‘0’ into the price field. FREE DOWNLOAD through Father’s Day.

.

Justin Roberts“Dad Caught Stars” from Not Naptime. This one will always hold a special place in my heart as I recall my own childhood “catching stars” with my Dad on summer nights. Poignant and eloquent with a touch of magic.

Frances England - “Daddy-O” from Fascinating Creatures - there’s no denying the grace and beauty found within Frances England’s music. “Daddy-O” is a beautiful, sentimental song that will melt your heart(s). Keep a tissue close by.

Bill Harley – “Walk Around the Block” from The Best Candy in the Whole World. Humorous banter between a Dad and his son resulting in the delay of bedtime. Dad’s (and Mom’s) will have no problem relating to this song.

Darryl Tookes and Joe Beck - “Daddy’s Always Here” from Precious Child – Love Songs & Lullabies. This video contains a collage of images featuring Dad’s with children of all ages. Set to a soothing lullaby, it’s a sentimental trip down memory lane.

Video: “Pillowfort Pillowfight” – Secret Agent 23 Skidoo

I got a pillow and I don’t feel mellow.” Awww yeah, lookout! Those are (pillow) fightin’ words right there.

“Pillowfort Pillowfight” is the first video from Secret Agent 23 Skidoo’s upcoming album, The Perfect Quirk.

It’s crazytown in this video with Skidoo covered in stuffed animals rapping in the middle of a feather flying extravaganza! It’s pretty much every kids sleepover dream come true.

Pre-orders for “The Perfect Quirk” and Skidoo’s book “Weirdo Calhoun and the Odd Men Out” can be found on Skidoo’s site along with information on the Year of the Werid Contest.

World Premiere: Memories with Mr. Runklestunk (Ep. 1 – “Training Day”) – The Zing Zangs

0002493309_100

Vancouver’s freshest kindie band, The Zing Zangs, is working on a full video-webseries called Memories with Mr. Runklestunk. “The show is about our band manager’s journey to success as he struggles to become the best band manager in the world,” explains Trevor, the band’s leader.

In the series’ first episode, “Training Day,” which features Bill Childs of the popular radio show “Spare the Rock, Spoil the Child” and Morgan Taylor of Gustafer Yellowgold, Mr. Runklestunk takes his first step towards success as Taylor schools him on exactly what it takes to be the best band manager of all time. It’s a nonsensical journey filled with humor that is sure to conjure up some laughs.

Memories with Mr. Runklestunk is another exciting step in The Zing Zangs’ career and one that makes complete sense as these two young lads are creative powerhouses. Creating playful experiences that engage children’s’ imaginations is what fuels The Zing Zangs’ work and Memories with Mr. Runklestunk is an intriguing beginning of what is yet to come.

Lookout for a few more webisodes on YouTube this summer. The Zing Zangs are also in the midst or producing a TV show (which they are filming themselves) and a new album called Get Up!.

You can learn more about the Zing Zangs by visiting their site, and through their interview with Mista Cookie Jar which was featured as a guest post here on Kids Can Groove.

World Premiere: “Rainbow” – Karen K & Mista Cookie Jar

a3154349630_10

Children are naturally curious and one of our most important responsibilities as parents is to satisfy their hunger for knowledge about themselves and their world. As the mother of a very curious 5-year-old daughter, I am always conscious about communicating with her as honestly as possible. She is at a critical age where her opinions are becoming stronger and justified based on what she regularly sees and hears. And that scares me. It also drives me to find ways to reinforce values that will shape the way she sees and treats others as she grows up in our complex, ever-evolving society. While she is still years away from understanding the true meaning of social justice, her internal drive to make things right, whether it’s protesting about litter or standing up to a bully on the playground for poking her friend’s stuffed bear, is inspiring.

Music has regularly been a vital catalyst for spawning many of our discussions. Today, I am proud to premiere a song that Jeff Bogle (Out With The Kids) asserts “will up the ante on the political, world-changing capabilities of kindie music, essentially retesting the waters to see if kid’s music can indeed change the world in the 21st century.” (credit: Jeff Bogle, “Why Can’t Kids Music Change The World?“, Cooper and Kid)

Karen K (of Karen & the Jitterbugs) and CJ Pizarro (a.k.a Mista Cookie Jar) have produced a song called “Rainbow,” which explores themes such as racial and cultural inclusivity, showing one’s true colors despite societal gender expectations, and the placement of current social change and civil rights issues into a historical context.

Just as I was completing my introduction for today’s post, I found a picture my daughter drew that has just a rainbow and the words “you r mi love” on it. She draws rainbows all the time and although she wasn’t drawing it because of this topic, it so genuinely represents the purity, love and innocence of a child‘s mind. There is so much potential for learning, understanding and acceptance before children are truly “affected” by other people’s fears. So why not teach them that the rainbows they draw are inside of them, teach them about their potential and plant seeds that will, as Karen says in the interview below, teach them to stand up for themselves and ultimately find justice in what’s right not necessarily what’s popular.

Download proceeds for “Rainbow” will benefit the fight for equality and LGBTQ rights.

Learn more about “Rainbow” at the newly launched site http://iwillbearainbow.org and through their Facebook page http://www.Facebook.com/IWillBeaRainbow.

 


 

Kids Can Groove: How did you two first meet and what prompted your collaboration?

Karen K: We’ve actually only met in person twice! We first met at KindieFest in New York last Spring and again 2 weeks later in Boston when Mista Cookie Jar & The Chocolate Chips came up to be a part of the One Family Music Festival, a family music festival I’d put together with help from the Boston kindie community in response to the Boston Marathon bombings. We were all thrilled Cookie was part of such a great day of healing for families. Come to think of it, I guess this song is our second collaborative-attempt at using music to make a difference!

C.J. Pizarro (a.k.a Mista Cookie Jar): it was an honor to be able to help out for such an important cause. It struck me from the get-go that Karen was very committed to making a positive difference in the world through music. After the festival, we began collaborating on a song cross-country. We had a few fun ideas immediately, but it wasn’t until a few months later when she sent me the “Rainbow” demo that the creative gears really started to turn for us.

Lyrically, it seemed like a very natural subject matter to flow over — and urgent as well. In terms of justice, I’m always down to support the cause, and it’s special when you have something so full of heart that you think might actually make a big difference!

Any creative opportunity to affect social change is a rare one. Karen’s hook was just so emotional, simple, and meaningful — from the smart-phone recording alone, I knew there was good power there. The MC in me really loves a good hook — which really becomes your mantra/inspiration for every lyric you write.

KCG: What inspired you to write this song?

Karen: “Be a rainbow in someone else’s cloud.” – Maya Angelou. I love that quote.

While I’m a straight woman, I have many, many gay friends and colleagues. Back in February when Arizona tried to pass their anti-gay legislation, which thankfully the Governor vetoed, I was really upset and like a lot of other people, I thought, this type of thinking, this type of behavior, this type of governing should just not be happening. Although marriage equality and LGBTQ rights has long been an issue I care about, it occurred to me in that moment that this is the civil rights issue of our time, and of our children’s time – my own child’s time. And I knew, for me, I needed to do something.

At the same time, a gay friend of mine from my musical theater days in NYC posted on Facebook that he was devastated and that he felt he could not return to his hometown of Tucson. It broke my heart – and actually helped fuel the song. I sat down at the piano and wrote the “hook” or the chorus – “I will be a rainbow, I will let my star glow…I can chase the fear back into the night…” I wanted to look bigotry in the face with a message of hope – something that said that we can stand for love in this hatred, no matter what. I think at the time it was also a commitment to myself – a personal commitment to take a firmer stand on marriage equality and LGBTQ rights, because enough was enough.

I’m lucky because I was raised by loving, socially-conscience parents who taught all three of their kids to treat all people with kindness, and to stand up for what is right. My parents are from Greensboro, North Carolina, where they lived through the Woolworth’s sit-ins and events that drove and were tantamount to the Civil Rights Movement. Josephine Boyd, the first black student in the country to enroll at an all-white school, was a classmate of my parents at Greensboro High in 1958. I mean, they were in the thick of it. And their ideals were firmly planted not always on the popular side, but rather the right side of history. This was not lost on me as I drew the connections between the fight for marriage equality and LGBTQ rights in 2014, and the 1960s. It’s a great lesson in parenting actually; they passed their values onto me – to all three of us kids – by example. I think we live the way they live.

I sent CJ a scratchy little recording from my phone and out-of-tune piano and asked if he wanted to write this song that addressed these issues – a song of hope and justice and acceptance and love…for kids. And because he’s CJ and basically IS a walking rainbow, he of course said absolutely, and through emails we started talking specifically about what the song should be. We “got” each other right away. Though we have completely different musical styles, that was part of the beauty of working together.

CJ: I can empathize with anyone who is bullied for being different or not fitting in to what society deems as normal. I’ve always found this disturbing. I think in a way when it comes to gender issues, it just comes down to aesthetics and what people are used to and how willing people are to think outside their own box. People are driven to rage and hate because other people are so different than they are. Because it doesn’t fit into their world or perspective, it challenges them. I think its a dangerous mindset that leads to wars and oppression. Connecting to children at a young age with open-mindedness and free thought with such issues is key for progress. The revolution continues with the children. To grow as a people, we must educate our youngsters and hopefully our stubborn habits rooted in close-mindedness and exclusion will subside.

I believe music changes lives and helps pronounce movements. I’m deeply influenced by activists like Noam Chomsky, Cornel West, Edward Said, Howard Zinn — and musicians who merge their activism and artistry like Bad Religion, Rage Against The Machine, Tom Morello, Omar Offendum, Outernational and the Beatles too — especially John Lennon — just to name a few. I feel children’s music to be just as powerful and KEY to social change. Creating a song like ours was very interesting to me and quite a natural fit. I was happy to read Jeff Bogle’s article and how he gave it up to Woody Guthrie & Pete Seger. Folk music and activism seem to go hand in hand. They work together so organically. After all, it’s music for folks. For many people of my generation (new parents included), both urban, suburban and even rural folks, hip-hop is a new folk music, if not THE new folk music. At its best, it seems to be a great way to break down ideas expositionally and emotionally at once. In its socially analytic nature, [hip hop] seems to be rooted in the same soil as folk. Creating a pop song with such socially conscious themes was something we thought could reach many while simultaneously raising a myriad of important and current issues.

I was also inspired by the spirit of punk rock, which gives me the strength and vigor to take a stand and not really give a hoot. Given the genre that we’re in, children’s music, I find it very interesting how such a song full of the spirit of inclusivity will more than likely infuriate many parents out there (if they hear it) who are diametrically opposed to our world view. It seems to be human nature and the current sociological climate we live in. But at least it’s a song of universal love and not a stick/stone/mean tweet. Let’s begin a meaningful dialogue with folks diametrically opposed to us! That’s progress! That’s punk rock!

KCG: What do you want families to take away from this song?

Karen: We hope of course that kids of all ages hear it and really get the message that they are special and unique and phenomenal no matter where they come from, what color their skin is, what their sexual orientation is, what the make-up of their family is. As CJ says in the song, “You be you, through and through.” We hope this song will be a catalyst for direct and honest discussion in families, at school at the playgrounds – among kids and adults – and that it changes the dialogue. I hope [families] sing along and that somehow this message seeps into their beautiful brains and hearts and they remember it. We also hope they hear all these other great songs with similar messages written by our amazing colleagues and that they play them on repeat. (The Not-Its just released a song called “Love is Love” that is great). And we hope that their parents and teachers show [kids] again and again that they are loved because of who they are, because they are so perfectly beautiful just as they are. CJ talks really poetically about this in the song.

CJ: Wether you are in a lefty community or one not so LGBTQ friendly, my hope is that with this “redemption song” floating in the ether, there will be a source of hope for oppressed souls to cling to, a set of rational ideals to meditate on, and an unadulterated feeling of unconditional love to share and spread like wildfire.

Karen: See? What he said.

KCG: Where do each of you personally stand on these issues?

CJ: I am a man who rocks polka-dotted pink socks. So yeah, I am a pro-pink male fo’sho’. I am 100% for the legalization of same-sex marriage. I think it comes down to basic human rights and I’m excited as a species to evolve past this issue.

Karen: Ha! I love CJ’s pink socks. As I say to my daughter: Stand with love. Not just acceptance and tolerance, but love. Celebrate the differences we find in each other. Love them.

But more directly put – I’m pro-same-sex marriage and I believe every human in our country regardless of sexual orientation or identification should enjoy the privileges our Constitution allows and be able to participate fully in our civil society. I also believe we must do a better job in supporting LGBTQ youth – whom we are failing across the board.

It’s interesting because since we started the song, Mitch and Cam got married, and at least 5 more states have legalized same-sex marriage. It’s so exciting to see this kind of progress, but as the lyrics go, we have a very long way to go. Kids are still being bullied every day for being gay, lesbian, bisexual and transgender. LGBTQ make up 20-40% of the population of all homeless youth, yet only 3% to 5% of the general youth population in this country. The suicide rates among LGBTQ kids are higher than any other group. According to recent gay bullying statistics, gay and lesbian teens are two to three times as more likely to commit teen suicide than other youths. It’s maddening, and it’s our responsibility as parents, teachers, humans and members of a civil society to stop it.

KCG: What age group are you targeting for this song?

CJ: Every kid is different and we have to make huge generalizations to create a demographic. We’re hoping the song connects on a pop level, catchy with lyrics and audio. I think Karen’s has a universal hook, relatable to so many people while quite potent. My lyrics, due to the nature and speed of rap delivery, are much more specific and should prompt more investigation. My idea with connecting with children when you have so many lyrics in one song is to plant thought seeds. I think all these concepts we bring up are important for all children to think about and for adults to help them come to terms with it all. Children have to deal with many of these issues in their lives so connecting these ideas of light and love to a history of popular struggle, that’s something only the wise (ahem, adults?) can instill. Hopefully the song can act as a kindie catalyst for genius-activist-kids who will keep our planet self-sufficient indefinitely for generations and generations through green technology and intellectualized pacifism.

KCG: Do you have suggestions for how parents can talk to their kids about the messages in this song?

CJ: In general, breaking down lyrics line by line makes for an enriching listening experience later on. A song can be emotional and cerebral all at once. Some of the best songs grow in the cabeza and the corazón with each listen. Even picking one part of a song can lead you down to a sweet tangent of learning lessons. Hopefully, the song can act as a jumping off point for discussions about gender, different lifestyles, cultures, and a general investigation of people– what makes us all different and awesome.

K: Like every parent, I struggle every day with knowing the right thing to say on many subjects ranging from the mundane (“Why You Can’t Eat Ice Cream for the 403rd Time Today”) to bigger issues like this. And I would certainly not presume to tell parents how to parent, as I’m sure I would screw it up for them as frequently as I have with my own kid.

But I wonder…What if we all started talking directly and openly and honestly about this issue with our children? In age-appropriate ways, what if we talked with them about what it means to be gay? Lesbian? Transgender? Actually using the words, naming it. Educating ourselves, and taking the mystery out of the vocabulary so that when our kids hear those words used as weapons later, they will know better. And they will do better. What if we flat out told our kids that not allowing two people who love each other to get married is in violation of the civil rights we have the privilege of enjoying in this country – and therefore unacceptable? What if we showed them by example by going to the polls and voting in favor of such civil rights as often as possible, or wrote a letter to our Congressmen and women in support of marriage equality? What if we wrote that letter with our kids? What if we told our children that no matter what God we believe in – and we do believe in different Gods in this country and in this world – that no real God would support hatred and bigotry? What if? I do wonder.

On a more tactical note, I came across a great reference the other day after a good discussion with a friend about this issue. It’s an article called What Does Gay Mean: How to Talk to Your Kids about Sexual Orientation and Prejudice by Lynn Ponton, MD. It was published by the National Mental Health Association, and it offers some great guidance and even language for talking with our children – from preschoolers , to school-aged kids, to teenagers – about this. Dr. Ponton offers some great advice – some I plan to follow myself, while I continue asking the tough questions.

Video: “Everything’s Free at the Library” & “Bossy E” – Mister G

a3558386501_10

Mister G is coming out with a new album on June 24 called The Bossy E. The album is literacy themed which is great for keeping up the momentum of learning during the “off-season.” Below are two videos from The Bossy E that will definitely get you hyped up for its release.

“Everything’s Free at the Library” is a funky song featuring Mister G’s smooth vocals and the talented Massamba Diop on the tama (“talking drum”). While I appreciate the song’s message, getting to watch these two play it live is fantastic. This video perfectly matches the spirit of Mister G’s music and live performances. You can’t help but be pulled in by the energy of it all. Plus, Massamba is such a master on that drum. Mesmerizing!

 

“The Bossy E” – I never noticed just how bossy this letter can be but the animation in this video sets the record straight. It’s also an interesting coincidence that this song just so happens to be the title track of the album. I’m not pointin’ fingers, but I’d be willing to bet that that mad E made a deal Mister G couldn’t refuse.

Interview with Django Jones’ Doris Muramatsu

DJ-Popcorn-1-cropped-1024x559

Django Jones is new to the kindie-sphere but not new in the larger world of indie music. Doris Muramatsu, JJ Jones and Nate Borofsky are former members of the band, Girlyman. While Girlyman has disbanded, these three musketeers have turned their sights toward making kids music that rocks. One of the most astounding (and outstanding) things about Django Jones is their ability to harmonize. Whether they are combining melodies or singing in counterpoint, the harmonies they deliver broaden their sound beautifully, resulting in an enormous amount of control and depth.

The idea of singing in counterpoint intrigued me because of the way it combines two or more different melodies while still allowing the song to sound whole. On their recent children’s music debut, D is for Django, the trio demonstrates this technique in their song, “Counterpoint.”

In the interview below, Doris Muramatsu talks about how Simon and Garfunkel helped her practice singing in harmony, the process that lead to the creation of the song “Counterpoint,” and how this style of singing encourages us to support and celebrate one another.

Kids Can Groove: Was your creative process different in terms of your approach to writing music for families?

Doris Muramatsu: I think there was a lot more spontaneity involved in writing music for D is for Django, primarily because there wasn’t as much self-consciousness involved. That’s the beauty of kids; They don’t judge, they don’t critique. They just gravitate toward love and joy. So we knew that as long as *we* had fun, [kids] would sense that. I think for me, personally, this was a good lesson!

KCG: I love the harmony that many of your songs have. It adds so much depth! Three-part harmonies seem to be at the essence of your sound. Was that something that evolved over time or something that just came naturally to you?

DM: Harmony was something I always gravitated towards as a child. When I was 12 or 13, I started actively singing and learning it with my best friend (Ty from Girlyman). We would learn Simon and Garfunkel songs and practice singing harmony together. There’s something magical that happens when you sing in harmony. It definitely feels spiritual to me and like you’re tapping into something greater. Im so grateful to have found people I can sing with and whose voices blend so well with mine. While it takes a lot of practice, it was something I liked to do so much that it felt natural.

KCG: How do you feel harmonic layers add to/contribute to a song?

DM: I think harmony can be used in a myriad of ways in a song. You can have one person singing a verse and then add harmony in a chorus and BOOM! Instant buildup! I think non-traditional harmonies add aural interest and make you kind of go, “Hey, what is going on there?” There’s nothing I love more than taking harmonies apart and figuring out what each person is saying. I also think lyrically, harmony can do so much. Depending on the song, for example, say you have a line that is wistful or thought-provoking. Well, you can choose harmonies that contain notes that emphasize that longing, creating even more of a feeling than just the lyrics alone. It’s just another way of bringing a song to life.

KCG: Counterpoint” addresses a specific type harmonic sound that is not typically heard in children’s music. What was the motivation behind writing a song like “Counterpoint?”

DM: I think Nate and I were wrapping up a session and started talking about how cool it would be if we could write a song demonstrating what counterpoint is in music. We were like “Yeah, so we could each sing a different part but show how those two parts fit together,” and immediately started singing lines and melodies off the top of our heads. [Nate] came up with his part and played the piano, and then I listened to the chords and made up my own melody with a different rhythm. Then we realized we could get JJ involved, too, so Nate listened to our parts together and was able to compose parts for JJ that covered your basic three-part harmony chords. The whole thing was very spontaneous and extremely inspired and fun.

KCG: What do you feel kids/adults/families can learn through techniques like counterpoint? I particularly love how the lyrics seems to encourage that while we might be singing different songs we can still work together. It seems like the lyrics can also be interpreted for how we treat each other or regard each other in friendships/relationships.

DM: That’s the great thing about harmony, it brings people together literally and figuratively. Yes, you can be singing two or three or even four different things, but you can each shine while singing your own part and make something bigger than the sum of each part! On a personal level, you can let each other be unique individuals and feel the beauty of your interactions and *support* that instead of putting it down and trying to get each other to conform. So much of our society is about conforming and there is so much individuality to be celebrated!

KCG: Do you have suggestions for how families can find ways to sing in harmony?

DM: I find the best way to sing harmony is to just do it. Get in the car, listen to a song where you can easily distinguish people’s parts, and assign those parts to your family members. At first, their only job is to stick with their part, and really concentrate on holding it steady. After several runs, then you can do it on automatic pilot, sit back and even begin to listen to the other parts going on around you! There is nothing like it.

Check this Out: D is for Django – Django Jones

d-is-for-django-cover-300x272

The saying goes “A dog is a man’s best friend.” However, in Django Jones’ case, a dog is a band’s best friend.

Django Jones is made up of Doris Muramatsu, JJ Jones and Nate Borofsky from the former indie folk-pop band, Girylman. The Atlanta-based trio, well known for their tight harmonies, insightful songwriting and playful sense of humor, recently released their children’s music debut, D is for Django. The primary inspiration and muse for the album is Muramatsu’s dog, Django, who is also the subject of several songs on the album.

By making Django the subject of many songs (he even has a voice!) provides a focus and allows the band to express their emotions more freely. Many of the songs carry positive messages filled with comfort, love and reassurance which is no doubt responsible for the album’s warmth. Whether it’s Django saying “I love you” to each member of the band (with the each member echoing the sentiment back), a lullaby called “Love You Like I Do” or the trio complementing each other after a song, there is a social emotional aspect to this music that is a nice model for young ears.

“All That I See” opens the album showcasing Muramatsu’s gorgeous voice as it encourages conquering fears and realizing your full potential (and beauty): “..Fight cobwebs with style, and bask for awhile, in your inner beauty...” “Smallest Breed” encourages self-acceptance and self-confidence despite one’s size: “… I have the guts to stand up tall…” “All Along” addresses Django’s nightmare with heartfelt lyrics “Don’t cry baby, there’s nothin’ wrong, when you wake up, I’ll still love you, I’ve been here all along.” 

The rest of the album offers a variety of songs ranging from the action-packed fun of “P-O-P” in honor of popcorn (video below) to educational songs about the importance of breakfast, the bones in our body and germs. The trio takes things down a notch towards the end of the album with lullabies.

D is for Django delivers solid three-part harmonies that fill the room with poised assurance. The vibrant collaborative energy between the band members and their furry muse holds up the solid foundation upon which the album was built. Listeners will find their hearts warmed by the group’s earnestness and humor, as well as the sentimentality behind it all. It’s easy to enjoy music when it feels like it’s being made by friends for friends.

Get to know the band at their official site where you can learn about the birth of Django Jones, preview songs from the album and, most importantly, order a copy for yourself.

 

Follow

Get every new post delivered to your Inbox.

Join 46 other followers

%d bloggers like this: