A sweet little reggae song by New York based, Mariana Iranzi. Iranzi’s golden voice happily bounces along in this simple and interactive video for “Los Politos,” a song from her second album, Hola Hello. This is great for all families, especially those who are bi-lingual or are working on Spanish as a second language with their children (I’ve had a few families ask for recommendations).
You can’t prepare for life crises but when you are faced with one, keeping hope alive and maintaining your spirit can prove to be an arduous task. In July of 2012, Alastair Mock and his wife, acclaimed writer Jane Roper, were faced with the biggest challenge of their lives when they found out that one of their twin daughters had cancer. Clio, only 5 years old at the time, was diagnosed with acute lymphoblastic leukemia. “It felt like we were drowning,” says Moock. “For the first week or so, my wife and I walked around in a trance. Then, I went home and got my guitar.”
Out of that musical epiphany blossomed a beautiful songwriting partnership between father and daughter. Moock and Clio spent their first month in the hospital singing and writing songs together. “Singing together in the hospital was transformative, not just for Clio, but for me. It reminded me how powerful music can be,” says Moock. Watching Clio’s spirit come alive as they sang songs like the whimsical “I’m A Little Monkey,” was magical and the driving force that propelled Moock to create Singing Our Way Through: Songs for the World’s Bravest Kids, an inspiring album filled with joyful songs that could touch children and families in the same way.
Starting off the album is an acrostic style poem called “I Am The Light” using the word “cancer.” This empowering opener is spoken from the perspective of a “brave kid,” standing strong, able and ready to make the best of the long voyage ahead. Following this song-poem is the funky “When I Get Bald,” a song that embraces the beauty of the changes one faces with this sort of illness. The song’s accompanying video is touching yet light-hearted as it highlights Moock’s knack for artful humor.
Moock, a Massachusettes based children’s artist, is a veteran musician with a long-standing career as a folk singer. First, playing for adults and then moving into the children’s genre in 2010 when his children were born. With his signature gravelly voice, à la Louis Armstrong, Moock combines playful lyrics with rootsy melodies, reminiscent of Woody Guthrie.
Joining Moock on this recording are some amazing artists that add a hearty blend of sounds. Elizabeth Mitchell joins Moock in “Take a Little Walk with Me,” a soft folk song with a motivational message while The Okee Dokee Brothers bring on a hootenanny with a lively rendition of Woody Guthrie’s “Hard Travelin.'” Blues legend Chris Smither adds soulful vocals in “You’ve Got A Friend In Me” while patients, former patients and siblings, collectively named “The World’s Bravest Kids” join in on “This Little Light of Mine.” And, considering the family as a whole, are songs like “Have You Ever Been Jealous,” featuring Rani Arbo and “Children Take Care of Your Grown-Ups.”
Singing Our Way Through: Songs for the World’s Bravest Kids provides a well rounded account of what life is like “on the inside” of cancer, while also challenging the fear and pain that comes along with it through the healing powers of music. Built on the foundation of love for his daughter and the positive effects the entire process has had on her, Moock has created a vehicle through which he hopes can benefit children and their families in the same way. Singing Our Way Through: Songs For The World’s Bravest Kids is more than just a collection of songs. It’s a companion that seeks to uplift spirits, while providing support and understanding to those who might need a little sunshine through the clouds of any troubling circumstance. A truly powerful album that any family can benefit from.
Highly recommended for all ages.
Donations from the proceeds of this album will help Alastair perform and distribute free albums to patients, hospitals and oncology programs around the country. The Singing Our Way Through project is not — at least for now — a registered non-profit, so your donation is not tax-deductible. But it is much appreciated, and goes a long way to help. Click here to donate.
Although, Key Wilde & Mr. Clarke just released the adventurous Pleased to Meet You, I couldn’t wait to post this video once I read a portion of the bio from their site. From their 2010 release, Rise and Shine, “Rattling Can” deconstructs a bottle of juice right down to the quarks that make up its composition.
Usually I like to add my own commentary, but I think reading about the song, in KWMC’s own words, really sums up the energy of it all.
“They had seen it all before. An overzealous fan rushes the stage, grabs a microphone stand and begins rocking it back and forth in wild abandon. Mr. Clarke, no stranger to pain, continues to sing and play without missing a beat as the microphone smacks him repeatedly in the teeth. But the year is not 1983 and the setting is not a dark basement club on the Lower East Side. A new millennium has dawned and Key Wilde & Mr. Clarke are performing their first official kids concert at the Garden Preschool Cooperative in Jersey City. The enthusiastic fan was a five-year-old preschool graduate carried away by the energy and rhythm of the “Rattling Can”. The show was an unqualified success and Key Wilde & Mr. Clarke felt they had finally found their true audience.”
[Video courtesy of wildebor via YouTube]
It’s heating up here on the West Coast and we’ve been spending alot of time in the car searching for cooler places. As such, we have been racking up a list of some summer songs that take our minds to a better place and off the scorching introduction to summer.
Below is a Spotify playlist of just some of our favorites. It includes old and new tunes we hope you’ll enjoy.
KidQuake! – The Not-Its! from KidQuake!
The Ground – Underbirds from Underbirds
The Seven Cs – Recess Monkey from Deep Sea Diver
Sailing – Ratboy Jr. from Champions of the Universe
A Bailar – Lucky Diaz and the Family Jam Band from ¡fantastico!
Go! – Alphabet Rockers from Go!
Bikeride (Bonus Track) – Vered from Good Morning My Love
Lazy Raisins – Key Wilde and Mr. Clarke from Pleased To Meet You
Big Wheel – The Pop Ups from Outside Voices
Bully Bully – Shine and the Moonbeams from Shine Your Shine
Sunshine Through My Window – Play Date from Imagination
We Just Wanna Have Fun – Milkshake from Got a Minute?
The Way It Goes – Grenadilla from Can’t Wait
Yes, We Have Rhythm – Lunch Money from Silly Reflection
Little Cloud (feat. Rachel Loshak) – Joanie Leeds and the Nightlights from Bandwagon
I Go – Mariana Iranzi from Hola Hello
Beautiful Mess – Kindiependent from The Happy Birthday EP
Turn Around – Cat Doorman from Songbook
Rain – Paul Spring from Home of Song
The obsession and excitement with becoming a big kid is undeniable and quite a force to be reckoned with, especially in my daughter’s case. It just so happens that Em will be turning 5 in January and she has been planning her next birthday party since she turned 4. All that is left is the music which, in our family, is the icing on the cake. In the past, I have carefully curated party mixes that included all of our favorite songs. But, they always lacked an actual birthday themed song. Until now! This time, I am excited to incorporate Kindiependent‘s first album, The Happy Birthday EP, into the mix. This six song birthday-themed EP channels the energy of the Beatles’ “Birthday Song” and pours it into a series of rock solid birthday jams that are certain to bring the festivities to a whole new level.
Kindiependent is a collective of kindie giants from the Pacific Northwest (Recess Monkey, The Not-Its!, The Harmonica Pocket, Johnny Bregar, Caspar Babypants and The Board of Education). Members of the collective meet regularly to share ideas, collaborate and hone their already finely tuned skills through creative exercises, such as the one that produced The Happy Birthday EP.
Co-written by members of Recess Monkey, The Not-Its!, The Harmonica Pocket and Johnny Bregar, The Happy Birthday EP was recorded at Bregar’s Brickyard Studio. Earlier this year, the groups engaged in a creative exercise where they drew names out of a hat to determine songwriting teams. Over the course of two days, the teams cranked out some pumped up party tunes. And, in true birthday party fashion, there was pizza to help fuel the creative fires of these talented kindie folk.
The Happy Birthday EP is packed with party fun for everyone. Parents will get a kick out of “Beautiful Mess” as it captures the chaos of a full throttle kiddie bash. Kids will get excited to add another candle on their birthday cakes as Sarah Shannon sings about becoming a big kid in “Four Candles.” Although, some parents may get a little teary-eyed (ah-hem) with the nostalgic references to earlier days of baby and toddlerhood (“When I was a baby I was really small/ I couldn’t even walk and I could barely crawl/ Mushy peas and carrots cause I didn’t have teeth/ Little tiny socks on the tips of my feet/ I had none/ I had one/ Then had two/ Then there’s three/ I’ve got four candles on my cake I’m a big kid now”). “Don’t Forget About My Birthday” sympathizes with birthdays that occur on or near major holidays while “Cupcake Revolution,” “Birthday Wish” and “Rock and Roll Birthday” may just spawn a kiddie mosh pit with their energetic power pop/punk elements. These three are the ones you’ll want to tie in with the cake eating portion of the party for sure!
Whether you are celebrating your own child’s birthday, a friend’s birthday, a pet’s birthday or even an unbirthday, The Happy Birthday EP is the perfect soundtrack to make your party a big success. It would also make a great addition to a goodie bag (although, you might just ignite a rock n’ roll birthday revolution). Highly recommended for ages 3 – 8.