Mother’s Day Premiere: “Mama” – Mista Cookie Jar

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Artwork by Lucas!

“Mama, thank you for bringing me into this world.”

Today I am proud to premiere the 8th single in Mista Cookie Jar’s song-a-month series. Appropriately titled, “Mama,” is his most personal so far. An homage to his mother and his Filipino heritage, MCJ opens up about his parents’ journey to the states and where he grew up. 

She went with Papa
to the land they call America.

Now here I am,
quite the character!
Off the boat, they landed.

Where? It’s kinda random.
I was born in Georgia,
grew up in Alabama.
A country boy

with devotion to his family.
That’s filipino values

and some southern hospitality.

This new track is upbeat with a nice swing to it. MCJ describes it as “Multi-culti hodgepodgeyness with a little reggae.

I love the part where MCJ gratefully sings out ”Thank you for bringing me into this world,” a phrase his mother taught him. “My mom said that to her mom on her birthday and mother’s day. And now I say that to my mom on my birthday and Mother’s Day.” Such an endearing sentiment and reminder to give a big ole shout to all the special mama’s in your life!

Stream today’s premiere below and click through to purchase.

Music Review and Free Mother’s Day Download: Hello My Baby – Vered

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Today’s music review is for a special album that will resonate with new parents, new-ish parents, and grandparents. In honor of Mother’s Day, you will find a free download at the end of this post so read on!

The first time I celebrated Mother’s Day was when I was pregnant. It felt so strange to suddenly be included in this Hallmark holiday without actually having a baby yet. At the same time, I knew it marked a major milestone. I just didn’t know how major. After having my daughter, I remember thinking “Now what?!” Suddenly, I was responsible for this new life, so fragile and dependent, and I felt completely unprepared. I had so many questions! Being around other moms kept me together and sane.  Looking back, I wish I had Vered Benhorin’s new album, Hello My Baby.

Hello My Baby reaches out with a loving hand to remind all of us, babies included, that it’s all ok. Through warm, soothing vocals, Vered relates to her audience like a best friend who understands and will support you. Her songs remind me of how lucky I am to be a mom. Hello My Baby delves into the most complicated aspects of parenting in which we are constantly at odds with selflessness and selfishness; being a parent while still wanting to be nurtured ourselves. As I listen, I find myself laughing, crying and just taken by the reality of it all. 

The album opens with the title track “Hello My Baby,” which is more than just a greeting. In many ways, it’s the start of an experience that reflects the diverse and sometimes conflicted range of emotions that we have as parents. The second song, “Jump,” expresses the joy and and physical response our bodies have when we see that beautiful face, glowing eyes, and bright, toothless smile.  …“makes my insides go jump.”

Since her last record, Vered has spent time working with families and developing her company, Baby in Tune. With advanced degrees in both Music Therapy and Psychology, plus being a mom herself, Vered explains that “These songs are first and foremost based on my personal experience as a mom. But they are also informed by the time I spend listening to new parents who are looking for someone to relate to. I hope that these songs express how we all feel as parents and our connections to ourselves and our babies.”

In “Something other than a Mom,” Vered unmasks the naked, raw emotion of remembering who you were, who are you are now and how the two identities converge into one: “These days i forget to look into a mirror/ But if a glass catches me/ I see something other than a mom/ When I run my hands over my body/ I feel something strange/ It’s not like when i was something other than a mom/ It’s not to say that I don’t like being her/ But I’ve grown to know and love another/ So my baby/ Since you came/ I wonder if she’ll return.” This is something that goes through my mind all the time. Though I have been a mom for six years, and have mostly returned to my pre-baby form, I am still very aware that my body has changed, as has my identity. I know I can’t be the same girl I used to be, but as I listen to this song, I feel that I can be both the mom I am now and the girl I once was. 

Parenting is an adventure which presents many opportunities to learn, change and grow with your baby. Hello My Baby is a memorable album and one that I have not yet encountered in terms of its intent, depth and honesty for parents. This special collection of songs bridges the connection between parent to baby, encouraging a rich bonding experience. This album is a perfect companion to Vered’s debut, Good Morning My Love. I just wish I was handed these CDs instead of sitting through a birthing video from the 60’s in Lamaze class.

BONUS: I hope you enjoyed today’s music review! Hello My Baby is an exceptional album. In honor of Mother’s Day, Vered is offering Kids Can Groove readers a free download of her song “Changing.” Grab it here

Learn more about Vered’s work at the Baby in Tune official site.

For tips on using music to bond with your baby, check out Vered’s guest post here.

Playlist and Videos: Feliz Cinco de Mayo 2015

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This week is full of reasons to celebrate! I’ll be posting things throughout the week in honor of these days, but for today we’ll start with Cinco de Mayo.

Since My daughter started Kindergarten, I have met many families who are working on incorporating more bilingual music and entertainment into their children’s lives. The most common statement I hear is that there is very little selection out there. It’s during these times that I think about how lucky I am to know so many wonderful children’s artists who are making rich, educational and entertaining music for this reason. It would be remiss of me NOT to share some knowledge with them.

As I was listening back to today’s playlist, I kept thinking about how I could listen to these songs any day of the year. There is so much joy, beauty and thought put into these songs. They rock! Every single artist on this list has a unique way of presenting their work, and whether you speak the language or not, you will want to sing along. Though most of the titles below are in Spanish, many the songs themselves contain English and Spanish lyrics, blended seamlessly so that the English translation either immediately precedes or follows the Spanish translation.

As a bonus, I’ve included a new single by Lucky Diaz and the Family Jam Band, an awesome video by Nathalia and a sweet, whimsical video by ¡Uno, Dos, Tres con Andrés!.

It’s a whole musical fiesta up in here today and I encourage you to check everyone out. Clicking on the song names will take you to iTunes where you can sample and download them.

Piñata Attack – Lucky Diaz and the Family Jam Band [Single]
Nuestra Fiesta – ¡Uno, Dos, Tres con Andrés! [en Español y en inglés]
What Time Is It? – Moona Luna [Vamos, Let’s Go!]
Veo VeoMariana Iranzi [Hola Hello]
Una Concha En La MesaFuture Hits [Today is Forever / Hoy es para siempre]
RatonesMister G [ABC Fiesta]
El Cucuy (feat. Ruben Ramos)Lucky Diaz and the Family Jam Band [Aquí, Allá]
Arte Perdido – Future Hits [Today is Forever / Hoy es para siempre]
Kidz Rock (feat. Mista Cookie Jar) Twinkle Time [Single]
El Tren – Mariana Iranzi [Hola Hello]
La Pequeña Araña – Lucky Diaz and the Family Jam Band [Aquí, Allá]
Magical Nathalia [Dream A Little / Sueña un Poquito]
Frota Tu Panza – Mister G [ABC Fiesta]
Ave De Nylon – Future Hits [Today is Forever / Hoy es para siempre]
Tú Eres Mi Amor – Lucky Diaz and the Family Jam Band [Aquí, Allá]


For more bilingual children’s programming check out the following links:

Mariana Iranzi – Video: Los Pollitos
¡Uno, Dos, Tres con Andrés! – Videos: If I Was A Mariachi and La Clave + La Clave Tutorial
Mister G – Video: Everything’s Free at the Library and Bossy “E”
Twinkle Time – Video: Kidz Rock (fest. Mista Cookie Jar)
Lucky Diaz – ¡Fantastico! Album Review