What do you get when you mix a popular San Francisco Bay Area-based children’s singer/songwriter and performer, a farm, some puppets and a couple of apes? If you guessed the world premiere video for “Turkey in the Straw,” a single from Andy Z’s latest album, Classic Songs & Traditional Tunes, then you guessed right! Though if you guessed a new spinoff of Planet of the Apes you could be close.
Filmed on location at the lovely Ardenwood Historic Farm, in Fremont, CA, Andy Z (with a special appearance by the Andyland Band) presents one of the most popular singles from the album. As someone who has had the pleasure of working with and getting to know Andy, I am pleased to present this video as it so accurately represents the reason why Andy has been greatly successful as a children’s musician and entertainer. HIs charisma and playful sense of humor regularly brings delight into the musical experiences he creates for families. Those familiar with Andy Z’s live show and existing catalog of music videos will recognize a celebrity puppet friend, i.e. Rasta Froggy, who graciously donned a wedding veil for his role.
Andy explains, “I used a little artistic license when I cast the Mr Bullfrog and Miss Toad puppets (as per the lyrics). I pictured them being newlywed, and dressed them up in bride and groom wear. The Miss Toad puppet is actually my character puppet Rasta Froggy, so I had to cover his head completely with the wedding veil, but the dread locks ended up working well as long flowing hair.”
Eager to present the most authentic renditions, Andy spent hours researching the original verses of the songs featured on Classic Songs and Traditional Tunes, With “Turkey in the Straw” in particular, Andy found that there weren’t many music videos featuring all of the song’s verses and words, and thus the idea to create his own was born. Add in a little jocularity mixed with an ode to Sci-Fi and you’ve got the right formula for today’s premiere!
In the children’s music genre there are folk songs a plenty, and with good reason. Their repetitive choruses encourage language development, and build a foundation for rhythm and rhyme. Many of them offer opportunities for movement, as well. I know I’m not the only one who has galloped around the room while singing “She’ll Be Coming ‘Round the Mountain!”
Releasing an album full of traditional folk and classic children’s songs may not be out of the ordinary, however, as much as I have heard “This Land Is Your Land,” “Your Are My Sunshine,” and “I’ve Been Working on the Railroad,” I always appreciate when artists put an original spin on them, essentially creating something that feels new. That’s the difference for me every time.
Andy Z‘s sixth studio album, Classic Songs and Traditional Tunes, does just that. While planning for the release of this album, the Bay Area-based musician spent time researching the origins of popular folk songs in an effort to present them in their original lyrical form. Andy preserves the authentic sounds of the genre through carefully curated orchestral arrangements and infuses them with his signature charm and positive energy.
Families will enjoy singing along with “Take Me Out to the Ball Game,” a seasonal classic, revisiting the wild west with “Ghost Riders in the Sky,” and harmonizing to “Happy Trails,” which features a sweet duet with Karla Kane from The Corner Laughers. Younger listeners (pre-school to lower elementary ages) will smile as they “Shake a Friend’s Hand,” “Shake Their Sillies Out,” and do “The Hokey Pokey.”
Em and I listened to the album together, and as she heard “This Land is Your Land” followed by “Shake a Friend’s Hand,” she proudly sang along excited by the fact that she knew all of the words. As I listened to her, I recalled how we sang together during her toddler years. It was surprisingly nostalgic.
Classic Songs and Traditional Tunes is an enjoyable collection of time-honored tracks that will appeal to children and adults of all ages. Sometimes reinventing the wheel can fall flat, but taking that same wheel and giving it a fresh coat of paint can be a wonderful thing.
There are some spectacular family events happening throughout the Bay Area this weekend. I wish I could attend them all!
If you are in the Bay Area, rest assured that there is no shortage of movement, energy and creativity. So polish up those dancing shoes and consider your weekend planned!
1) Tricycle Music Fest! Coined as the Bay Area’s biggest little music fest on the west. Taking place every weekend in September, October and early November, the 5th annual Tricycle Music Fest will peddle its way through 28 libraries for a total of 29 FREE concerts featuring 9 award-winning performers (full schedule here). Think indie music– family style– and libraries and you have the essence of Tricycle Music Fest. Last week was a huge success with Seattle kid rockers, The Not-Its!. This weekend features San Francisco, indie pop darlings, The Corner Laughers.
What better way to capture the delight of a Bay Area music festival than with a band that sings about their passion for living in San Francisco. With lyrics like, “My heart’s in San Francisco/ The city by the bay,” San Fran’s, The Corner Laughers, bring sweet, dreamy vocals with a bit of a sparkle and a jangle. There’s a hint of Karen Carpenter in there, too. Noone puts baby in the corner with this group! In fact, get ready for baby to be up there dancing and laughing right along with the rest of the crowd.
Saturday, September 14 at 11 am, Parkside Branch Library
Saturday, September 14 at 2 pm, Portola Valley Library
Charity and the Jam Band will be playing the first-ever Saturday in the Park McLaren Festival (performing in the Jerry Garcia Amphitheater) produced by Friends of the AMP. Join them for a free 2-hour rock n’roll show in this beautiful and under-appreciated SF park. Bring a picnic and get ready to be a part of the show as Charity and her lead their audience through each song filled with movements and lots of energy.
3) Yerba Buena Family Day – Downtown San Francisco’s biggest free family block party is back for its sixth year! Yerba Buena Family Day is a non-stop day of free indoor/outdoor family fun with free admission to local museums (SF Moma, Contemporary Jewish Museum, MOAD – Museum of the African Diaspora, Children’s Creativity Museum and the Yerba Buena Gardens Festival). These events are open for all ages and will have hands-on art making activities for kids. Visitors get in FREE to participating institutions.
Alphabet Rockers will be bringing a high energy, movement intensive show filled with lots of dancing set to hip hop beats. Join them as they’ll have a very special show featuring Kaitlin + Tommy, DJ Wonway Posibul, and worldclass breakdancers Shinobi Jaxx (Mix’d Ingrdnts) and Brandon “Knowbody”. Dust off your old school dance moves and get ready to groove!
Story Pirates is a nationally respected education and media organization founded in 2003. They are made up of teachers, actors and comedians who perform skits based on stories written by children. Their shows are filled with music and improv. There may even be some solicitations from the audience.
If you don’t get a chance to catch the awesome Corner Laughers on Saturday, you can find a couple of them playing along with Alison Faith Levy at the Contemporary Jewish Museum on Sunday. Alison and her band will be performing 3 shows between 11am – 4p (more details here) accompanied by beautiful visual projections from the animated World of Wonder video by filmmaker Danny Plotnick.
Redwood City is proud to offer a new music series this year especially for kids!
The HipwadersSeptember 15, 2013 | 11:00 am – 1:00 pm with Andy Z emceeing and opening with a few tunes of his own!
Join Andy Z and The Hipwaders as they close out Redwood City’s first Kids Rock Series. Andy Z is a children’s performer and singer/songwriter who combines music, movement, storytelling and character puppets to create an experience that keeps kids engaged and adults entertained. His songs and albums have won national awardsand his performances earned rave reviews from educators, librarians, public figures, parents, and children alike.
The Hipwaders – The Hipwaders know how to bring a fun show filled with original tunes. As the SF Bay Times noted, “In the same spirit of completely wonderful, whimsical and musically gifted treats for the young set is the Bay Area-based Hipwaders, pulling off some brilliantly fun and surprisingly hip songs extolling touchstones of childlike glee including art cars and dinosaurs.” The Hipwaders are a highly versatile group who also delight their audience with familiar tunes including the Sesame Street theme song and the Scooby Doo theme song. They come equipped with bubbles and inflatable guitars and microphones for your little rockstar.