Fresh Press: 58th Grammy Awards Annual Children’s Concert 

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It’s that time of year again! A time filled with anticipation and excitement for the recording arts industry. As the 58th Annual Grammy® Awards get closer, so does the annual children’s Grammy nominees benefit concert. This event is always exciting as it brings a rare opportunity to see award-winning artists from around the U.S. perform under one roof. And it’s open to the public! For families looking for a special Valentine’s Day gift this is a sweet treat to indulge in for the little music lovers in your life (and for yourself, really).

This year’s list of Grammy® nominees for Best Children’s Album is unique because all five are independent artists representing a nice variety of styles including jazz, indie-pop, folk, and even bilingual Latin American. See below for more info on the artists, as well as a special Grammy playlist! Continue reading

Top 20 Albums & Honorable Mentions

Happy New Year! I’ve been tinkering for weeks about whether to put together a “best of” list. Lists have never been my thing, but this week when I pulled up past interviews, reviews and music, I was quickly reminded that 2015 was in fact another incredible year in kids’ music. So, let’s do this thing!

The list below represents a sampling of the 20 best albums from 2015 plus one from 2014 (because I included my picks for the Fids and Kamily Awards which considers albums between October 1, 2014 and September 30, 2015) and a few honorable mentions. The albums are presented in no particular order, and are personal favorites of mine and those of my 7-year-old daughter Emily. They appeal to families who love music, the adventure of finding more of it, and parents who want to foster a love of music in their own kin. This, for me, is the big enchilada. It’s what I enjoy most about being a part of the industry and covering it for you.  Take 10 minutes and sample a few songs on each album. I promise you’ll find more than one to love, regardless of your age.


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Pointed Man BandFlight of the Blue Whale (Interview)

[Flight of the Blue Whale] is eccentric. There is a meticulousness in the overall composition that captured my attention, in addition to the variety of instrumentation. Waltzes serve as segues, buoyantly carrying the listener along, while nontraditional objects are used to emphasize critical pieces of the story, e.g. Drinking glasses sonically illustrating weightlessness as a baleen whale takes flight.

 


Animal-Tales-Cover_smKey Wilde & Mr. Clarke – Animal Tales (Review)

Imagine if you were to open a National Geographic Kids or Ranger Rick magazine and there was music playing on each page. Animal Tales takes the pages of these beloved magazines and brings them to life with soundtracks cleverly matched to a variety of animal personalities. Each song is rich with fun animal facts, infused with the artists’ lovable sense of humor and clever ability to play with words and phrases, making it one of the most listenable and entertaining albums out there.

 


51TlHTX-0hL._SL500_AA280_Big Block Singsong – Greatest Hits (Interview)

The musical variety of Big Block SingSong is tremendous and the lyrics are insightful and amusing, A block with a German accent singing in euro-funk style about hair; a monkey snapping off bluegrass-y lyrics about a “Two Banana Day”; and, with a catchy indie-pop backdrop, caveman named Dave pointing out that an erupting volcano is a hot mess. These are just a few of the priceless gems you’ll find in this collection.


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View This: “Another Good Year” and “Dinosaur” by Lori Henriques

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Lori Henriques and her brother, Joel Henriques of Made by Joel, put together an artful video for Lori’s new holiday track, “Another Good Year.” The video was filmed with Joel’s son and daughter drifting paper snowflakes around the screen. The slow movement of the snowflakes in combination with Lori’s bouncy piano and jazzy vocals creates a sense of joy and peace. And the DIY simplicity of this video will no doubt make you want to grab some scissors and start carving out a few snowflakes of your own. In anticipation of this crafty craving, Joel posted a how-to link on his blog which features easy snowflake making instructions for kids (and their grown-ups).

“Another Good Year” isn’t the first time that these two incredibly talented siblings have produced a masterpiece. Lori recently published a video, featuring live drawing by Joel, for her song “Dinosaur.” In this song, Lori’s voice has a certain tenderness that is simply heartwarming as she lovingly sings to the former free roaming reptile. “Dinosaur” is featured on Lori’s 2013 release, The World is a Curious Place, which is filled with curiosity and wonder. The album is available through Lori’s store, Amazon and iTunes.

You can learn more about the making of this video here, and grab templates to make your own Paper City Dinosaur set here

Bonus: Made by Joel provides instructions and templates on his website for a variety of art, craft and handmade education projects. The site is extremely user friendly with easy navigation that directs you to crafts broken down by age, as well as free printable activities. Music + art = happiness! Check it out!