Experiencing how other cultures greet each other is one of the things I love most about learning a new language. In many ways, the greetings are similar—”Hello,” “How are you,” “What is your name,” “My name is”—but expressed with their own unique flavor. The richness of World Music gives us a vehicle through which we can better understand and connect with a community of people, which is why I am thrilled to present today’s video premiere, “Anta Gata Doko Sa” (“Where Are You From?”).
Elena Moon Park made her 2012 debut with the stunning Rabbit Days and Dumplings, an album that mixes traditional American folk music with traditional Asian sounds offering a diverse array of songs from East Asia (Korea, Japan, China, Tibet and Taiwan).
“Anta Gata Doko Sa” is a popular Japanese children’s song often sung while playing with a bouncing ball. Park’s video features beautifully animated oil painting (credit: Lauren Gregory) that fluidly glides along with the smooth Dub-infused rhythm of the song. The combination is fun to watch and learn from. Look for a charming little girl who bounces a ball with her shoulders and transforms into a ball herself.
For those in the New York area, Elena Moon Park will be performing in Symphony Space’s Just Kidding Series with Sonia De Los Santos on Nov. 5. I highly recommend this show as both of these artists are extremely memorable.
Check out Park’s video for “Sol Nal” which features Sonia De Los Santos.
Subscribe to Park’s YouTube channel to view additional live performances, and follow Park on Facebook to stay in touch.
The Kindie genre is thriving, and one of its strongest aspects is the community. There have been industry conferences, such as the now retired Kindiefest, the newborn (relatively, it’s more like a toddler now) Kindiecomm, and some artist meet-ups and showcases. There is no shortage of people working passionately to support and move this genre forward. Two of those people are Bill Childs (Spare the Rock, Spoil the Child) and Stephanie Mayers (Mayers Consulting).
Bill and Stephanie are producing Hootenanny: Back to Basics 2(“Hootenanny 2”), a one night event featuring nuthin’ but music from a solid set of collaborations covering a broad range of styles. So solid.
While Hootenanny 2 is primarily geared toward industry folks (kids’ musicians and (kids) music biz folks), it will be open to the public.
Rachel Loshak and Morgan Taylor (Gustafer Yellowgold)
Joanie Leeds and Dan Elliott (Pointed Man Band)
Vered Ronen and Walter Martin
Michael & the Rockness Monsters and Secret Agent 23 Skidoo
Jazzy Ash and KB Whirly
Ashley Albert and Tim Kubart
Danny Weinkauf and AudraRox
Sonia de los Santos and Brady Rymer
Shine (Shine and the Moonbeams) & Dan Zanes
The Deedle Deedle Dees and Moona Luna
Elena Moon Park and The Pop Ups
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.
[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.
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.
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.
Welcome to the first “Fresh Press” edition here on Kids Can Groove. It’s a brave new world for Chidren’s Music and I want to capture related and exciting news, in addition to my regular features, reviews, videos and interviews.
This Billboard feature was published during a particularly celebratory time for Latin Children’s musicians. In addition to it being Hispanic Heritage Month, 123 Andrès was recently awarded his first Latin Grammy Award nomination for ¡Uno, Dos, Tres, Andrés! en Español y en Inglésand Lucky Diaz and the Family Jam Band celebrate their second Latin Grammy Award nomination for Adelante!(they won their first Latin Grammy Award for Aqui, Alla).
Additional musicians covered are José-Luis Orozco and Sonia de Los Santos. Orozco, a prominent figure in this style of music has had a prolific career as a bilingual musician, composer and educator. Not only is he releasing bis sixteenth album, ¡Come Bien! Eat Right!, but it’s also his first release through Smithsonian Folkways! Joining Orozco on the list is Sonia de Los Santos, a singer-songwriter who has been an integral part of the Grammy Award winning group Dan Zanes and Friends. Sonia is working on her first solo family music album.
NOTE: Videos by Billboard’s featured artists can be found within the article. Below is Lucky Diaz and the Family Jam Band’s latest video for “Piñata Attack” (a live version can be found within the Billboard article as well).
Loog Guitars launches Loog Academy featuring guitar lessons with Tim Kubart of the Sprout Channel’s Sunny Side Side Up Show!
Also, Loog released a new Loog Electric Guitar series which features a Lucite model for hip young rockstars. Additional electric guitars come in a variety colors including pink, blue, yellow, white, green, red, black, and natural. Loog’s beautifully designed 3-string guitars make it easier for kids to make music and still allows them play chords in any song. It’s a less intimidating and quicker approach to the fun of making music. The Loog Guitar comes unassembled as a kit for children and parents to build together, creating an instant emotional bond between musician and their instrument- also a great fit for the current DIY/maker trend. The finished result is a fully functional, beautiful looking and sounding guitar. The holidays are just around the corner (already!) and giving the gift of music, with long-lasting, quality equipment is priceless. Especially when little rockers want to smash their guitar after an awesome living room performance.
Also, check out Tim and the Space Cadet’s new video for “Breakfast Club (feat. Carly Ciarocchi) from Kubart’s recently released album for families, Home.
The Pop Ups release their third album, Great Pretenders Club, exclusively online through Amazon Music with Lisa Loeb to follow. The release of The Pop Ups’ third album marks a major milestone as this is the first kids’ album Amazon’s Editors chose to exclusively release to Amazon Prime members. Anyone visiting Amazon can purchase the album, but Prime members get the extra special privilege of downloading the album for free. The Pop Ups will be releasing videos for each song on the album through Amazon Music’s YouTube channel so make sure to subscribe. You can also catch up with The Pop Ups through to their newsletter, follow along in Twitter and/or Facebook to stay up to date on releases.
In the meantime, enjoy the first video from Great Pretenders Clu, “Bird and Rhino.”
The main Rhapsody app is a subscription-based model which means access to music is available for a set monthly price. Rhapsody is offering a special subscription rate bundle with Rhapsody KIDS for $1/month for 3 months and then the pricing goes up to $9.99/month.
Below are some of the highlights that Rhapsody KIDS offers.
Create-your-own: Parents can select songs from the main Rhapsody app and add them to a playlist in the KIDS section.
Featured editor curated songs and playlists.
Offline Access – Save your data plan! Anything that’s bookmarked for kids automatically downloads for offline listening.
Repetition is key – Songs and playlists in Rhapsody KIDS automatically loop so you’re kids can hear their favorites til the cows come home.
Keep it separate – The KIDS section is designed to fool the young’uns from getting back into the main Rhapsody catalog and revamping your playlists or cranking out some jams to a song you wouldn’t even want to play in public. Rhapsody requires users who want to return to the main app to swipe the screen in a specific direction.
For more info on the artists mentioned in this edition of “Fresh Press” click on the accompanying links in this post.
Stay tuned here for more “Fresh Press!” I’ll be back with updates next week.