View This: Cat Doorman Live – Oregon Public Broadcasting

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Photo courtesy of OPB

The radio sounds a serenade that’s carrying us on
Surely it is my song 
Surely it is yours 
Surely it was made just for us all at once and all at once
Surely it is my poem surely it is yours
Let the meter move us, turn us, take us up and ever make us new…
-Cat Doorman

Those lyrics are from the song “Turn Around” from Cat Doorman Songbook, the debut children’s album by Portland’s Julianna Bright (known as Cat Doorman in the kindie world).  Between the eloquence with which Julianna Bright sings and the lyrics themselves, the song gives me chills every time I hear it.

I am so pleased to present to you some videos of Julianna and her band performing songs off of Cat Doorman Songbook, which just received a Parents’ Choice Silver Honor Award.  “Turn Around,” “Madame Claire” and “Whistling Song” are performed live from her living room and sound just as eloquent as they do on the record while Julianna delivers them ever so gracefully.  Her band does a stellar job accompanying her as well.

The videos were shot by Oregon Public Broadcasting as a feature in their Arts & Life section.

If you have not yet taken a listen to the The Cat Doorman Songbook, I highly recommend it.  The sounds and complexities of the songs provide an opportunity for children to connect with music on a deeper level with themes that relate to the earth, self-acceptence and love.  For more information, check out my review of the album, as well as view another video for “Inspiration,” a haunting track inspired by the birth of Julianna’s daughter.

Enjoy the videos below!

Turn Around by Cat Doorman from Cat Doorman on Vimeo.

Whistling Song by Cat Doorman from Cat Doorman on Vimeo.

Madame Claire by Cat Doorman from Cat Doorman on Vimeo.

View This: “Let’s Skateboard” – The Not-Its

kidQuakeCoverSeattle kindie rockers, The Not-Its, are back with another video from KidQuake!, the band’s 4th studio release to date.

“Let’s Skateboard” features the ridiculously stylish band members rockin’ out at a skatepark in the middle of a bowl while young skateboarders zoom and glide all around them.  Some of the kids even sport tutus while doing their tricks.  How cool is that?  I can’t help but get giddy when watching this video as I recall pasting my bedroom walls with Thrasher Magazine covers while growing up.  Ahem.

Further projecting the song’s energy, director/producer Stacy Jenkins (Lost Boot Media) does an excellent job of shooting at all the right angles, fantastically capturing the gravity defying motion of these fascinating kid rippers.  So, even if you aren’t up to date on the latest skateboarding lingo, “Let’s Skateboard” provides enough movement and energy that you will feel as though you are in on the scene.

Just plain fun!

Interested in hearing more from the Not-Its?  Grab a FREE DOWNLOAD of the song at:

http://thenot-its.bandcamp.com/releases

Click “Let’s Skateboard” … Click “Buy Now” … Enter $0

View This: “Subway Train” – The Pop Ups

1075475809-1Whenever a new video from The Pop Ups, um, pops up, it’s always brimming with humor and creativity.  Their videos, like their songs, are clever and have a way of luring me into pressing repeat/rewind several times over.

The Brooklyn duo’s latest video for the song “Subway Train” was debuted at the New York International Children’s Film Festival and is ah-mazing.  Wow!  The animation, done by Garret Davis (who did “Box of Crayons”), is an art form in and of itself and a reminder of why music videos are such an integral part of our musical culture.  Frankly, it makes me want to scream “I Want My MTV!”

“Subway Train,” featured on The Pop Ups’ 2010 debut Outside Voices, is a zany underground journey on various subway trains with a bunch of animal riders. The song’s concept is really interesting in that it engages young listeners (5 and under) in a developmentally appropriate way while incorporating educational elements in a non-traditional way. Set to electronic beats, listeners can interact with the song by making animal sounds when prompted. For example, “Apes on the A train going ‘oo oo ah ah’,” Bees on the B train goin’ Bzzz Bzzz,’” etc. It’s a hip, condensed blend of “Old MacDonald Had a Farm” and “The Alphabet Song.”

As usual, The Pop Ups do not disappoint. “Subway Train” is definitely a trip.

Wanna hear the rest of the album, take a listen and consider buying it via the Bandcamp widget below:

Concert: Kids Can Groove Family Music Series presents Gustafer Yellowgold

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A unique, extraterrestrial event will soon take place in Downtown Palo Alto. Gustafer Yellowgold, a small, yellow, cone-headed fellow, who came to Earth from the Sun, will be making an appearance at the All Saints Episcopal Church (555 Waverely Street) on March 9, 2013 at 4pm.

Accompanying Gustafer will be Morgan Taylor, the genius behind the concept and illustrations of this radiant little alien and his friends. Taylor will be singing along with projected, animated illustrations of Gustafer’s adventures on our planet.  And you can too, because all of Taylor’s videos contain subtitles for the lyrics.

So bring the whole family along to witness this unique, multimedia experience.  It will be out of this world!

Purchase tickets online or at the door. Adults $10, Kids $6 (3 and up).

Take a peek at the live show demo below for a preview of  the fun that’s in store for you and your family.

View This: “Lover Not A Fighter” – Mista Cookie Jar and The Chocolate Chips

61VIMF3spvL._SL500_AA280_Happy Valentine’s Day! Thinking about how to show/feel the love today? Why not whoop it up with a new video by Mista Cookie Jar and the Chocolate Chips? “Lover Not A Fighter,” a hip track from Mista Cookie Jar’s Ultramagnetic Universal Love Revolution, honors the purity of old school funk and soul while blending in some new school kid hop by Miss Ava Flava.

Set to the backdrop of the infamous Soul Train Line, the fashionable MCJ and Miss Flava get their groove on while delivering a message about being a leader and setting an example for others:

Sometimes u gotta fight for peace,
but when ur strong u just love and lead.
So all u boys and girls go show this world
just how the good life’s meant to be.

The video for “Lover Not A Fighter” is filled with fun. Much like videos previously released by MCJ and The Chocolate Chips, it’s infectious and invokes spontaneous wiggling and shaking. Anything by this crew brings a smile to my face.

Plus, watching the amazing Soul Train dancers in the background is priceless and symbolic of pure happiness and love.

So, go on, make your own dance line, turn up your speakers and make this Valentine’s Day the “hippest trip” your family has ever seen.

Valentine’s Day special: FREE Download of “Lover Not A Fighter” all day on February 14, 2013 via the the Bandcamp widget below.

View These: “I Found You” & “Too Dirty To Love” – Caspar Babypants

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Caspar Babypants has a new record out called I Found You, which also happens to be Caspar’s sixth release in just 3 years.  Much like the other Caspar Babypants albums, this one does not disappoint.

Below are two new videos from the album which will surely whet your appetite for more.  And, it just so happens that tracks from I Found You can be sampled and purchased from Caspar Babypants’ official site.

The first video is for the title track, “I Found You,” and features lots of funny little creatures.  Each piece is unique with lots of character, much like the song itself.

[“I Found You” – Caspar Babypants via YouTube]

The second video is for one of my favorite songs on the album. “Too Dirty to Love” features animation by Charlotte Blacker (Stompy the Bear) and additional vocals by Rachel Flotard.  As the parent of a little girl who happens to love the mud just as much as it loves her, I can proudly say that this video hits home!

“Too Dirty To Love” – Caspar Babypants via YouTube]

View This: “One Fat Frog” – Key Wilde & Mr. Clarke

bppig-kwmc31A new video from Key Wilde & Mr. Clarke with a fun twist on counting.  All of the elements that make this dynamic duo so interesting are once again featured in this video: colorful graphics and animation, clever rhyming and a great sense of humor.  There is even a trip to France complete with a French accent as 8 red ants “dance ze night away” on the Champs-Élysées.

Although the title of the video is called “One Fat Frog,”  those familiar with the duo’s existing work will recognize the song as “Counting One To Ten”  from their 2010 release, Rise and Shine (an excellent and highly recommended piece of work).  Listeners not previously acquainted with their work, well, you’re in for a treat.

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Want to hear more?  The 11 Rise and Shine tracks are available for purchase (CD comes packaged with a board book) from Little Monster Records.  The album is also available for purchase or download from Amazon.com and iTunes.

You can also view a video for the single, “Animal Alphabet,” here.

[Courtesy of Key Wilde & Mr. Clarke via YouTube]

View This: “A Shadow” – Gustafer Yellowgold

yhst-17367492320889_2244_50817444February is here and tomorrow is Groundhog Day. Although there is speculation about the validity of the predictions made by Punxsutawney Phil, aka the “the seer of all seers,” “the prognosticator of all prognosticators” or, simply, “the weather prognosticating groundhog,” tradition is tradition and tomorrow a large crowd will gather around the furry brown fellow eager to hear what their meteorological fate will be. Will we have six more weeks of winter or will we be blessed with an early spring? Who knows!

Either way, I encourage you to take a look at “A Shadow,” from Gustafer Yellowgold’s Year In the Day. “A Shadow” is a sweet little tune, not only honoring this historic day, but also offering a different perspective on shadows in general. Combined with colorful illustrations (as usual) and soft, ethereal vocals, “A Shadow” will bring a smile to your face, regardless of what the morning’s predictions might indicate.

Gustafer’s Year In The Day is available at Gustafer’s official site.

“A Shadow” [Courtesy of YouTube]

Please note that the video will only be available for the month of February. A Year In The Day is a collection of songs that represent something significant about each month of the year. And, in some cases, more than one day may be represented, as is the case with February. So, stay tuned for more Gustafer videos coming up, particularly one that involves pancakes.

View This: “Busy” – The Not-Its

kidQuakeCoverSeattle band, The Not-Its, just released a video for “Busy,” a track from their upcoming album, Kidquake!, available February 5th, 2013.

“Busy” is a rockin’ Ska jam that moves just as fast as life with kids might feel sometimes. There’s some fantastic energy here and the video includes some awesome effects, particularly when the lyrics “we need to just slow down” come up. It’s a mantra I should probably say to myself more often!

It’s a great song, by a great band, with a great message.

55th Grammy Nominees for “Best Children’s Album”

The 55th annual Grammy Awards are coming up and the representatives for “Best Children’s Album” are mighty fine indicators of just how much the Children’s Music genre has to offer. Below you will find a list of albums and other goodies from this year’s nominees.

So, take a listen and although you may not be able to vote per se, you can show your support by perhaps purchasing one or two (or more!) of your favorites.

radio jungle cover 12cmykThe Pop Ups – Radio Jungle

The second album from Brooklyn-based duo, The Pop Ups, Radio Jungle brings listeners on a musical adventure filled with dance beats, creative lyrics and educational topics. Listeners will explore constellations, a world created with a box of crayons, counting and even some puppets! The Pop Ups once again infuse their sense of humor and musical talent into a fun set of songs. So take a journey through the wilderness and listen to Radio Jungle through the SoundCloud widget below, along with a video for their wildly popular single, “Box of Crayons.” Radio Jungle is available for download and purchase through the BandCamp widget below, Amazon and iTunes.

“Box of Crayons” [Courtesy of YouTube]

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The Okee Dokee BrothersCan You Canoe?

Just as the subtext on the cover says, Can You Canoe? is “A Mississippi River Adventure Album.” Justin Lansing and Joe Mailander made their way down the Mississippi River in a canoe over the course of a month. During that time, they paddled their way from Minnesota to St. Louis, writing songs inspired by the beauty of the natural world around them. With songs about camaraderie, bullfrogs, mosquitos and camping under a blanket of stars, Can You Canoe perfectly illustrates the brothers’ journey down the river. In fact, it could very well prepare you for your own river odyssey, should you be so bold. You can learn more about the Okee Dokee Brothers at their official site, where you can also purchase a CD/DVD combo, which includes the 15-track album and a documentary of the making of the album. Below are a couple of videos, a trailer from the DVD and a widget containing a few audio samples from Can You Canoe?

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Bill HarleyHigh Dive

Bill Harley is a master storyteller and certainly no stranger to Grammy nominations, being a two-time Grammy award winner in his own right. And now he’s back with High Dive, a hilarious collection of stories and songs about childhood. Listeners will find Harley emotive, engaging and suspenseful as he spins tales about a maniacal goat, a field trip gone awry, and finding out that perhaps mom is actually right, sometimes. Especially relevant to this time of year is a Valentine’s Day story with inadvertently “monstrous” consequences. High Dive is a hoot that will capture the attention of both kids and adults alike. You can listen to samples and purchase the entire album at Harley’s official site.

JumpinJazz-Kids-CD-Front-CoverJumpin Jazz KidsA Swinging Jungle Tale

A Swinging Jungle Tale is a mix of stories and songs about the adventures of a girl named Claire and her stuffed animal friends. What is impressive about this album is the amount of work the creators put in to make it as interactive as possible. The story aims to incorporate listeners by encouraging them to use their imagination along with Claire, as she travels through the jungle (which also happens to be her Grandfather’s backyard) and meets imaginary friends. The album’s cover art is bright and colorful, while the soundtrack was inspired by world-renowned jazz artists, including the legendary Ella Fitzgerald and improvisational master, Thelonious Monk, to name a few. You can read more about Claire and the making of A Swinging Jungle Tale at the Jumpin Jazz Kids official site.

You can listen to A Swinging Jungle Tale through the widget below. The album and its accompanying storybook are available for purchase through the Jumpin Jazz Kids store, as well as, CDBaby.

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Elizabeth MitchellLittle Seed: Songs for Children by Woody Guthrie

Mitchell brings color and life to her re-imagined versions of Woody Guthrie’s earlier recordings. The songs covered on “Little Seed” stem from two of Woody Guthrie’s children’s albums, recorded in 1947, called “Songs to Grow on for Mother and Child” and “Nursery Days.” Like Guthrie, Mitchell is a folk frontrunner and icon in her own right, being the first female children’s artist signed to the Smithsonian Folkways label and certainly one of the most beloved. On Little Seed, Mitchell very easily glides through some complex tongue-twisting lyrics, which happen to remind me of a few Dr. Seuss books, making it even easier to follow along than some of the originals. Mitchell’s voice, as usual, is soothing and clear like a serene lake and refreshing like a cold glass of water on a hot day. You can read my full review of the album here. You can learn more about Little Seed at Mitchell’s official site and view a couple of videos from the album below. Little Seed is available for purchase through Mitchell’s online store, Amazon (CD or MP3) and iTunes.

“Sleep Eye” [Courtesy of YouTube]

“Grassy Grass Grass” [Courtesy of YouTube]