Today's post features kindie music. One current favorite album is Snacktime by the Barenaked Ladies. I have actually heard Alexi listening to this album when there is nary a child in sight. Here's a sample (you can click to play and listen while reading the rest of the post):
We also love, love, love Laurie Berkner. We love her Victor Vito and Under a Shady Tree albums the most. Amazon's editorial review sums up her style very well:
"Laurie Berkner's Victor Vito is a 22-song giggle-fest for the under-7 crowd. Witness "The Goldfish," one of 16 originals on the former educator's third album, in which a bunch of fishies find themselves lathering up in the shower and pedaling furiously on bicycles until it dawns on them that their species doesn't do that sort of thing. And there's the title tune, which finds Victor Vito and Freddie Vasco snacking on a burrito with Tabasco and then tipping the hot stuff on their rice and beans and rutabagas and collard greens before Victor dives into a plate of spaghetti with Freddie...."
I often sing her song Moon, Moon, Moon to the boys at bedtime:
I'm a big fan of folk music, so I really enjoy a couple of Pete Seeger's albums, particularly Songs for Kids and Just Plain Folks. Gather Round is a wonderful collection of songs by various artists, such as The Rainbow Connection (Sarah MCLachlan), Puff (Peter, Paul & Mary), Froggie Went A Courtin' (Bob Dylan), The Lion Sleeps Tonight (The Tokens), I'm My Own Grandpa (Willie Nelson), Free To Be You and Me (The New Seekers), and more.
Finally, Hap Palmer is great. As stated by the amazon editorial review, "Hap Palmer is a master of entertaining and teaching children with music. Can a Jumbo Jet Sing the Alphabet? overflows with fun songs that will have your child dancing along while he or she encounters themes such as vocabulary, shape recognition, problem solving, spatial awareness, numbers, and cultural diversity." Our favorite albums of his are Two Little Sounds and Can a Jumbo Jet Sing the Alphabet?
Now, on to the Seattle kindie rock scene. My friend and fellow blogger Sherri is a true children's music aficionado. She was kind enough to write on this topic at my request.
Music to Your Ears: Recess Monkey
Before I became a parent, I thought all performers of children’s music were singing purple dinosaurs, sopranos or folk singers singing childhood favorites or goofy men dressed in odd costumes. I’m happy to admit I was wrong. My daughter and I have discovered a number of amazing musicians performing music for kids that parents can enjoy too.
One of our all-time favorites is the Seattle band, Recess Monkey. Recess Monkey is made up of three teachers, Jack, Drew and Daron, who teach pre-K through second grade at local independent schools. These guys know what is important to kids: making it across the monkey bars, wiggling a loose tooth, buying a new backpack for school.
Recess Monkey writes about these events in innovative and interesting ways. The band’s witty approach shows in their rhymes (“I’m getting closer with every reach. When I cross that epic span I’m gonna give a speech” (Monkey Bars)), puns (“stop your floundering,” “when I feel crabby,” “nothing there is watered down” (Aquarium)) and observations about life (I Got A Toy, But I Played with the Box).
The band cites The Beach Boys and The Beatles as inspirations. With songs like The Pool and My Pet Rock, and an album titled “Tabby Road,” the influence is clear.
The production value of Recess Monkey’s CDs increases with each of the band’s four albums. The best way to experience Recess Monkey, however, is to attend one of their live shows. That way, you can join the Monkey Bars conga line, go Down, Down, Down the roller coaster, and maybe even meet Drew’s mom. The Recess Monkey concert schedule is available here.
If you live outside Seattle, do not fret. Last summer Recess Monkey performed around the country. Literally. They travelled from Seattle to Chicago to New York and DC then on to Atlanta, Austin, Phoenix and Portland in a little more than two weeks. This road trip is documented in an entertaining blog. The band returned more confident, more funny, and more likely to travel by air next time. While you wait for news of the next Recess Monkey tour, you can watch video of the band here.
May your minivan CD player be filled with music the whole family can agree on, Sherri
Sherri aspires to live the Lecia Phinney lifestyle. She knows maybe a little more than she should about kindie rock. Please visit her blog, SherriLynn.
NOTE: All the songs listed in this post can be heard here.