An antidote to the commercialized, cheesy kids music out there
Oh the wonderful things that our fellow urbanMamas share with us. And of course, this comes from Shayne Berry. She writes:
We went the first few years of my daughter's life before stumbling upon this genre of talented, intelligent folks making great music for families. I feel like it's my motherly duty to share our finds with my fellow UrbanMamas.Our most recent find is Frances England. She created her album, Fascinating Creatures, as a fundraiser for her son's co-op preschool in San Fransisco. It spread like wildfire on the Internet and is now available on Amazon. Her engaging subjects (tricycles, trains, planting a garden, jazz musicians) blend nicely with her mellow voice and simple instrumentation. Her melodies are catchy and singable- we adore this record.Elizabeth Mitchell is another great find. She was a preschool teacher/indie rock star before making kids' records. Her most recent, You Are My Little Bird, was put out by Smithsonian Folkways Recordings and follows two other fabulous records by her. Her husband and daughter accompany her on many songs and her records feel as though the listener has been invited into the living room of this cute, musical family. She has a knack for choosing great old folk songs to cover with her soothing voice and upbeat, simple music. Many a car ride has been calmed with her albums.Lastly, Dan Zanes has been called the godfather of kids music-with good reason. His hip, lively take on Folk, Americana and World music is so infectious that I find myself even playing these records when my kids aren't around. Dan and his band are extremely talented and provide family with a stark contrast to all the kids music on the market that has been created with synthesizers and drum machines. He also has a concert DVD that gives even more insight into how much he loves and connects with these songs. If I had to choose one record to start with, Rocket Ship beach is fabulous but all his albums are must-haves. They have all inspired countless sing-alongs and impromptu dance parties. Even my husband gets these songs stuck in his head.I think that much of kids' music today has been created to follow a trend or make a buck. The thing that sets these three musicians apart from most is the sense that they started playing these songs for themselves, for their families and friends and it just so happened that other people started listening.------------------------------
-----------------You can hear samples at Amazon.comThere are other artists who follow these same ideas, many were mentioned in a 2006 Family Music Poll: http://fidsandkamily.blogspot .com/
By the way, Dan Zanes is coming to the Aladdin Theater on April 15th!