Outdoor activities with a healthy dose of curiosity, brought to you by Laure Latham
September 7, 2012
Music is one of the earliest memories parents can share with their children and a gift for life. Remember those songs you loved from your childhood? This selection of recent releases will have you sing and clap along at home and in the car. Music for young ears is music to brighten up the day!
By Elizabeth Mitchell
When musical bard Woody Guthrie wrote these songs for his little girl Cathy Ann in 1946-47, little did he know how much they would resonate with today’s parents and children. Now re-interpreted by folk artist Elizabeth Mitchell, these songs for freewheeling children are released for the centennial of Woody Guthrie by Smithsonian Folkways. Perfect for preschoolers who want to bounce, ask funny questions or cuddle with their parents. Watch for a beautiful rendition of “This Land is Your Land.”
By Jack Johnson and Friends
You could love this music without seeing the movie. It’s that good and Jack Johnson’s Hawaiian surf vibe has a lot to do with it. This great musician is also a dad with an impressive network and this CD features friends such as Ben Harper or Matt Costa. The free-flowing acoustic guitar of “Upside Down,” “People Watching,” or the White Stripes cover “We’re going to be friends” will make this one a favorite of your daily car errands.
By Alison Faith Levy
With a background as a former Sippy Cup band member, no wonder local musician Alison Faith Levy composes a solo album made for kids, adults, and adults without kids. Think of it as alternative or psychedelic groovy rock but whichever you pick, this is music meant for cool moves, sing-alongs and standing up! From the invigorating “Reach for the Sky” to the road-trip perfect “Detours,” the quiet “I Love the Rain” or the amazing take on “The Itsy-Bitsy Spider,” each track’s got its own wonderful personality.
By Recess Music
Featuring 15 different musicians including Charity and the JAMband, Rocknoceros or Mary Kaye, this CD celebrates the stars and the planets with earth-friendly music. With educational lyrics and musical styles as varied as folksy, jazzy or high energy, these songs will become a bedtime favorite to fill dreams with images of swirling galaxies, nocturnal skies or Neptune lullabies. Adding to the science education component, this CD’s proceeds partially go to the McAuliffe-Shepard Discovery Center in New Hampshire.
By Orange Sherbet
Is Saturday your waffle day? Do you cook your rice and beans very slow? When an entire album talks about seasonal local food and sings odes to the meaning of delicious, precious mushrooms found by pigs or bounties of the seasons, it’s the perfect music for little foodies-in-training. Bay Area band Orange Sherbet combines jazzy with Latino rhythms and rock anthems to teach kids about growing your own food, visiting your local farmers market or food for the soul. Scrumptious!
By Smithsonian Folkways
Representing the diversity of America’s folk songs for children, this CD includes 26 songs, play-party games and poems by musicians. Ella Jenkins’ “Pole Pole,” Pete Seeger’s “I Had a Rooster” or Suni Paz’ “Los Pollitos” will soon become favorite songs at home. Far from cookie-cutter synthetized versions of children’s favorites, this album only features human voice, acoustic instruments, fingers snapping and percussions. A must-have to appreciate American music heritage for little ones.
This review first appeared in the Golden Gate Mothers Group Magazine, September 2012, as the CDs for Kids column. I’ve been writing this column – usually Books for Kids – since 2005.