September 2007 | Vol. VI - No. 9
Music With a Message
CDs Get Kids Moving to New Kinds of Tunes
TELLING A TALE
“The Ballad of Phineas McBoof,” which chronicles the formation of a band, is full of characters whose stories “encourage kids to follow their muse.”
It will soon be joined by a book and is the first album for former high school music teacher Cory Cullinan, aka Doctor Noize, who believes children find more meaning in something when it’s attached to a figure they care about.
“Every single character on the CD … is somebody who decided to do his own thing despite the fact that people don't understand,” he said.
SINGING PRAISES FOR CONSERVATION
Although Bobs & Lolo of Bobolo Productions don’t follow one story in their newest CD, “Musical Adventures,” they’ve realized through performing some 200 live shows a year that “songs really need to have a hook,” Lorraine Pond, aka “Lolo,” told TDmonthly. And she wasn’t just talking about the music.
For Bobolo, that hook is “connecting kids to the natural world,” Pond continued. “Our philosophy is … conservation equals caring. If we can teach kids to care now, that sense of caring will follow through and support initiatives working toward a cleaner, healthier environment.”
ONE STYLE’S NOT ENOUGH
To convey that message, the pair uses songs influenced by jazz, rock, blues, pop and swing, Pond said, because children 10 and under “are still developing their tastes and interests, and parents have different interests, too.”
Lead singer Audra Tsanos of AudraRox recognizes the value of variety in the band’s newly-released “I Can Do It By Myself!” The “power pop” album, as some describe it, features everything from disco to indie rock to jazz.
Oren Pfeffermann of Oren and the Hiccups described “Turn Around the Sun,” released last fall, as “taking rock-and-roll roots and plugging it into kids' music.” It brings back styles from the 1970s and 1980s, as well as an indie-rock spin-off of “Lollipop Tree” from the 1940s, he told TDmonthly.
The acoustic-based “If You Ever See an Owl,” in contrast, reflects the relationship between children’s music and American folk music, according to lead Matt Pryor, formerly of The Get Up Kids. “The instrumentation seems to work well for kids,” he said.
DANCE TO THE MUSIC
Although Pryor has toured for the last 10 years, he admitted he had to “tweak” performances for children by engaging the audience more, doing some call-and-response singing and giving them opportunities to move.
AudraRox is also planning to facilitate dancing with an album tentatively scheduled for release next spring.
WHAT KIDS WANT
“Being a teacher and seeing a real community of kids… gave me a deep understanding of kids and what they relate to,” Tsanos said of her eight years of leading children’s music classes in Brooklyn. Two- and 3-year-olds, she said, really understand a song on her album called “Don’t Wake the Baby,” for example.
Music for Aardvarks Creator David Weinstone especially knows how to reach 3-year-olds, she added: “All the people in my band were parents in my class. We’re definitely students of his music.”
According to psychologist Martin Seligman’s research, connecting with others and having deeper meaning in life make people happy, Pfeffermann said, and that’s what his album tries to accomplish by involving listeners in a story and creating meaningful songs.
See these and other albums for children below:
The Terrible Twos: If You Ever See an Owl... by POQUITO RECORDS
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This CD is teeming with irresistible playground pop designed to soothe the savage teething toddler and harried parent alike. The Terrible Twos is the alter ego of The New Amsterdams, a band led by Matthew Pryor, who also fronted the acclaimed rock outfit The Get Up Kids for nearly a decade. The album’s 15 tracks are mostly acoustic and were recorded in Pryor’s garage with guitarist Dustin Kinsey, bassist Eric McCann and drummer Bill Belzer. Launch date: April 10, 2007.
ToyDirectory Product ID#: 11228 (added 1/22/2007)
This CD features a musical group of dads and includes songs “Lollipop Tree,” “Uh-Oh,” “Shine Down on Me” and more. “Grown-ups everywhere are saying this is a CD that not only captivates their young children, but grown-ups themselves enjoy the music, too!” Lead Singer Oren Pfeffermann told TDmonthly. The album received a spring 2007 Parents’ Choice Award. Launch date: November 2006.
ToyDirectory Product ID#: 13087 (added 5/23/2007)
Doctor Noize - The Ballad of Phineas McBoof by PICTORIA RECORDS
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Doctor Noize’s debut recording, “The Ballad of Phineas McBoof,” features songs performed by world-class musicians. It tells the story of McBoof as he travels around the world to form his new band, Phineas McBoof and His International Band of Misunderstood Geniuses. The album includes 15 tracks, including “Don’t Monkey With My Heart,” “What My Robot Said" and "The Monster Dance." "It really does smell like monkeys," Producer Doctor Noize said. Launch date: July 2007 (with a premiere on XM Kids radio).
ToyDirectory Product ID#: 13588 (added 6/22/2007)
Taxi: David Weinstone Presents Music for Aardvarks and Other Mammals by MUSIC FOR AARDVARKS
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This album joins the “Music for Aardvarks” collection, designed to reflect and celebrate the lives of children growing up in urban environments as well as themes universal to all children. With blues, jazz and rock influences and songs such as “Miami Grammy” and “Bagel,” David Weinstone brings authentic childhood experiences to life with sophistication, intelligence and musical excellence. “Music for Aardvarks and Other Mammals was born as a love child of punk and preschool…and has been hailed by artists from Philip Glass to Sonic Youth,” Elizabeth Waldman Frazier of Waldmania! told TDmonthly. Launch date: January 16, 2007.
ToyDirectory Product ID#: 10320 (added 11/30/2006)
Using music, movement and make-believe, Bobs & Lolo celebrate the values of healthy living and aim to inspire an awareness and appreciation for the natural world with their young audiences. “Musical Adventures” includes songs about enjoying the outdoors (“My Bike,” “The Great Outdoors,” “Little Breeze”), conserving wildlife (“Wish for a Fish”) and going green (“Recycle With Me”). This product received a spring 2007 Parents' Choice Silver Honors Award. Launch date: December 2006.
ToyDirectory Product ID#: 13082 (added 5/23/2007)
AudraRox, a Brooklyn-based band fronted by musician and teacher Audra Tsanos, is trying to broaden the spectrum of kids' music with its debut album. It’s not just music for kids; it's music for the whole family. This product received a spring 2007 Parents’ Choice Award. Launch date: October 2006.
ToyDirectory Product ID#: 13075 (added 5/23/2007)
Alex Mahé: Wakin' Up the Sunshine by GOODTIME TRAIN ENTERPRISE
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This sun-filled interactive 16-song CD emphasizes clever melodies and witty lyrics packed with rhyme, repetition and alliteration. The songs, though dipped in humor, teach, inspire and emit feelings of warmth and joy while simultaneously harnessing creativity and imagination. They are ready-made for clapping, dancing and singing along. Alex Mahé is a charming performer who transmits the joy he takes in his performance to his audience. “Some songs explore the world of make believe while others instill reflection and promote deeper regard, appreciation and wonder for the multi-cultural world in which we live,” Mahé told TDmonthly. This product received a spring 2007 Parents’ Choice Approved Award. Launch date: October 8, 2006.
ToyDirectory Product ID#: 13079 (added 5/23/2007)
“Animal Playground” is a multilingual collection of animal-themed songs from around the world. The CD includes an enhanced original music video produced by Putumayo in Trinidad featuring “No More Monkeys” by Trinidad-born artist Asheba. A 25-city family concert tour in May and June supports the release, and a portion of each CD sale benefits the Wildlife Conservation Society. Launch date: May 22, 2007.
ToyDirectory Product ID#: 12316 (added 4/13/2007)
Children must get ready to shake, rattle, roll, strum, howl and sway with Bill Harley as he serenades kids and families with his characteristic silliness, hilarity and poignancy. The 12 new songs on "I Wanna Play," including the long-awaited and much-loved “Barbie’s Head is Missing,” are hilarious, sweet, silly and touching, and have a world music feel. “Singer/storyteller/author Bill Harley creates a world parents and kids can share through songs and stories that honor the emotional lives of children,” Office Manager Michele G. Eaton of Round River Records told TDmonthly. This product received a spring 2007 Parents’ Choice Foundation Gold Award. Launch date: February 2007.
ToyDirectory Product ID#: 13074 (added 5/23/2007)
The Party Cats perform both classic party songs and recent hits from the movies, such as “I Like To Move It” from the movie “Madagascar.” “What sets us apart from the competition is our song selections, professional digitally-mastered sound quality, attention-getting packaging and unique extras such as fun party games,” Tod Ellsworth, director of product development at Green Hill Productions, told TDmonthly.
ToyDirectory Product ID#: 14326 (added 7/25/2007)
Mae Robertson ? Dream: Lullabies and Lovesongs by LYRIC PARTNERS
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Part of the Lullabies and Lovesongs collection, folk music vocalist Mae Robertson reinterprets several pop masterpieces, including Paul Simon’s “St. Judy’s Comet,” Tom Waits’ “Midnight Lullaby” and Bob Dylan’s “Forever Young.” Robertson’s previous Lullaby & Lovesongs CDs have already won international acclaim and national awards. Launch date: August 2007.
ToyDirectory Product ID#: 14306 (added 7/25/2007)
With inventive, catchy arrangements and full, natural instrumentation — engaging to both children and adults — this album is songwriter/musical storyteller Paul Helou's tour through the forest. With a world music flavor, Paul introduces listeners to the wisdom and teachings of lively woodlands creatures. The intelligent, poetic and engaging lyrics, along with toe-tapping musical rhythms, teach children about their connection with the natural world — and to find joy in the music of their own heart. “The integrity, quality and substance of the music, lyrics and performance of ‘Bears, Bees & Butterflies’ make this product accessible to both entertainment and educational markets,” Helou told TDmonthly. This product received a spring 2007 Parents' Choice Award, a 2007 iParenting Media Award for Excellent Products and a 2006 Music Web Award (Best New Artist for Preschoolers). Launch date: January 2007.
ToyDirectory Product ID#: 13081 (added 5/23/2007)
Roger Day: Dream Big! by ROGER DAY PRODUCTIONS LLC
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This 13-track album by two-time Parents’ Choice Award-winner Roger Day features rock legends The Crickets, as well as children’s performer and radio superstar Billy Jonas. Roger’s trademark wit, whimsy and wordplay are evident in songs such as “Rumble in the Jungle,” “Roly Poly” and “Turn Off the TV,” in a musical world of pachyderms, isopods and nandina berries. “Elefunks” get down low in Borneo, Yaks wander with the Dalai Lama, and there’s even a Beatlesesque string quartet. “Roger Day urges kids to reach their potential by using ‘body and brain, mind and muscle.’ The predominant theme underlying the music’s lively verbal gymnastics and colorful imagery is that of aspiration.” Launch date: July 2007.
ToyDirectory Product ID#: 13452 (added 6/13/2007)
The music of rock band U2 is transformed into a soft lullaby for little ones. The record trades guitars and drums for mellotron and bell, and lowers the volume fromm an eleven to a two. Toni Swann-Pardigno, national account manager of special markets at Rockabye Baby! told TDmonthly. This product is a 2007 iParenting Media Award winner. Launch date: January 2007.
ToyDirectory Product ID#: 13727 (added 6/26/2007)
Siente: Night Songs From Around the World by YELLOW TAIL RECORDS
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This album, featuring award-winning classical guitarist Hilary Field and vocalist Patrice O’Neill, presents a collection of lullabies from Basque, Irish, Spanish, Italian, French and other traditions. It also features master mandolinist Mike Marshall, Grammy award-winning English hornist, Nancy Rumbel, and principal musicians from the Pacific Northwest Ballet orchestra. “Warm vocals and lush instrumentals bring these songs to life while soothing the world to sleep,” Andrew Ratshin of Yellow Tail Records told TDmonthly. “A wonderful gift for new parents, ‘Siente’ offers a sense of peace and calm to those of all ages.” The album received a 2007 iParenting Media Excellence Award. Launch date: April 17, 2007.
ToyDirectory Product ID#: 13718 (added 6/25/2007)
Charlotte Diamond: Todo el Mundo Come Banana! by HUG BUG MUSIC INC. ? CHARLOTTE DIAMOND
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This Spanish CD features 20 songs, including “Soy una Burbuja,” “Patito Perdido Mío,” “Mi Osito Gruff” and more. Lyrics are included. "The clarity of voice, pronunciation and excellent musical production make Charlotte Diamond's recordings for children exceptional. They are excellent language learning tools as well as being fun and entertaining for both children and adults,” a representative of Hug Bug Music told TDmonthly. This product received a spring 2007 Parents’ Choice Approved Award. Launch date: October 30, 2006.
ToyDirectory Product ID#: 13046 (added 5/23/2007)
"Annie" the Musical Karaoke CD+G by STAGE STARS RECORDS
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This new recording of "Annie" in Karaoke CD+G allows participants to practice with the guide vocalists and then sing along with the accompaniment version of each song. It plays in any CD player, and on-screen lyrics appear when played in a karaoke machine. The album is an entertaining CD for young vocalists and a great rehearsal tool for performers in the school musical. Each song features fully orchestrated background tracks that follow the Broadway score, and a lyric booklet is included. "With the 30th anniversary national tour [in 2006], a new generation of girls have been re-introduced to this Broadway classic,” Malinda Boothe of Stage Star Records told TDmonthly. Launch date: January 2000.
ToyDirectory Product ID#: 13246 (added 6/5/2007)
This first-of-its-kind Jazz Christmas collection for kids features a sweet and fun-filled holiday collection of classics like “Frosty the Snowman” and “All I Want for Christmas is My Two Front Teeth” as well as some rare surprises — all sung with spunk, spirit and swing by legendary artists such as Louis Armstrong, Lena Horne, Nat King Cole and Peggy Lee. Nicky's cool yule picks will have the whole house swinging for the holidays. “All tracks have been digitally remastered from their originals and the fidelity is state-of-the-art,” Carol Friedman, president and owner of Dominick Media, told TDmonthly. This product received a spring 2007 Parents' Choice Silver Award.
ToyDirectory Product ID#: 12911 (added 5/21/2007)
It tickles. It teaches. It rocks. This children's album was developed by a full-time preschool music teacher in Beverly Hills, Calif., from experience with more than 1,500 live performances with children. It features smart and fun songs that nurture music appreciation by helping listeners hear more in what they're hearing. The songs are lyrically and musically sophisticated. This product received a Spring 2007 Parents' Choice Recommended Award. Launch date: February 2007.
ToyDirectory Product ID#: 13455 (added 6/13/2007)
Music Time for Parents and Grandparents (Children's Classic Songs CD) by ROBYN DUPUIS ENTERPRISES LLC
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This album is designed to help new parents and grandparents “brush up” on classic children’s songs so they can pass along these wonderful musical traditions to the children in their lives. It includes 55 classic songs, sung simply and clearly so listeners can easily follow, learn and sing along. “The ‘grandparent’ niche is a particularly important marketing strength of this product. This population values musical traditions, yet [they] are often ignored in the children’s product market. … People buy handfuls of these CDs,” artist Robyn Dupuis told TDmonthly. This CD received a spring 2007 Parents’ Choice Approved Award. Launch date: September 2006.
ToyDirectory Product ID#: 13134 (added 5/24/2007)
Joe McDermott: Everybody Plays Air Guitar by TRUE BLUE MUSIC
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This fourth release from Joe McDermott is composed of 10 original sing-along songs that feature Joe’s friendly vocals and style influenced by American roots. Songs include the rock-and-roll title track plus “Momma’s Gonna Have a Baby,” “Spider Magic” and “Anything Is Possible.” Launch date: June 12, 2007.
ToyDirectory Product ID#: 12790 (added 5/15/2007)
Robbi K & Friends: Music Makes Me Happy by BALIDALI PRODUCTIONS INC.
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Featuring singer and songwriter Robbi K, the 11-track “Music Makes Me Happy” includes jazz, pop, folk, world beat, classical, blues, Broadway and calypso tunes — performed by guest artists ranging from roots-rocker Brady Rymer to “Riverdance” fiddler Eileen Ivers to jazz trumpet legend Jimmy Owens. The enhanced CD can be played on a computer. “Robbi K is one of the few African American women to have achieved national recognition in the field of children’s music. In her ‘other’ life, Robbi sings backup for stars such as Diana Ross, Aretha Franklin, Chaka Khan, Mary K. Blige, Jewel, Rod Stewart and Harry Belafonte,” Elizabeth Waldman Frazier of Waldmania! told TDmonthly. Launch date: July 17, 2007.
ToyDirectory Product ID#: 13666 (added 6/25/2007)
Walt Disney Princess Personalized Tea Party by JUST ME! MUSIC
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This 17-track CD features more than 50 personalizations by Disney Princesses Belle, Ariel, Snow White, Sleeping Beauty and Cinderella, who sing and speak directly to a particular child by name. Tracks include “The Perfect Princess Tea,” “Parties at the Palace” and “I’m Waiting for My Prince,” and more than 1,100 girl names are available. “Disney is the largest brand in the world, and the Princess brand is receiving a huge marketing push,” President Paul LaRue of Just Me! Music told TDmonthly. “This is the first time that Disney has allowed the Princess brand to be ‘personalized’ specific to each child’s first name.” Launch date: June 15, 2007.
ToyDirectory Product ID#: 13600 (added 6/22/2007)
The Probably Untrue Story of Mary (Who) Had A Little Lamb by MICAH LEVY MUSIC
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This award-winning CD contains a story with music. The story is a take-off of "Mary's Lamb," and the music is a take-off on "Mary Had A Little Lamb." The beginning of the story and music are very familiar, but both soon veer way off course for a fun and humorous adventure. "Mary" received three performances by the San Diego Symphony. Launch date: June 2005.
ToyDirectory Product ID#: 13583 (added 6/22/2007)
Cathy Bollinger, a singer-songwriter and music therapist, has written the school- and home school-friendly tunes on "Ready to Learn!" These multi-sensory songs, ranging from snazzy to jazzy, will help kids succeed in school by reinforcing basic living skills though repetition: listening, following directions, exercising friendly manners, focusing on work, transitioning between activities and lining up. Additionally, two bonus tracks are included as a quick reminder or cue to line up or change activities. Launch date: May 1, 2007.
ToyDirectory Product ID#: 12646 (added 5/4/2007)
Ah-Choo, the award-winning children's entertainer releases his first fun song CD under the title "Ah-Choo." The whole family will enjoy songs such as "Peanut Butter and Jelly" and "I'm a Little Kid But I Have a Cell Phone." Ah-Choo's catchy hooks and captivating hip-hop stylings will mesmerize all ages. Launch date: July 1, 2007.
ToyDirectory Product ID#: 13535 (added 6/18/2007)
Alphabet Songs Vol. III (Rabbit Run) by STEVE WEEKS MUSIC
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“Alphabet Songs Vol. III” is the third and final CD in the Alphabet Songs series. It dedicates a song to each letter of the alphabet, covering the letters R through Z. The acoustic-based music is upbeat and catchy. From the bluegrass title track, “Rabbit Run,” to the African rhythms of “Zed and Zoey,” the songs cover a broad range of musical styles. They offer a positive message, a challenging tongue-twister or just a plain old good story. “This is not your typical children's music. Parents and kids alike love the tunes!” Steve Weeks told TDmonthly. This product received a 2007 Parents' Choice Recommended Award. Launch date: November 2006.
ToyDirectory Product ID#: 13065 (added 5/23/2007)
This 14-track CD (manufactured by Craig ‘n Co) is based on the popular book by Barney Saltzberg (Candlewick Press), and features the story read by Dustin Hoffman and musical appearances by Jackson Browne, Richard Thompson, Vonda Shepard, Jessica Harper and Peter Himmelman. All artist royalties will benefit the non-profit CONCERN FOUNDATION for Cancer Research, whose mission is to fund cancer research scientists who focus on childhood and young adult cancers. Launch date: May 2007.
ToyDirectory Product ID#: 12822 (added 5/15/2007)
The first of two volumes, this album features 12 imaginative songs for toddlers. Activities are paired to each song and can be downloaded from the website to help teach valuable skills to toddlers and their care-providers. Titles include “Pajarito” (Little Bird) and "The Ticklebug,” and sing-able lyrics and memorable melodies help curious toddlers get their wiggles out and begin to explore the world. “Songs on this CD can help build important development skills when played and used by parents and care-providers with young children,” Katherine Dines of Hunk-Ta-Bunk-Ta Music told TDmonthly. This product received iParenting Media and iParenting Media "Hot" Awards for 2007. Launch date: January 2007.
ToyDirectory Product ID#: 12364 (added 4/18/2007)
The voice and melodies on this CD will soothe, relax and delight parents and children. Named after her golden retriever dog, Mulligan (Mully for short), artist Tamara Beatty made every effort to create a CD that families look forward to listening to over and over again. The CD is perfect for relaxation, naps, car rides and snoozing. Kids can even visit the website to meet the real Mully. This product is a winner of the Parent’s Choice Approved Award. Launch date: January 2007.
ToyDirectory Product ID#: 13570 (added 6/22/2007)
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Writer's Bio: Julie L. Jones has written articles for both newspapers and magazines. Before joining the staff of TDmonthly Magazine, she worked as a communications writer and provided editorial support for a market research company. Read more articles by this author
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