This post is written by Sam Sessa. You may have caught wind earlier this week of the upcoming concert he is bringing to the Miracle Theatre. Sessa is a former stay at home dad to 2 boys and lives in Baltimore. He works at NPR music station 89.7 WTMD as the station’s Baltimore music and community engagement manager. A couple years ago, he started producing a series of concerts for kids called Saturday Morning Tunes. The idea is to put on concerts that adults want to see, at times when they can bring their kids. He is debuting a “Frozen” live show, featuring classically trained opera singers The Outcalls in Washington, DC on February 22 at the Miracle Theatre. They normally perform with the Baltimore Symphony Orchestra but Sam somehow convinced them to dress up like Princesses Anna and Elsa and learn these songs! Sam is going to be sharing some music-related posts with us over the next few months and hopefully he will bring DC more of his shows this year!
When we were kids, children’s music was pretty bad. Not that we knew it back then — at the time, Barney and Raffi seemed just fine.
Now that we’re adults, we know better, and want better for our own little ones. That’s why, in the past 10 years, a whole new genre of cool music for kids has appeared. It’s called “kindie” (a mash-up of “kid-friendly” and “indie”), and there are tons of bands making children’s music that parents can not only tolerate but enjoy.
You might recognize some of the more popular kindie artists, because they’re bands we loved in the ’90s who are now writing songs for their own kids: Barenaked Ladies, Presidents of the United States of America (remember “Lump” and “Peaches?”) and Lisa Loeb. That’s not to mention the dozens of talented bilingual kindie artists, with albums in Spanish, Portuguese, Hindi and other languages.
Here are five of the top kindie albums from the past few years.
“Arriba Abajo” by 123 Andres (2016)
One of the best kindie artists is right here in our backyard: D.C.-based 123 Andres won a Latin Grammy for this album, which has several songs in Spanish, followed by many of the same songs in English. The songs are bright and sunny, and it’s a fun way to teach your kids a new language.
What do you get when you a member of the experimental indie rock band the Flaming Lips teams up with the host of Nickelodeon’s “Blues Clues” to make a children’s album? The answer: “Foreverywhere,” a gorgeous psychedelic record with tunes like “A Fact is a Gift That You Give Your Brain.” Imagine Pink Floyd if they wrote songs about unicorns.
“Falu’s Bazaar” by Falu (2018)
A native of Bombay, India, Falu has collaborated with a who’s-who of the music industry, including Yo-Yo Ma, Wyclef Jean and Ricky Martin. After having her own son, Falu set out to create “Falu’s Bazaar,” a musical journey through South Asian culture. The songs weave in and out of English and Hindi, and “Falu’s Bazaar” is a great starting point for exploring the world of Hindi music with your children.
The New York Times has called Gustafer Yellowgold “a cross between ‘Yellow Submarine’ and Dr. Seuss,” and for good reason. The project of singer/songwriter Morgan Taylor, Gustafer Yellowgold reaches back to the golden harmonies and power pop of the 1960s and 1970s and comes up with an irresistible mix of melodies on this new album.
“We Dream in 3d” by SaulPaul (2017)
Family friendly rapper SaulPaul was named Austinite of the Year in 2017, and his song “Rise (Remix)” — from this album — became one of the top songs on SiriusXM radio. SaulPaul enlists a cast of children singers to help with the lyrics, and the result is a mix of charming and tasteful rap tunes.
GIVEAWAY: Enter to win a family-four pack of tickets to the Frozen concert on February 22 at the Miracle Theatre. Make sure you are following Saturday Morning Tunes and then comment on our Instagram telling us you’d like to attend the concert. Winner will be announced on Friday.