Listen to This: The Sounds of Summer!

This summer’s new releases seem to have a common thread running through them all, a sense of place! Some are wistful and folksy, some funky bluesy, and some celebratory of the city they call home. But all cultivate a strong sense of history and place to the listener. Here is our summer line-up of new releases.

KB WHIRLY, Songs from the Whirly House

Two weeks into the season and it has already been a busy summer for KB Whirly! He has a new EP coming out later this month called Songs from the Whirly House. This mini-album of 5 tracks has an overall funky, bluesy, southern delta sound that builds on the sound he has cultivated in previous albums. This EP centers around inclusivity, thematically and interactively. The mini-album kicks off with an infectious gospel-style track called Come Gather Round that invites listeners to come together and do some silly dances as dictated by KB Whirly’s lyrics. The following track chills the energy out slightly with a groovy sing-a-long track called Cool Man Cool. The third track on the EP is the sweetest and most wistful song in the collection that all parents will be able to relate to titled, Every Little Thing I Do (I do because I love you). The last two tracks pick energy back up and end the EP with messages of positivity and openness. Starting this summer, KB Whirly is introducing his new traveling Musical Moveable Miniature Theater and will be touring around the country with it, performing and collaborating with friends along the way. The tiny house will take it’s inaugural road trip for July shows at the Green River Festival in Greenfield, MA and Wolf Trap’s Children’s Theater in the Woods in Virginia as well as the Family Forest Festival in Dayton, OH this September. Visit KBWhirly.com for updates and more information and dates announcing soon. And in the meantime, smile, shake, and groove with an open heart this summer listening to Songs from the Whirly House! The album drops July 27, 2017.

 

ELLA JENKINS & FRIENDS, Camp Songs

In a grand gesture to ring in the summer, Smithsonian Folkways (a nonprofit record label of the Smithsonian Institution that is part of the Smithsonian’s Smithsonian Center for Folklife and Cultural Heritage) brings to us a compelling compilation of recordings made by The First Lady of Children’s Folk Music, Ella Jenkins. This recording fulfills her dream of composing an album comprised of traditional camp songs. In doing so, Ella Jenkins enlisted the help of children, parents, and teachers from the Old Town School of Folk Music and Tony & Kate Seeger (Pete Seeger’s niece and nephew) of Camp Killooleet. This compilation covers the classics such as Row, Row, Row Your Boat sung in a round, and the sing-along This Land is Your Land but additionally includes songs from the Jewish tradition such as Tumbalalaika, Shalom Chaverin, and Tzena, Tzena, Tzena. Camp Songs is Ella Jenkins’s 40th recording for Smithsonian Folkways and it is a testament to how camp singing history and culture can impact children for the rest of their lives! The Camp Songs album came out on June 23.

 

LUCKY DIAZ AND THE FAMILY JAM BAND, Made in L.A.

What better embodies the sound of a southern California summer than Grammy Winners Lucky Diaz and the Family Jam Band? After last year’s Piñata Attack, Lucky Diaz and co. are back with a brand new album aptly titled Made in L.A. Made in L.A. was actually made in L.A. with the help of Grammy nominee Frances England and Grammy winning producer Dean Jones. This album is front to back, back to front a celebration of the city they call home and the ultimate thing that the city represents, opportunity. But it is not just fame they are talking here, its opportunity to discover everything the city has to offer. The sights, sounds and tastes of L.A. run throughout 12 original songs, from Silver Lake Stairs to Echo Park and Fiesta de la Brea. The overall sound for this album is light, optimistic, playful pop. They even manage to tackle the ever-present Southern Californian car density problem in a funny, rush-hour party themed song called Traffic. When It Rained captures, firstly, that rain is a major weather event in Southern California and also speaks to the impact it has on children’s imagination as well as the effect on the city itself. Lucky Diaz and the Family Band’s interactive, multi-cultural, mixed language kindie pop sound is whimsical, infectious and fun. It celebrates cultural diversity all while paying homage to all the common experiences of those living the one of the most mega of megapolis, the fair city of Los Angeles! Made in L.A. will be out July 21, 2017. 

 

JAZZY ASH AND THE LEAPING LIZARDS, Swing Set

Jazzy Ash, also known as Ashli Christoval, grew up with a mom from New Orleans and a dad from Trinidad.  She often spent summers in New Orleans with her extended family and absorbed the culture and music. Seeing herself as a second-generation New Orleanean, the sounds of Dixieland permeates Swing Set‘s sound and vibe, as it did with her three previous family music albums. This fourth albums comes to us as a deeply researched work (Ashli Christoval is also a preschool teacher, so the need to educate is strong!), gathering up a collection of 14 songs and rhymes that date back to the mid-19th century. Much like the aforementioned Ella Jenkins, in her research Christoval was struck by how many generations of children were influenced by these traditional songs. Ashli Christoval explains, “Many of these songs and games were largely carried along by little girls on the playground throughout time, and it’s not often that we celebrate the work of women. I wanted to convey the grit and soul of that grassroots heritage with these recordings.” And this album delivers on that intention! The album kicks off with the well known Lil’ Liza Jane, then seems to playfully intersperse more classically well-known songs with lesser known songs to keep young listeners engaged. But, even the most unfamiliar of songs on album will soon become second nature to your family. The songs on the whole are so inviting and rhythmic that you can’t help but bounce the music. Swing Set is due out July 21, 2017!

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