Here we are, part 3 of our new music posts featuring music that turned the events of this past year into positive creative projects for our ears and our hearts. As we slide into Summer, take a moment to augment your family listening and check out these brand new tunes from some favorite kindie musicians.
Just released on Juneteenth, this collaboration album by kindie / reggae artist Aaron Nigel Smith contains 24 tracks by 24 artist of color united under the name 1 Tribe Collective. This album features many different genres and influences like funk, spiritual, soul/ R&B, kid hop, and reggae, but to name a few. Families and fans of kindie artists will recognize familiar names who shared their talents on this album like SaulPaul, Alphabet Rockers, and Shine & the Moonbeams. The album is a creative endeavor, a piece of polemic art to highlight past and current social justice movements and make them accessible to the next generation of young activists who will take up the mantle. Aaron Nigel Smith says, “It’s a tribute to them (the children), like passing the torch to the next generation.” Each contributing artist performs a song on the album with themes ranging from Black History, black people’s contributions to STEM fields, family culture, celebrating diversity, and the importance of vaccinations. Together, all 24 artists perform the title track on the album, One Tribe. As Smith notes, “There have been lots of compilations, but I’ve not seen one with so many people of color on an album with one message,” he said. “It’s us putting something positive out there. Bring hope and shine light, and with all collective voices, sharing in the spirit of unity. (It) feels timely and monumental.” All One Tribe is out now, check it out, use it as a celebratory spring board for important family conversations.
Anyone whose child was lucky enough to have GoNoodle movement breaks in their classroom is familiar with Koo Koo Kangaroo and their dance party songs for little people. On a personal note, we, in our house, were huge fans of Koo Koo Kangaroo’s Cat Party. So, needless to say, we are always happy to see new work from these talented and fun-filled artists. Their latest release, out now, was a positive outcome from 2020’s year in isolation. This hard working trio shared ideas and music files, all while physically distanced, each in their respective homes, during the lockdown. Out of their efforts comes Slow Clap, an album that has the high energy intensity of the Beastie Boys with top-notch music production by Lazerbeak (producer for Lizzo) with the added benefits of being kid-friendly. Slow Clap is a celebration of summer, from treating yourself to a tall glass of lemonade on a hot sticky day to running through the backyard sprinkler. It is the perfect soundtrack to accompany the country’s “re-opening” and the season’s sentiments. Listen now to its infectious hooks and have yourself an excellent summer.
Out of Boulder, Colorado comes a first kindie album from folk/ rock/ blues singer Jenn Cleary titled All Together Now! This album is to reach out to young audiences in a playful way with messages of environmental stewardship and social conciousness. The 11 tracks are educational, upbeat, and catchy; a way for young ones to dance their way into greater awareness and care for the world around them. “Writing a children’s album is another way to deliver a positive message and impact kids, while bringing a smile to their faces! When I worked with children in developing countries, we couldn’t communicate through words, so we used the universal language of music to help bring us ‘all together.’ All Together Now! takes me full-circle in my passion to make a positive difference in children’s lives, ” says Jenn Cleary of her intentions for the album. The final track All Kinds of Families was co-written with Jenn Cleary’s adopted daughter Dorje Dolma and ends the album with a beautiful message of inclusivity and honoring diversity. All Together Now! is available through Amazon music.
After a nine year break Renée and Jeremy are back with a new album, Whole Lotta Love, a kid-friendly covers album which explores some deeper themes of the human psyche, speaking to both children and their caregivers. The duo’s quiet, acoustic take on this collection of rock and pop hits from the 60s-90s gives listeners the time to really focus on the lyrics, their meaning, and the elegant textures of Renee Stahl & Jeremy Toback’s intertwined voices. I, for one, have never had taken the opportunity to appreciate the poetic lyrics of Sweet Child of Mine when Axl Rose sang it back in the late 80s, but while listening to this cover, I connected with it. When the lyrics are front and center, the song has a completely different presence. Whole Lotta Love is brought to a close with I Can See Clearly, a perfect optimistic yet winsome final note for a world slowly stepping out of crisis and into recovery.
Carrie Ferguson’s latest release, The Grumpytime Club, focuses on music for the little ones. With themes centering around self-esteem and self-acceptance with particular emphasis on emotional awareness, Carrie Ferguson deftly creates catchy fun-filled songs that span a wide variety of genres. The album itself follows an emotional narrative arc where its climactic point is a quiet contemplative track called Tavi’s Song. The Grumpytime Club is meant to be a supportive soundtrack for young children as they discover the greater world outside themselves and where they fit within it. “As a queer and gender nonconforming artist, I’ve learned that inner strength derives from knowing, accepting, and loving yourself. I know how important it is to use that strength to celebrate and show up for other people and the world in general,” expresses Carrie Ferguson. “I hope this album will give young people and all listeners a boost of love and confidence on their own journeys.”