Category Archives: Music Reviews

Shake Your Sillies Out with Raffi!

We love to shake our sillies out and sing about apples and bananas in all sorts of crazy ways with Raffi. On Friday the 10th, he came out with his Best of Raffi CD, available on Amazon and iTunes.

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There are so many timeless classics in this collection, arranged to work perfectly for children and the way they sing and move. You will recognize them, but love them even more for Raffi’s special touch. Down by the Bay, Wheels on the Bus, If You’re Happy and You Know It, Mr. Sun, and Day O are all included in this 16-song CD!

Thank you to Sugar Mountain PR and Raffi for our complimentary CD in exchange for our review. As you can see in this video, we LOVE it!

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More from Sugar Mountain PR:

Nashville, TN, December 7, 2016 ~ Rounder Records is thrilled to announce the forthcoming release of Best Of Raffi, a career-spanning collection, celebrating 40 years of hits from the legendary children’s entertainer. Due out February 10, 2017Best Of Raffi will mark the first, curated collection of Raffi’s music to be released outside of his native Canada. Best Of Raffi will include such classics as “Down By The Bay” (1976), “Bananaphone” (1994), and, perhaps his most iconic hit, “Baby Beluga” (1980).

Having released nearly 30 children’s albums, beginning with 1976’s Singable Songs For The Very Young, pioneering troubadour Raffi Cavoukian (better known simply as “Raffi”) is one of the world’s best-selling and most influential children’s entertainers, having brought joy to successive generations of kids—and their parents—with his playful, exuberant personality and his irresistibly infectious songs. Along the way, he has performed countless sold-out shows at concert halls across North America and beyond, and has received a string of Platinum and Gold certifications by the RIAA.

Raffi has also emerged as a respected advocate on behalf of children and the Earth, lending his voice, insight and experience to a number of issues, often through his Centre For Child Honouring. The Centre advocates a children-first approach to healing communities and restoring ecosystems, promoting the idea that early childhood is the gateway to building more humane societies. Child Honouring has found high-profile recognition, connecting Raffi with such luminaries as Nelson Mandela and The Dalai Lama, as well as being the focus of 2012 TEDx Talks by Raffi. The artist has also published several books – including 2013’sLightweb Darkweb, which focuses on the need to reform social media, especially for young users. Over the course of his career, Raffi has received recognition for both his musical achievements and his tireless advocacy work, including the prestigious Order of Canada in 1983, numerous Parents’ Choice awards and Grammy nominations, a Juno Award for Best Children’s Album (Bananaphone,1994) and the Queen Elizabeth II Diamond Jubilee Medal in 2012.

The liner notes for Best Of Raffi confirm Raffi’s cross-generational appeal:  “There are now millions of ‘Beluga Grads’ — adults who grew up with Raffi’s music and are now experiencing it through their childhood memories and through their own children and grandchildren.”

Raffi‘s albums consistently make the U.S. sales charts, and he continues to perform and record actively: his most recent award-winning title, Owl Singalong, was released earlier in 2016 to critical acclaim, and he is currently in the midst of an extensive North American tour.

With 40 years’ worth of favorites, Best Of Raffi will bridge the gap between parents who grew up with his music, and their children, discovering many of these classics for the first time.

For Raffi‘s upcoming U.S. tour dates, please visit raffinews.com/raffi/concerts/

Junie B Jones

Junie B. Jones The Musical Takes Me Back

Junie B. Jones The Musical takes me back to my musical production days and I love the memories! Working with young singers, dancers, and actors to produce amazing shows like this is so fun and rewarding! I can so easily imagine the kids on stage as I listen to this CD. The CD, sheet music, and show package all come out TODAY!

Junie B. Jones

Heisler and Goldrich portray the life and times of Junie so well with songs like You Need Glasses, Kickball Tournament, Show and Tell, and Writing Down the Story of My Life. My daughter temporarily needed glasses at the age of three for a minor discrepancy. I was so worried she would totally reject the idea, but I was wrong to worry. She chose a pair of striped purple glasses and was showered with compliments everywhere she went! She was proud to wear those glasses and they did the trick in such a short time.

Thank you to Waldmania PR for our complimentary CD in exchange for this review. Go to Goldrich and Heisler’s website to find out more.

You can download it, stream it, buy the sheet music, or do the show!

Here’s more from Music Theatre International:

Created by Marcy Heisler and Zina Goldrich, the team that brought you Dear Edwina, comes Junie B. Jones, The Musical – a delightful adaptation of four of Barbara Park’s best-selling books, brought to life in a genuinely comical (and not strictly-for-kids) musical developed by TheatreworksUSA. Awaken a young person’s desire to read with the sassy little diva, Junie B. Jones, and her adventures in first grade.

It’s Junie B.’s first day of first grade, and a lot of things have changed for her: Junie’s friend, Lucille, doesn’t want to be her best pal anymore and, on the bus, Junie B. makes friends with Herb, the new kid at school. Also, Junie has trouble reading the blackboard and her teacher, Mr. Scary, thinks she may need glasses. Throw in a friendly cafeteria lady, a kickball tournament and a “Top-Secret Personal Beeswax Journal,” and first grade has never been more exciting.

Featuring a tremendously loveable character and fun-filled songs, Junie B. Jones will capture your audience members’ hearts just as the books captivated an entire generation of students. The small cast, minimal design needs and performance accompaniment CD make this an ideal show for theatres looking to tour schools or with strong education programs.

For more about the Junie B. Jones books, visit www.juniebjones.com or a bookstore near you!

 

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Musical Buddies Make Us Laugh!

Big Buncha Buddies releases their hilarious collection TODAY with children’s songs from Keith Munslow and Bridget Brewer. It’s mixture of blues and country make us toe tap, knee slap, and laugh about childhood. The Lonliest Whale and Why Did You Teach Me That Word are our favorites.

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A song about a “four-letter word” learned on the bus reminds all parents of that dreaded day your child repeats a not-so-appropriate word with such innocence, yet shocks everybody else. It happens. You can’t avoid it. We just live and learn.

The Lonliest Whale slows the mood down with a sad, baritone whale who swims around the earth all by himself with the “lonely ocean blues”. At least Keith and Bridget get to sing this song together and don’t have to be as lonely as the whale.

Thank you to Sugar Mountain PR for our complimentary CD in exchange for this review. Go to Keith’s website for more information on buying this fun collection of children’s songs.


Here’s more from Sugar Mountain PR:

Providence, RI, December 13, 2016 – Keith Munslow, a multiple award-winning songwriter, storyteller, cartoonist and improv comedy performer, teams up with a fresh new voice in family music, Bridget Brewer, for a harmonious salute to the ups and downs of friendship. A collaboration among a big bunch of “goofs, music makers, adventurers, and creators of wild, crazy music that’s fun for the whole family,” the rootsy 11 songs of Big Buncha Buddies, are now available now digitally via CDBaby and iTunes. Starting January 13, fans may purchase the album from other distributors in CD format. Visit www.keithmunslow.com  for more information and performance updates.

Known nationwide for his SiriusXM Satellite Radio hit “Coffee Breath,” Munslow brings his quick wit and wry perspective on family life to these new songs (“That Was a Bad Idea,” “It’s an Adventure,” “Why Did You Teach Me That Word?”). His past collaborations with Grammy winner Bill Harley have won awards, national acclaim and radio play. Munslow’s own family recordings (Accidentally on Purpose, Dressed Up for the Party and Homemade Fun) have also drawn national accolades. He brings a piano-forward, fully orchestrated sound to the songs of Big Buncha Buddies. The colorful comics-style cover art is by Eric Fulford, and album design is by Stuart Wilson.

Munslow and Brewer began writing songs together a couple of years ago, when they were both creating musical sketch comedy pieces at the The Empire Revue in Providence, Rhode Island. Brewer is a published fiction writer and recent Brown University MFA graduate who is currently working on a book in Mexico City. As the songs came together, the two artists brought in other performers and began recording and performing before live audiences of families. Most of the songs were created collaboratively, with Brewer taking the lead for the poignant story-song about an unloved cetacean, “The Loneliest Whale,” and Munslow drawing on his parenting experiences for songs like “Don’t Grow Up Too Fast.” Public response has been enthusiastic, and fans helped the duo exceed their Kickstarter campaigngoal.

The creative process has been smooth.“These songs came together very quickly and naturally,” notes Munslow.  “All of the songs on Big Buncha Buddies relate in some way to learning to be a friend.” Brewer, who has never written a children’s song before this project, reflects on the deeper meanings in these seemingly light and humorous songs:  “In the end, the only thing that matters is loving someone, feeling empathy for someone, no matter how different you are. No matter if that someone is a stick pony your grandma gave you, a battered stray dog you found on the side of the highway, or a kid who is so different from you everyone makes fun of you as you walk down the street. You love them and you see how good they are and you hold their hand and you walk through this terrible world with them, both of you a little less alone.”

Brewer will return to Providence in the spring, when the duo will perform an album release celebration concert.  For more information about Big Buncha Buddies and Keith and Bridget’s upcoming music and tour dates, visit www.keithmunslow.com .

generations

Generations Sing Under the Moon

Generations Sing Under the Moon

We enjoyed an extra special bed time as three generations sang along with Under the Moon Jazz Standards and Lullabies, a book and CD combination from The Secret Mountain. Jazz greats like Ella Fitzgerald, Louis Armstrong, and Sarah Vaughn lulled my little girl into a sleepy state and brought her “Gappy” back in time. I was raised on these jazz classics as well, so it is always fun for me to pass on the tradition.

The book includes lyrics, the history behind the songs and artists and stunning illustrations by Ilya Green.

We will enjoy this during quite a few bed time routines.

Thank you to Sugar Mountain PR for our complimentary copy in exchange for this review.

lemonade

Justin Robert’s Lemonade is Sweet!

Justin’s CD, Lemonade, takes me back to my middle school days with the song Dodgeball. How I dreaded that game! And the way he ‘do-wops’ his way through the song with repeated D’s fits the fast paced, cut throat idea behind it. I’m thankful that he makes me laugh about something I hated so much.

The collection of songs is fun and silly, yet touching and sweet. My daughter likes Must Be This Tall and Me And My Kangaroo. She’s tall for a four year old and has surprised me with her bravery on a couple of rides. Disney World is our next adventure. We shall see.

How Lucky We Are brings the sweetness. Justin’s voice and lyrics gently and lovingly remind us of our simple blessings.

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5/29/13 10:03:03 AM —
Justin Roberts and his Not Ready for Naptime Band
. © Todd Rosenberg Photography 2013

You can find this CD and more about Justin Roberts on his website. Thank you to Sugar Mountain PR for our complimentary CD in exchange for this review.