Friday, May 29, 2009

Do-Division Street Fest

On Saturday, May 30, Dan Zanes & friends will be playing at The Harris Theater in Chicago (205 E Randolph Drive) at 1pm & 4pm.
Tickets $25 adults, $15 kids

If you decide you'd like to go a little more el fresco and bring your family to a fest, there's the Do-Division Street Fest. The fest features kids entertainment all day Saturday and Sunday including myself (shameless self-promotion). This takes place on the Adventure Stage Chicago Family Stage which is located on the corner of Division and Leavitt streets.

Saturday, May 30th
12:00 - 12:45 - Tall Tales Storytellers (The Mill)
1:00 - 1:45 - Jeanie B!
2:00 - 2:30 - Hogwash: An Improvised Tall Tale
2:45 - 3:15 - Kiara
3:30 - 4:15 - Mr. Singer & Kerry Appleberry
4:30 - 5:15 - The Mime Company
5:30 - 6:00 - Super Stolie

Sunday, May 31st
12:00 - 12:45 - Mary Macaroni
1:00 - 1:45 - Chang's Martial Arts
2:00 - 3:30 - The Schnozberries
3:45 - 4:15 - Quest Theatre Ensemble
4:30 - 5:00 - Rock for Kids - All Star Choir
5:15 - 6:00 - Little Miss Ann Band
Sunday, May 31st
12:00 - 12:45 - Mary Macaroni
1:00 - 1:45 - Chang's Martial Arts
2:00 - 3:30 - The Schnozberries
3:45 - 4:15 - Quest Theatre Ensemble
4:30 - 5:00 - Rock for Kids - All Star Choir
5:15 - 6:00 - Little Miss Ann Band

Tuesday, May 26, 2009

Roky Erickson

So this has absolutely nothing to do with family music. I watched a really good documentary "You're gonna miss me" Sunday night at our friends' house. You guys have probably already heard of this guy, Roky Erickson. He's this great musician who sadly has been affected by mental illness - specifically Schizophrenia. It's kind of a "Daniel Johnston" story. Anyways, I posted this video because the title sounds like a kids song. Also, because I finally figured out how to post a video off of Youtube. Yeah!

Friday, May 22, 2009

Tricia Sebastian - Corazon Alegre

When I go to the grocery store, I often visit the ethnic aisle. I might grab some soy sauce or some miso soup, or some tortillas. Luckily, I do have access to specific ethnic grocery stores that offer me even more wide variety than the ethnic aisle at the grocery store. I feel the same way about "ethnic" kids music. Although I enjoy certain popular kids music "ethnic" compilations, I am also aware that there is a whole world out there of cultural music beyond a mix cd.
As a former Chicago Public School teacher, I'm also firm believer that kids should have all different types of role models. Kids musicians are role models. It is for the above reasons, that I am happy to write about Tricia Sebastian's second cd, "Corazon Alegre".

Corazon Alegre/Happy Heart is an ideal CD for parents who want to introduce their children to English and Spanish music. fusion of international rhythms. The cd opens up with a Hairspray-like radio broadcast song, "Wake up". Songs about foods like "Arroz con Leche" and "Mmmm Tortillas" are nice alternatives to songs about Peanut Butter and Jelly sandwiches.

Tricia is originally from Corpus Christi, Texas, performs and records bilingual children’s music in the Chicagoland area. Several songs from her first album, Canta Conmigo, have been featured in many children’s compilations CDs and the song “El Chocolate” was rerecorded in New York City for a national television commercial for Quaker’s Chocolate Oat Crunch Life Cereal. It was also aired on ABC’s hit sitcom Ugly Betty.

As an educator, Tricia directs the Coro de Las Americas children’s choir and the Latin Songs ensemble for the Old Town School of Folk Music where she has also taught bilingual Wiggleworms for many years. Since 2000, Tricia has enjoyed working in the Chicago public schools as a teaching artist for Ravinia Festivals Music Discovery outreach program.

Thank you Tricia, for offering something beyond the ethnic aisle - something so rich in culture and diversity. Also, thank you for being a role model to spanish speaking kids as well as english speaking kids! Muchas Gracias!!!

Wednesday, May 20, 2009

Couples who make Kids Music

Yesterday my husband and I celebrated 9 years of marriage. 15 years together. My husband is the drummer in my band (The Little Miss Ann Band) and does the cover art for my kids cd's. More importantly, he has provided tremendous moral support. When our daughter was little and we had just bought our humble home, my husband supported my idea to use my scant savings to make my first kids cd just because. . .

Married duos are no new thing to music in general. Couples like Captain and Tennille, John and Yoko, and Sonny and Cher have sung and played music together over music history.

Kids music is no different. My all-time favorate, Elizabeth Mitchell and her husband, Daniel Littleton, (and daughter Storey) are not only a family unit but they are a working band. They have created 4 soulful folk-rock kids cd's (as well as adult music too). One was with Lisa Loeb and their last cd was a Smithsonian folkways recording.

Another husband and wife duo that make kids music are called the Innocence Mission. After making several grown-up cd's, Don and Karen Peris worked together to create a dreamy kids cd called "Now the day is Over".

My husband and I played music before we had our daughter like the others I mentioned. The only big difference for us is that we never had a little person sleeping up in her room while we were practicing in the basement before.

Tuesday, May 19, 2009

Laura Doherty "Kids in the City"

There's something that happens to a lot of parents in major cities like Chicago when their kid turns around two and they're getting ready to have another child. They come to a major crossroads in their lives and decide whether they want to stay in the city or move out of the city. My husband and I just like many other people we know decided we wanted to raise our daughter in the city. While we mourn not having a big yard, easy errands, and a school our daughter can walk to, we celebrate music, art, theater, alternative lifestyles, and culture everywhere we look. (Note: these things do exist outside of the city but I don't think to the degree that most major cities have them.)

That is one reason I give props to Laura Doherty and her newest CD "Kids in the City" Using Chicago as her inspiration, Doherty writes about the El Train, skyscrapers, the Farmer’s Market, the zoo (Lincoln Park), and all the wonders of the city, as seen through a child’s eyes.
My favorate song on the cd is "I spy".

Doherty is also the director of the Wiggleworms program at the Old Town
School of Folk Music in Chicago and has been teaching in the program for over a decade.
In Chicago, taking a Wiggleworms class is like a rite of passage for parents/babies. I'm not just saying that either because I am a Wiggleworms instructor. Anyways, Doherty also co-produced and performed on the CD “Wiggleworms Love You”, a Parent’s Choice
Award winner.

"Old McDonald", "Down by the Bay" will always be standards in the kids music world, but I think there's still plenty of room for new themes for the urban child.

Saturday, May 16, 2009

Ella Jenkins

Today I seriously stopped in my tracks. I was on my way to do an event at a park, and who do I see, Ella Jenkins??? My heart started beating. I wanted to say hello but I was too scared. Yeah, I know I'm a chicken. I just had too many things to say to her. Anyways, Ella Jenkins blows me away for so so many reasons. Firstly, the album "You'll Sing a Song, and I'll sing a Song" was my daughter's favorate album as a baby. Also, being an octogenerian (someone in their 80's) and still playing music for kids is another reason. Add to that, that she has received the Lifetime Achievement Award and some Smithsonian Folkways recordings. Along with her ukelele, harmonica, guitar, and percussion instruments, Ella Jenkins has been playing interactive music for kids for over 40 years! I bow down to Ella.

Thursday, May 14, 2009

Gustafer Yellowgold

So Wednesday night, I drove out to a mall in the Chicago burbs to see Gustafer Yellowgold with my daughter at Barnes and Noble. I'll be honest it was a school night. My daughter said she'd only go with me if we could only stay for 2-4 songs. She's 7 years old. What can I say? Anyways, we stayed for 6 songs!

Wow! Not only is Morgan Taylor extremely crushable, he's multi-talented. He is a singer/songwriter, an illustrator and a storyteller. He created this whole multi-media show with a little yellow cone-headed guy named Gustafer Yellowgold. I especially loved Gustafer's little eel friend. Anyways, Taylor's narrates and sings throughout the trippy "yellow submarine" like animated show. I loved that the animations were hand-drawn and not overly computerized. His voice and the songs were also really good!

Gustafer Yellowgold is from NY and is passing through. Don't miss your chance to see his show. He'll be playing two shows on May 16th at Schuba's, 3160 N. Southport - 11 am and 4 pm.

Tuesday, May 12, 2009

Laura Doherty May 17th

Laura Doherty will be playing a cd release concert at the Beat Kitchen on Sunday, May 17th at noon. $5 cover. Laura is the Wiggleworms director at the Old Town School of Folk Music and has come out with her debut kids cd, "Kids in the City". If you are Chicago-centric like me, you'll enjoy the "el" train and "hot dog" references on her cd!

Monday, May 11, 2009

Gustafer Yellowgold

Gustafer Yellowgold will be at Barnes and Noble in Skokie on Wed. May 13th at 7pm for free. They will also be at Schuba's on Sat. May 16th, 11 a.m. and 4pm for $10.

From what I"ve listened to Gustafer Yellowgold sounds like Donovan meets Elliott Smith. And I like it! I think it's worth packing up the kids and heading out to Old Orchard on Wednesday or over to Southport on Saturday. Hey make it a day on Saturday, and go over to Uncle Fun's Toy Store and then over to Murphy's for a Chicago-style hot dog!!!

Sunday, May 3, 2009

Stinkfest Commentary

Stinkfest was amazing. It was at this really cool place called the Jalopy. The Jalopy is a musical venue/bar/coffeehouse/guitar shop. I talked to the owner and guess what? They were from Chicago and modeled the place after Old Town School of Folk Music!!! Anyways, the Jalopy set the tone of whole day as well as the stunning weather. History was being made. This was the first-ever family music conference of this magnitude. Artists, promotors, writers, distributors, bookers, and other music professionals were coming together to share knowledge on the fastest growing industry in music today. The four discussion panels were all relaxed yet very informative. They included Promotion, Booking, Distribution, and discussion about TV, Books, and Beyond. The best part about this whole event was the sense of community amongst everyone there. Tor Hymans said it best. He talked about how we have chance to do family music in a different way and that there were no limits.

Here is a great quote from, a blog from the founder/CEO of Sonicbids, Panos Panay, "Children’s music artists: you have my respect. I can assure you you’ll be seeing a lot more appropriate listings on Sonicbids in the near future. P.S. Talk about creative. The entire Stinkfest took place in a cool theater called Jalopy. We need more music events that happen in music venues. Enough with the boring hotel decore."