On February 22nd, Smithsonian Folkways Recordings will release A Life of Song, Ella Jenkins' 29th release for the label since 1957.
Jenkins offers stories and songs that speak to her years growing up as an African American child in multicultural Chicago. Children from Chicago's Donoghue Elementary and Horace Greeley Elementary schools join her in call-and-response singing on well-known songs including "Pick a Bale of Cotton" and "He's Got the Whole World in His Hands," a world that in Jenkins' version includes Martin Luther King, Rosa Parks, Sacajawea, and John F. Kennedy. The album's 21 tracks also include songs from Ella's 1920s Chicago childhood such as "One Two Three O'Leary," which in this rendition is sung both in English and Spanish. It's the first time that Ella has recorded many of these songs that she has shared with generations of children. Ella's pure and simple style will draw you in.
It’s old school meets new school on the get-down CD Groove Kid Nation: The Wheels on the Bus, due for release on March 8th.
The brainchild of keyboardist Rodney Lee who has more than 20 years of experience as a touring sideman, record producer and recording artist, the new CD recasts classic children’s songs as funky soul foot-stompers. Along with the title track, Itsy Bitsy Spider, Froggy Went a Courting, and The Alphabet Song become not just danceable but likeable tunes whose rhythms all but demand repeated listening. A few original pieces are also thrown into the mix. Each tune features a whimsical animal character performing a solo on its instrument, and an enclosed 10-page booklet features illustrations of these new animal friends.
¿Quieres bailar? Moona Luna burst on the kindie scene last year with a soft release of their Latin-licious Pinata Party CD. On March 15th, it will be available nationally at retail stores. Sandra Valasquez leads an accomplished Brooklyn-based band in this collection of sing-able, dance-able tunes. Moona Luna plans several family concerts this spring and summer.
On March 29th, Debbie and Friends will release their first-ever DVD. Story Songs & Sing Alongs features cartoon versions of “Little Red Riding Hood” “Cinderella” and “Jack and the Beanstalk,” plus original songs “Willy Won’t” and “Home Run Ronnie.”
The songs are also featured on Debbie’s two Parents’ Choice and iParenting Media award winning CDs, Story Songs and Sing Alongs and More Story Songs & Sing Alongs. Debbie’s music videos were featured on the TV show “24,” and they have been viewed by hundreds of thousands of fans on YouTube, Jitterbug.tv, Kidz Bop’s Preschool VOD channel, and the Debbie and Friends site. For those traveling to NYC for this year’s Toy Fair, you can meet Debbie at the NewSound Kids booth on Sunday, February 13th.
Grammy weekend celebrates kids' music and storytelling
The Children's Recording Arts Alliance will present the third annual celebration of children's music and storytelling with a gala Family Time! concert featuring most of the 2001 Grammy nominees. The family concert at The Mint in Los Angeles on February 12th will include Justin Roberts, Bill Harley, Steve Pullara and Judy Pancoast, with more nominees confirming soon. A networking lunch will follow the concert.
Over the weekend of February 4 to 6, Sirius-XM's Kids Place Live (channel 116) will air a one-hour Rumpus Room concert with Elizabeth Mitchell and her family. It's sure to be a "Sunny Day" no matter what the weather.