Award-winning musical artist Kira Willey, best known for her critically acclaimed hit, “Colors,” featured in a Dell laptop commercial in 2008
is releasing her newest CD, “Kings & Queens of the Forest: Yoga Songs for Kids,
“Kings & Queens of the Forest” is the follow-up to Kira Willey’s award-winning debut album, “Dance for the Sun.” The new CD is a unique two-in-one combination of captivating songs and get-up-and-move inspiration. More than just great original tunes that kids (and parents!) will love, it also includes 13 bonus Yoga Tracks and an illustrated booklet with more than 40 simple yoga poses. Yoga has never been more kid-friendly--and family music has never been more active and fun.
"Children are natural yogis," Willey says. "The foundation of yoga is imitating aspects of the natural world--trees, mountains, animals--and kids take to it quickly and easily. And when you set the movements and poses to fun music, children are instantly, and completely, engaged.”
Willey wrote the music and lyrics for all 13 original songs, and plays mandolin, violin, ukulele, and guitar on the album. Her music has been described as upbeat, joyful, and danceable. Sample tracks can be found on: http://www.cdbaby.com/cd/kirawilley2 , and include the following songs:
ROLLER COASTER is a high-energy tune which takes kids on a wild ride that also happens to be great exercise. The children sit close together as if in a roller coaster car, twisting this way and that, and leaning backward with arms overhead shouting “UP, UP, UP, UP, UP…whee!” as the “coaster” climbs and then plummets downward with each hooky chorus.
MR. CRICKET HOP, an uptempo song featuring shimmering acoustic guitars and Kira on mandolin, encourages children to be crickets hopping through the grass. Kids have a blast imitating the crickets’ characteristic sound by lying down and rubbing their feet together, fitting in both squat jumps and supine stretches.
THE MIXING BOWL highlights the mellow sound of fingerpicked nylon string guitar; the partner yoga moves include abdominal strengthening and seated stretching.
KINGS & QUEENS OF THE FOREST, the title track, grew out of Kira’s idea for a song for tree pose, a familiar pose in yoga. With a group of children joining the song’s final, powerful chorus, the song also helps teach kids the significance of old-growth trees, and respect for the earth and our environment.
MAMA NATURE is a gentle, lullaby-like song, touching on a child's wonder about nature. The corresponding yoga moves include simple seated twists and relaxation.
UNDERNEATH THE RAINBOW has a spare arrangement, with a single ukulele and vocals. The song’s focus pose, known in “grownup yoga” as side plank, is here called rainbow pose, with the more familiar cat and cow poses included as well.
Kira Willey grew up in New England playing classical violin and singing with her musical family. While living in New York City, she taught music to young children and realized that her students had the most fun when they were up and moving—wiggling, stretching, dancing. Kira had the idea to combine music and yoga as a way to fully engage kids, giving them the mind/body benefits of yoga plus the joy of hearing many styles of music. She founded Fireflies Musical Yoga for Kids in 2006.
When she began teaching kids’ yoga (after getting certified through Next Generation Yoga and Baby Om, both in New York City), she brought along her guitar and a few tunes she had written. Instant hit: the kids loved it when Kira sang and played, and they always asked for more music. They learned the songs very quickly, sang along, and easily remembered the poses that went with them.
Kira began writing more and more songs to use in class, which eventually inspired her to record “Dance for the Sun: Yoga Songs for Kids,” released in 2007. Thanks to positive word-of-mouth, great reviews, a handful of awards, and (last but not least) a request from Dell to use her song “Colors” in a worldwide ad campaign in 2008, Kira’s music has found a large, diverse and devoted following. Eighteen-year-olds on Facebook, parents of developmentally disabled kids, and at least one monk in Dublin… and many others, have been inspired and moved by her songs.
Kira has received an Independent Music Award for Best Children's Album: “Dance for the Sun,” an Independent Music Award for Best Children’s Song: “Caterpillar Caterpillar,” the Just Plain Folks Best Children’s Song Award: “Colors,” a 2007 Parents’ Choice Award: “Dance for the Sun,” and two Children's Music Web Awards--one for Best Recording for Preschoolers: “Dance For The Sun,” and one for Best Children’s Song: “Caterpillar Caterpillar.”