I am not getting paid for this, I just like fellow musical parents to have some better options.
Let’s be honest here. Most music sold to children sucks. I have begged and pleaded with my parents not to purchase “music” that doesn’t have an actual performer, or claims a corporation as its writer. (Yes, I’m looking at you, Baby Einstein.) As a result we have acquired a decent little collection of “other” kid’s music over the years.
So, since Christmas is a-comin’, and some of your grandparental types may require guidance, here are some suggestions for music you might actually want to listen to several thousand times:
1. Connie Kaldor. I seem to recall an interview in which she said that the title song came to her in a cab in New York, but I can’t prove that. This is her first of three children’s albums, but follows an (ongoing) career as a folk singer for adults. The songs are musically diverse, interesting, fun, and funky. Also, the book that comes with the CD is a good bedtime story. We got the second one, too. (A Poodle in Paris.)
2. They Might Be Giants. This link goes to their very own store, which I see has some sweet deals. I think I might get one. This is their newest kid’s CD, which was apparently just nominated for a Grammy. Like, today. Sweet! I feel so with-it for a change.
Also, they do a weekly podcast on youtube so you can preview the videos and music. I think this would be best be categorized as “quirky”. Or possibly “absurd”. They are a favourite of both parents and children at our house (from 3 to 38 years old.)
3. Vivaldi’s Ring of Mystery. Actually, the whole Classical Kids line is well-reviewed, but I have only actually listened to this one. Again, and again, and again. It includes a story with intertwined muscial excerpts. I tried to pawn off Bach as Vivaldi to my 3-yr old the other day because this CD was away from home in the car. He caught me at it. C’mon… a favourite Baroque composer? At three? I blame this CD. There are others from the series in the stash – don’t tell my kids. (I’m pretty sure they don’t read my blog.)
4. Sandra Boynton. You probably know some of her board books. They’re very popular. We’ve had more than one copy of a couple of them because the first one got worn out. This is her imaginary musical revue. With 100% real musicians, cows, and aardvarks. (The aardvarks turn up for intermission.)
5. Yo Yo Ma and Bobby McFerrin. Yes, I saved my favourite for last. I hope you got this far. Go ahead, push the button. I’ll wait.
They did a whole album like that. Brilliant. Get it and be wowed. (Also, I didn’t realize it might be a kid’s album until we’d had it for years. I’m still not sure, but my husband claims it is, so that is the shelf we keep it on. He is also a cellist, in case that holds any sway.)