Sunday, December 16, 2012

Weekend Music Roundup (Child Artist Edition)

The horrible events of Friday really shook me as I wondered how anyone could take the lives of so many children. As someone who has devoted their entire professional career to bringing joy to children, it is inconceivable to me that someone could commit such a unthinkable crime. For the roundup this week, I decided to share some of my favorite albums sung by children. One of the things that is so inspiring about children is the enthusiasm and joy they bring to most everything they do. With every child we lose, the world loses a little bit of hope and happiness. I think all of our hearts go out to everyone who will miss those who were taken long before their time.

The Collins Kids - The Rockin'est: In the '50s, this brother and sister team appeared regularly on TV and played fantastic rockabilly. This compilation includes 22 of their best toe-tapping songs.

Maya Bond - Pink Drums, Purple Lights: This is a four year old singing & talking over music. The music is pretty interesting and the stories are pretty fun. The album is like having a four year old tell you a story that makes no sense...if you enjoy that, you'll enjoy this. Sample lyric:"There was a castle and it was very dark, And there was a beast live inside the castle. There was 125 + 3 wolves that been there."

The Langley Schools Music Project: Innocence & Despair: A collection of pop/rock covers done by school children, this was the first album I ever bought sung by children and it opened my eyes to how amazing it could sound. You haven't heard "Desperato" until you've heard it sung by a gradeschooler.

The Children of Sunshine - Dandelions: Two 8 year old girls who wrote their own songs and recorded them back in 1971. This is a playful record of beautiful hippy folky stuff. It's also one of a handful of "Holy Grail" records that I constantly search for. I recently communicated with one of the girls, now in her fifties, who is still overwhelmed by the outpouring of love for this album. "It's a long way to heaven, but I know we're gonna make it." 

Shisho - Shisho Will Punch You: In 2008, these two sisters put out this hilarious EP. "America Will Punch You" is brilliant, and their cover of "True Faith" is great. Silliness is something kids do best.

Shirley Temple - Oh My Goodness: The charm of Shirley's songs is that she sings like every child. She doesn't have a grown up voice...that's what makes the songs endearing. 

Smoosh - Free to Stay: These Seattle sisters have made three wonderful albums, this 2006 sophomore effort being my favorite. Beautifully sad music from the mind of middle schoolers.

Karine et Rebecca - Moi je dors avec Nounours: A blend of old world organ music and a voices that sound like the little white mouse on Tom & Jerry combine to make these very intriguing and entertaining 45s from the '60s. Perhaps the fact the girls sing in French adds to the appeal because I can't understand the more than likely silly lyrics. Delightful stuff.

Tiny Masters of Today - Bang Bang Boom Cake:  The 2007 debut from Ivan and Ada, two Brooklyn siblings, is one of the shining records of the mid 2000's Kidcore scene (kids making rock music). The music is heavy garage rock, though with some interesting turntable action here and there. The brother and sister take turns singing songs, which are surprisingly political and not-surprisingly insightful. This an album of kids rebelling against the materialism and imperialism of the Bush years. "K.I.D.S." and "Hey Mr. DJ" are great. A solid rock record no matter what age the performers. 

Care Bears on Fire - I Stole Your Animal: In 2007, these middle school girls released this debut album of garage rock derived rock. Though simple, it really rocks.

For more great Kidcore albums, see my list here.

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