New Music Monday

Welcome to the first Monday of Spring 2019! Or at least I think it’s spring. It’s still on the damp and chilly side here. But what better way to warm up than with new music from children’s performers who may be new to many of you? Let’s take a little tour and meet some of them.

First up I’d like to introduce you to Gro-Town. Danielle Carlomusto is a Detroit-based performer whose first album Motown is Gro-Town is filled with cute food and nature inspired songs that are perfect for this time of year. Each song clocks in around 1-1:30 mins., making them just right for storytime dance breaks. Covering everything from 1950s pop to kindie rock the entire album is enjoyable, with the polka-inspired “Pierogi” being an unexpected delight. Learn more at

Moving now from the Motor City to southeastern Minnesota, here to entertain you is Louis and Dan & the Invisible Band. This duo of dads (who also happen to be professors) come to us from Northfield, MN. Their self-titled album crosses a variety of genres covering everything from rock n roll to country western. Topics vary from the clever imagining of what princesses do when they grow up to the very silly idea of underwear spaghetti.  Grade school aged children will really enjoy the lyrical word play. Check Louis and Dan out at 

Heading back to the eastern Midwest, we come to Columbus, OH, the home of Jordan Lynch & Friends. Their debut album is a collection of fourteen covers that range from the traditional (“Skip to My Lou,” “She’ll be Coming Round the Mountain”) to the pop of “Rainbow Connection” to the less familiar, “The Wild Mountain Thyme.” The album features a wealth of rich accompaniment that employs nearly two dozen different instruments.  The songs are often comprised of an Americana feel that will appeal to fans of Red Yarn and The Okee Dokee Brothers. Created for a great cause, get more information at

And finally we stop by the studio to meet Sir Dapp & the Paw Prints. This fictional animated band includes Sir Dapp ( a silver-haired Schnauzer), his cousin Dollie, his nephew Duffie and their friend Grumpy Gertrude the goose. This album of catchy tunes about kindness and respect never veers into didactic territory thanks to the engaging lyrics that are brought to life by human artists Eli Jacobson and Rachel Potter. Each song is well produced and makes the album feel like it’s the cast recording of a stage show. Really enjoyable. Meet Sir Dapp & the Paw Prints at

Video Premiere – Taco Tuesday performed by The Lucky Band

For years we’ve enjoyed music from the Latin GRAMMY and Emmy Award-winning duo of Lucky Diaz and Alisha Gaddis. Now, after a decade of performing as Lucky Diaz and the Family Jam Band, they are reintroducing themselves to audiences as The Lucky Band.  While their first album under this new moniker, Buenos Diaz, isn’t set to be released until April 5, The Lucky Band is giving fans a preview of their new bilingual music with the debut of videos for some of the tracks off the album.

With that in mind, there’s no better way to celebrate my favorite day of the week than with the video for The Lucky Band’s new song, “Taco Tuesday.” Infused with a retro-dance vibe, kids will love moving and grooving while learning the taco dance! Take a look.

In Tempo with…Johnette Downing

“In Tempo With…” is a new feature that will be popping up on Kids Rhythm and Rock from time to time. It highlights a children’s performer and includes a short Q & A. As we reach the culmination of Mardi Gras, it is my pleasure to spotlight Johnette Downing and her Cajun celebration, Swamp Romp.

Downing is a prolific author and entertainer with almost two dozen picture books and a dozen albums to her credit. A New Orleans native, the folklore and culture of Louisiana is reflected in many of her books and lyrics. Downing’s latest family music album, Swamp Romp, is a collaboration with GRAMMY Award winner Scott Billington. The fifteen original songs in this collection grow from Cajun roots, featuring lots of brass and percussion and rhythms that beg for you to clap and tap along. Many of the tunes like “Mudbug Boogie,” “Bamboula Rhythm,” and “Get Ready, Get Set, Let’s Groove” are designed to get children up and moving and would be great fun to use in a storytime setting or for a Mardi Gras celebration. The chant-like song, “Mississippi River” will have children spelling Mississippi and jamming along in no time. While the entire album embraces Louisiana roots music, several of the songs such as “Who Got the Baby in the King Cake?” “How to Dress a Po’ Boy” and “Crawfish Étouffée” really place listeners in the heart of New Orleans life. Want to learn more about these engaging, entertaining tunes? Don’t miss the detailed liner notes which include background information on each song’s origins as well as some of the album’s guest performers.

Johnette Downing recently took some time to answer a few questions.

Swamp Romp is a celebration of Louisiana roots music featuring a wide variety of instruments, rhythms and subject matters. When you’re writing songs, which comes first – the music or the lyrics?
When writing songs, there is no set method for me. The muse sometimes delivers the lyrics first while other times the melody. For example, Scott and I try to walk three to five miles per day. On one of our walks, I just started singing, out of the clear blue, “When you walk down the street, you can feel it in your feet. It’s the bam-bam-bam-boula rhy-thm.” The beat of the words I sang, “bam-bam-bam-bou-la,” is the exact rhythm of the underlying beat of much of New Orleans music. We stopped immediately and recorded the song on a four-track app we have on our phones. We have this recording app on our phones for this express purpose of capturing melodies or lyrics when they come because you just never know when that spark will fire.

What is your favorite Mardi Gras tradition?
My favorite Mardi Gras tradition is the king cake party. At king cake parties, children (and grown-ups) enjoy slices of this braided pastry, but this is not just any cake. There is a lucky plastic king cake baby hidden inside the cake! Whoever finds the king cake baby in his or her slice of king cake is unofficially crowned king or queen for the day, and is required to host the next king cake party. This tradition ensures that the celebration continues throughout Carnival season. Partygoers will ask, “who got the baby in the king cake,” because they want to know where the next party will take place.

If you could only eat one meal in New Orleans, what would it be?
If I could only eat one meal in New Orleans, it would be charbroiled oysters from Drago’s Restaurant, where I believe the dish was invented. They grill the oysters over an open flame and dress them with butter, garlic, pepper Parmagiano and Romano cheeses. De-lish!

Finish this sentence: Children’s music is…
For me, children’s music is a celebration of childhood. It is vehicle for inspiring children to think, laugh, dance, sing, clap, question, inquire, move, create, express, bond, and learn. In many ways, music is at the very core of being human. It is our heartbeat, our breath, our connection, our comfort and our joy.

**For a taste of Mardi Gras New Orleans style, take a peek at the video for “Bamboula Rhythm” from Swamp Romp. Laissez les bons temps rouler!