What do Hanukkah and Andromeda have in common? After listening to the new song from Lard Dog & The Band of Shy several times, I’m still not quite sure, but I am here for it. Just in time for the start of Hanukkah, this little ditty takes the joy of the holiday and turns it up to eleven. Filled with silly, yet informative, lyrics (where else will you hear the words menorah, dreidel, and Spock all in the same sentence) “Hanukkah on Andromeda” tells listeners of the eight days and nights that are the Festival of Lights during this humanoid holiday. Performed with quirky abandon by lead dog Steve Erdman and featuring a klezmer-esque guitar break, this song is a sure fire way to get kids on their feet and dancing. Whether you take a close listen to the tune to learn a thing of two about Hanukkah, or just enjoy the frenetic, fun beat, “Hanukkah on Andomeda” is definitely a song to give a whirl this holiday season.
I love Christmas music. As a kid, we always started listening to Christmas records (a Readers Digest compilation album, Burl Ives, Bing Crosby) right after we watched the Macy’s Parade on Thanksgiving Day and didn’t stop until after dinner on Christmas Day. And every year we anxiously awaited for the night that our favorite Christmas song-based holiday shows would be on – Rudolph the Red Nosed Reindeer, Santa Claus is Comin’ to Town, Frosty the Snowman, and A Charlie Brown Christmas.
It’s hard to remember now, but A Charlie Brown Christmas (1965) was the first television special based on the Peanuts comic strip. Every year my sister and I would scour the TV Guide for it because we didn’t want to miss Charlie Brown trying to put together a community Christmas play and Linus telling us about the true meaning of Christmas. As a kid, I didn’t know what jazz music was exactly, but I knew that I loved the music in this show. From the iconic “Linus and Lucy” to the lovely “O Tannenbaum” to the unforgettable “Christmas Time is Here,” every note perfectly matched the tone and message of the special.
One of the greatest things about the music that the Vince Guarldi Trio created for A Charlie Brown Christmas is the fact that the music can stand all on its own. While listening to the soundtrack does at points evoke scenes from the show, overall it goes beyond just being a soundtrack for a TV special and instead becomes the soundtrack for the season. As the days leading up to Christmas take on an even more frenetic pace and everyone’s patience becomes thin, take a few minutes to sit back and enjoy the soothing sounds of A Charlie Brown Christmas. (Oh, and speaking of albums, have you seen the LP for this one? It’s on green vinyl!!)
Welcome to the second annual Kids Rhythm and Rock Children’s Music Roundup! Oh what a year 2019 was for children’s music with a cornucopia of sounds, fantastic messages and moments of fun combining for a true wealth of musical riches, Whether you check the CDs out from the library or listen to them on your favorite streaming service, all of the albums below are definitely worth a listen (or two, or three…).
Be Mindful, Be Kind
The Love Performed by Alphabet Rockers
Kindred Performed by Renee & Friends
Under the Big Umbrella Performed by Brady Rymer and the Little Band That Could
Ageless: Songs for the Child Archetype Performed by Jon Samson
Unique Musical Stylings
Finding Friends Far From Home: A Journey with Clara Net Performed by Oran Etkin
Shake It and Break It Performed by Randy Kaplan
Earworm Performed by Sean McCollough
Based on a Podcast
Backstroke Raptor Performed by The Story Pirates
Regional Superstars You Should Know
Put Your Arms in the Air Performed by Cowboy Andy (based in Montana)
Kith & Kin Performed by Duke Otherwise (based in Wisconsin)
We Only Have One Earth
These albums each contain several songs that celebrate the flora and fauna on this rock we call home.
Can You Feel It? Performed by Jessa Campbell & the Saplings
It Takes a Village Performed by Ginalina
Positronic Performed by Marsha and the Positrons
Rock ‘n’ Roll Dads
The Long and the Short of It
All I Do is Hop Performed by Grin Brigade (29 tracks)
The Robot Performed by Ants Ants Ants (4 tracks)
Thank You, and Goodnight!
Now That We’re Home: Lullabies & Love Songs Performed by KB Whirly
Listening to “Marley Sitting on a Pumpkin Seed” has had me thinking a lot about the role that pumpkins have played in my life. Growing up, pumpkins were a big deal at our house. We would grow our own pumpkins, carve them for Halloween and the very next day my mom would cook them down and freeze the pumpkin to be used for pies at Thanksgiving and bread at Christmas. While many folks around us would bake their pumpkin seeds to eat as a snack, we would dry ours out to plant the following year.
As an adult, sometimes we grow our own pumpkins and other times, like this year, we go to a local pumpkin farm and pick some out to take home. Now, rather than carve our pumpkins, we sit them in the front yard and project videos of singing jack o’lanterns on them during Halloween and use them as decoration leading up to Thanksgiving. This November though, the squirrels had a different plan and within two weeks post-Halloween had eaten so much from the inside of the pumpkins that they collapsed in on themselves (the pumpkins, not the squirrels). My husband decided to put the fate of the pumpkins in Mother Nature’s hands and dumped the whole pulpy mess in the garden to see if any of the seeds will surprise us next summer by taking root all on their own.
In Simon Stanley’s recently released bluegrass-infused single, “Marley Sitting on a Pumpkin Seed,” a little tiny girl is sitting on a seed while listening to the music blowing in the breeze. This lyrical video features a lovely image of Marley, created by Auckland designer Rebecca Ter Borg. In the song, Marley is introduced to various instruments while the melody encourages viewers to clap and tap along. Listening to this upbeat ditty, I just close my eyes and imagine that there is a tiny Marley or two enjoying my pumpkin seeds and the music in the leaves as they continue to fall from the trees. “Marley Sitting on a Pumpkin Seed” is the perfect way to bid fall farewell.