In children’s music, something incredible happened as a direct result of the pandemic – collaboration. Sure, artists worked together on occasion before, but never like they do today. “Joy, Spice, Soul” is a perfect example of just one of the amazing collaborations happening right now. On this uplifting track, two-time GRAMMY winner Lucy Kalantari is joined by brand new GRAMMY winner Falu and GRAMMY nominee Fyütch in creating a slice of happiness. In this jazzy, upbeat tune, the basic melody remains constant as each of the performers brings their own style of music (jazz, soul, classical Indian) to the lyrics. When their voices join together, it’s pure magic. As they aptly declare, “We bring different flavors but sing the same song/Brothers and sisters let’s all sing along.” Take a listen below while you dance around the room celebrating the “Joy, Spice, Soul” in life!
Welcome to Kids Rhythm and Rock’s fourth annual Children’s Music Roundup! For those of you new to the blog, each year rather than doing a best of list, instead, I compile a list of my favorite albums.
2021 was an amazing year for children’s music with innumerable new artists making their way into the spotlight while more established acts continued to create incredible music and forged new musical partnerships with those they met along the way. Let’s say hello to 2022 by taking a look back at “the year that was” in children’s music. Don’t see your favorites listed below? Add them in the comments!
Be Mindful, Be Kind
Music to guide our everyday lives.
- A Mind of Your Own performed by The Bright Siders
- Maybe by Next Year performed by Kid Pan Alley
- Frogs and Birds performed by Lindsay Munroe with Raffi
- Yoga Dreamland performed by Putamayo
Fun, fantastic tunes to brighten any day.
- A Colorful World performed by Falu
- You Are Magic performed by Allison Faith Levy
- 28 Days performed by Little Miss Ann
- Make it Happen! performed by Stacey Peasley
- I Am performed by Shine and the Moonbeams
This was always my favorite Jeopardy! category. In this case, it’s a fun way to group the jazziest jazz, the quirkiest tunes, and songs on some popular topics together.
- Seconds performed by Ben Tatar and the Tatar Tots
- It’s for You performed by Flula Borg and Go Banana Go!
- What Kind of World? performed by Lucy Kalantari and the Jazz Cats
- Planetary Promenade performed by Billy Kelly
- From My Head to My Toes performed by Music with Mandy
- Ponderosa Bunchgrass & the Golden Rule performed by The Oot N’ Oots
Regional Superstars You Should Know
It’s easy to forget that our talented local performers aren’t well known all across the country. Here’s some from the past year everyone should give a try.
- All Together Now performed by Esther Crow (New York)
- Music Makes Me Happy performed by Katie Dwyer (New York)
- The Grumpytime Club performed by Carrie Ferguson (Massachusetts)
- Sing Your Song Performed by The Harmonica Pocket (Washington)
- All Together performed by Kathryn the Grape (California)
I dare you to try and sit still while listening to these albums!
- Crayon Kids performed by Lucky Diaz and the Family Jam Band
- Ready, Set, Go! performed by Divinity Roxx
- Invisible performed by Father Goose
- Family Tree performed by Fyütch
- Slow Clap performed by Koo Koo Kangaroo
Unique Musical Stylings
There was nothing else quite like these albums this year.
- Young Maestros, Vol. 1 performed by Tracy Bonham (these could be showtunes)
- Black to the Future performed by Pierce Freelon (Afrofuturism)
- Folk for Little Folk, Vol.1 performed by Gordie MacKeeman (award-winning fiddling)
- Okay to Be Different performed by SaulPaul (rap)
- The Beat Bach Symphonies performed by Secret Agent 23 Skidoo (rap with a symphony orchestra)
- The Strawberry Band performed by The Story Pirates (music based on children’s stories)
Visiting with Old Friends
- Let’s Go! performed by Laurie Berkner
- Love Me for Who I Am: The Remix performed by Brady Rymer
- Sharon, Lois & Bram Best of the Best Live performed by Sharon, Lois & Bram
- We’re All Fruit Salad performed by The Wiggles
Wide World of Music
These albums feature music in Spanish, Spanish and English, and music from as far away as New Zealand.
- Activate performed by 123 Andrés
- Pachamama performed by Flor Bromley
- Danilo & Chapis, Vol 1 performed by Danilo & Chapis
- Esperanza performed by Sonia De Los Santos
- Sing Through the Year performed by Claudia Robin Gunn
- A Mi Me Gusta Ser Yo *It’s Ok To Be Me performed by Twinkle Time
With a Little Help From My Friends
2021 was a year of amazing partnerships and collaborations.
- All One Tribe performed by 1 Tribe Collective
- Let It Out! performed by Mil’s Trills
- Let Love Be Your Guide performed by Dan & Claudia Zanes
On June 17, President Biden signed the Juneteenth National Independence Day Act into law, making June 19 a federal holiday. Today’s video spotlight commemorates and celebrates Juneteenth. Music and social justice artists Fyütch and Alphabet Rockers have teamed up to set the historical record straight on the emancipation of slaves in the United States. Working with African American historian and scholar Dr. Sherri Arnold Mehta, they created “Juneteenth,” an anthem that honors the soldiers and families who strategized and worked for the freedom of all. This song is based in Dr. Mehta’s research which focuses on letters written by Black men who served in the United States Colored Troops (USCT) during the Civil War. Dr. Mehta is the descendant of two ancestors who served in the USCT. Her ancestor Jefferson Michie, who was present in Galveston, TX on June 19, 1865 for the reading of General Order No. 3, is on the cover art (above) of this song. Do you know the story of Juneteenth? Watch the video for “Juneteenth” below to learn more.
It’s been quite the year for students across the nation. Throughout the myriad of challenges – remote learning, hybrid learning, in-person learning, in school all day with very little movement from the classroom, wearing masks all day, not seeing friends, not seeing loved ones – our kids have shown an amazing amount of resiliency. Not only did they adapt, but with all that was going on, they still managed to participate, learn, and have some fun while “in school.” I’m in awe of the kids I see everyday. Yes, many have struggled, but many have also found ways to thrive and they are coming back stronger than ever before because they saw things this year. They experienced things this year. They hurt and they found joy. But most importantly, they made it. From the preschooler to the high school senior, it’s time to celebrate all those kids (and the families behind them!) who reached that life milestone of graduation.
Let’s start things off with “Ace It” from SaulPaul‘s recently released album OK to Be Different. “Ace It” recognizes the challenges that students face both at school and at home, as well as the reward when all that hard work pays off with graduation. One of my favorite phrases is “Life is a test…Ace It. Show up. Show out. Shine. Repeat.”
With graduation season having already started in some places, but running through the middle of June in others, let’s cap things off with a dance party from Fyütch with SaulPaul. “Graduation Bop” will have students moving and grooving across the stage to lyrics filled with praise. “You did it, you’re moving on up. Today we’re celebrating, we gon’ turn it up. You made it. What an accomplishment. Put on your cap and gown and get ready. It’s your graduation.” Congratulations to ALL of the 2021 graduates. This was a year for the books and as the song says, “you made it.” Celebrate!
Fyütch is an incredible one-of-a-kind performer. He’s the master of the theme song remix, a social justice artist, an entertainer who combines music and visuals in new, inclusive ways (ASL plus a slow jam = awesome!) and family music performer. Last fall he debuted the fantastic “Indigenous Peoples Day Song for Kids” and just two weeks ago premiered his newest family music offering – “Black Women in History” which features Rissi Palmer and Snooknuk.
One of the things that elevates the song and video “Black Women in History” is that rather than focus on women that we are all familiar with, Fyütch instead chooses to weave lesser known, but equally important, historical figures like Fannie Lou Hamer, Juno Frankie Pierce, and Claudette Colvin into the song’s narrative. Not only does Fyütch weave them in, but he draws a line through history showing how the groundbreakers paved the way for today’s amazing women. A great example of this is highlighting Rebecca Crumpler, the first Black woman with a medical degree followed by the first Black, female veterinarians and ending with Dr. Kizzy who helped create the COVID-19 vaccine. Photographs of each woman mentioned in the song appear throughout the video. The lyrics are displayed on the screen in an easy to read manner that adds to the depth of the song by ensuring that listeners don’t miss a single thing. Enjoy this tour through history then ask your local library to help you find more information about these awe-inspiring women!