John Lennon Songwriting Contest Grand Prize Winner Kelli Welli (aka Kelli Caldwell) returns with Baby Ninja, her fourth album for families. Kelli’s unique style of mixing genres – a little country here, some rock and pop there, and a sprinkle of punk added in for good measure – is what makes this album stand out. Things kick off with the title song, “Baby Ninja,” a rollicking tale of the speed and stealth of a toddler before mixing in over-the-top fun with songs like “Skunk in a Handstand.” While the music is often bold, Kelli’s songwriting skills are brilliantly on display with lyrics that are loving and supportive on songs such as “Superstar” and “I Put My Heart Into” which describes making things like bread, a quilt and a rocking horse with love. In other instances, children feel empowered when Uncle Jumbo joins Kelli on “You’re a Sunny Day” and as she celebrates the strength of young ones in “Hey Little Hero.” The lively album ends on an unexpectedly quiet note with “Frère Jacques in Five,” a rendition of the traditional tune sung in five different languages.
The fun doesn’t end with the album though. Kelli, along with illustrator Belén Toscano, has created a 40-page graphic novel based on the title track. The album cover for Baby Ninja provides an excellent example of just what spirited mayhem to expect.
Below is the video for the track, “Water Baby.” Kelli says of the song and the video, “I’ve always struggled with fear in water, so I wrote this song to express the awe and happiness I’ve felt watching my kids‘ enjoyment in the water. My daughter, especially, was born a water baby. And I’m so grateful for all my cool friends who came out to celebrate their water babies in this video … and reveal their hidden synchronized swimming talents!” Enjoy!
Welcome to Kids Rhythm and Rock’s annual Children’s Music Round Up! For those of you new to the site, at the end of each year, rather than doing a “Top 10” or a “Best of” list, I compile a list of albums that have come to my attention during the last 12 months and separate them into fun categories. The total number of albums that are included varies from year-to-year. This year 45 albums make an appearance in the list below.
The richness and depth that is family music just keeps growing. 2022 saw the introduction of new artists, established acts returning after creative hiatuses, and veteran performers taking risks and trying something new. Let’s say hello to 2023 by taking a look back at the “year that was” in children’s music. All albums are available online. Don’t see your favorites? Please add them in the comments.
Be Mindful, Be Kind
Music to guide our everyday lives.
For Children of All Ages performed by You and Us
Happy Day performed by Jenn Cleary
Just a Minute performed by Jesse Jukebox
Mosaic performed by Jumpin’ Jamie
Nursery Rhymes for Kinder Times performed by Raffi and Lindsay Monroe
Your Voice is Magic performed by Again Again
Sometimes it’s just more fun to sing with a friend.
Best Day Ever performed by Stacey & Athena
Dear Heart performed by Martin and Rose
The Greats performed by Louis & Dan and the Invisible Band
Smith & Yarn performed by Aaron Nigel Smith and Red Yarn
Festival de Música
Music in Spanish and English for the whole family to enjoy.
Los Fabulosos performed by Lucky Diaz and the Family Jam Band
Mi Colores performed by Nathalia
Musiquita performed by Musiquita
Oh, to be Young
Perfect tunes for the preschool crowd
Let’s Move performed by Katie Dwyer
Echo Songs, Vol. 2 performed by Noodle Loaf
Forgot My Oars performed by Tim Seston
Rain Rain Go Away performed by Adam Steele
Wondering performed by Music with Gina
Our Friends to the South
2022 was the year when music from Australia and New Zealand arrived on the scene.
It’s hard to believe, but Halloween is only 13 days away! There’s really no better way to celebrate than with a song that’s spooky, kooky, and a whole lot of fun. The result of a magical partnership between kindred spirits Kelli Welli and Nanny Nikki, “Spooky Kooky Halloween Song” is no trick, just a treat. Joining forces, Kelli and Nikki created a tune that while never scary, still captures the essence of this haunted time of year. Children will especially enjoy the way each eerie sounding verse transitions into a chorus that demands that they dance around and be kooky. Get a preview of “Spooky Kooky Halloween Song” below then head to your favorite streaming service to add it to your list of Halloween favorites!