Album Spotlight – “Levity Beet and the Aotearoa All Stars”

As New Zealand Music Month wraps up, I’d like to turn our attention to the southern hemisphere and the latest outing from Levity Beet. Levity Beet and the Aotearoa All Stars, the first album from Levity’s new label “Wildbeet Records,” is chock full of New Zealand notables and features collaborations with 12 different writers/performers/producers from New Zealand’s rich family music industry. Special guests include familiar names like Itty Bitty Beats, Music with Michal, and Claudia Robin Gunn as well as names that might be new to American audiences such as Suzy Cato, Craig Smith, fleaBITE, Kath Bee, Judy Cranston, Chris Sanders, Mr. Roberelli, MLO, and Loopy Tunes. 

When Levity Beet and the collaborators met to write the 12 tracks on this album, they used the broad concept of things that they remembered really loving as children. With that idea as their guide they created a collection of songs that emphasize play, imagination, silliness, and unbridled joy. Many of the tunes feature interactive elements such the made for storytime track “Funny Little Bunny,” “Jump,” the perfect summer song, and “One Baby Burger Cook” a jump roping chant. Additional songs like “Let’s Build This Home” encourages playing pretend and “Silly Sausage” is, well, just plain silly. Levity Beet and the Aotearoa All Stars hits all the right notes and will have listeners seeking out more music from everyone featured. Adorable animated lyric videos are available on Levity Beet’s YouTube channel.


Song Spotlight – “Happy Feet”

Released on February 5, “Happy Feet” is a wonderful take on the “freeze dance” that will get listeners tiptoeing, jumping, and doing the dance and jive around the room. Continuing the theme from the last post about artists creating cross-continent collaborations, after writing “Happy Feet,” Los Angeles-based singer/songwriter Ashley Mills Monaghan started brainstorming potential duet partners and immediately thought of New Zealand-based award-winning children’s performer Music with Michal ,and soon a wonderful new partnership was born. Listening to the seamless way that Ashley and Michal’s voices combine, it’s hard to imagine that the entire song was created by simply sending wav files back and forth through email. Ashley and Michal adeptly meet each other note for note, mirroring each other’s energy and joy. The result is an engaging, earworm of a song that is perfect to use during storytime, in preschool classes to burn off a little energy, or at home. Everyone’s feet will be happy after dancing to this tune!