Monday, July 18, 2016

My Favorite Children's Musicians

I truly enjoy listening to children's music.  Probably more than my kids do.  Pretty much all of the kids' music I consider "good" is actually folk music, which might explain why I love it so much.

That said, I almost universally dislike when children themselves are singing the songs.  The little voices just tend to sound so whiny!  I prefer an adult singer with some simple but well-performed accompaniment.

Here is a list of my top recommendations for children's artists:

1. Nancy Cassidy
This is the woman I grew up listening to!  I have mega nostalgia when it comes to her albums, and still know every song by heart.  They were originally released by Klutz.  Each album historically came with a lyric book so kids can follow along (we had the cassette tapes growing up).  I'm not sure if the newest version of the cds comes with these, but I'd bet you can find them on eBay.  She has a great voice, and it's easy to sing along.

KidsSongs Jubilee (my favorite)
KidsSongs 2

2. Raffi
I never heard of Raffi as a child.  How is that even possible?  I feel like everyone else my age grew up with his music.  Now I know I was really missing out!  We now have a ton of his albums, and I love them all.  He's quite a prolific artist!  Here are all the ones I can definitely recommend:

Singable Songs for the Very Young
Baby Beluga
Rise and Shine
One Light, One Sun
Everything Grows
Bananaphone (one of the kids' favorites)
More Singable Songs
The Corner Grocery Store
Raffi's Christmas Album
Raffi Radio (Tom and I have been known to put on the song 'Coconut' even after the kids are in bed just because it's so enjoyable)
Let's Play

As I was compiling this list, I discovered that he has two new albums I've never even listened to!  It genuinely feels like I discovered a goldmine, and I just declared to Tom that Sly and Stella will each be receiving a Raffi album for their birthdays next month :-)

3. Elizabeth Mitchell
She's a newer artist than the others I've mentioned. I first heard her lovely voice at a friends' house, when she put on an album for her children.  Elizabeth sings a lot of modern renditions of traditional folk songs.  Her stuff is probably the easiest to find at your local library.

You Are My Sunshine
You Are My Little Bird
Little Seed (my all-time favorite - all the songs are covers of Woody Guthrie songs)
Sunny Day

4. Peggy and Mike Seeger
A sister and brother duo (their half-brother is Pete Seeger).  I only have one of their albums (so far!), but I've been loving it.  On this, they are singing the entire collection of folk songs their mother Ruth published in one of her several song books (see it here).

American Folk Songs for Children

I recently found another of Ruth Seeger's books at a library book sale, and it's a sweet collection of songs.  I've seen that the siblings recorded an album of these as well, and I'm looking forward to hearing it sometime.

5. Making Music Praying Twice
I really like the idea of this program, intended to teach music and rhythm (and a bit of the Faith) to young children.  The song selections are pretty good, though I'll say that the singers' voices/singing style is sometimes not my favorite.  But it's a great intro to some simple, fun songs for kids.  I've heard my children singing songs off these albums more than any of the other ones, even though I've played them less times.

Making Music Praying Twice Family Edition


Who are your family's favorite children's artists?  I'd love to give them a listen!

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  1. Not folksongs, but check out Jon Lithgow's "Singin' in the Bathtub" collection. It is remakes of old songs done in silly ways. Very clever and entertaining. I love your recommendations, thank you!

  2. I LOVED Nancy Cassidy when I was a kid! I've sort of forgotten to introduce my own kids to her though! Thanks for the reminder :)

  3. I really enjoy Elizabeth Mitchell too. I think my favorite album of hers is Catch the Moon with Lisa Loeb.

    My kids have always been big into instrumentals. Years ago when my oldest was 3 he was getting antsy on a car ride and The Jurassic Park Theme came on our Ipod shuffle. We told him that this was a song about dinosaurs. He listened intently and requested it again and again. We were able to do that with the whole John Williams album: "Jaws" was a song about a great white shark, "Hook" was a song about Peter Pan, "Superman" "E.T." "Star Wars" etc. It doesn't even matter that they've never seen these. We showed the kids the Disney Fantasia movies and now they love that soundtrack too, which is pretty much just classical music. We have 'youtube' nights sometimes and we all watch The Piano Guys videos together. I don't know if you are Amazon Prime subscribers, but all of The Piano Guys albums are on there for free.

    My kids also love Sandra Boynton's cds. Most of them I would not recommend. But the country one, "Frog Trouble" is pretty good. Maybe just because I'm a country fan. Man I love Alison Krauss.

  4. Check out The Okee Dokee Brothers! Their song Along for the Ride makes me tear up! They are a folky band as well and a lot of their songs are written while on adventures! Also love Trout Fishing in America. Nice and folky but funny!