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Songs of the Summer for Kids

Summertime is party time and camp time, and this month’s artists create worthy soundscapes for both.



Camp Lisa by Lisa Loeb

Johnette Downing’s Swamp Romp is a year- round Louisiana dance party packed with Mardi Gras spirit. Downing and Scott Billington have captured the danceable delight of Louisiana roots music in a well-produced collection of (mostly) original songs. “Poor Worry Anna” is a smooth retro homage to the worrywart in our lives. “Bamboula Rhythm” features an outstanding horn section. The traditional accordion, fiddle and rhythms are here, along with some lovely flute work on the delightful “Mississippi River.” Downing’s throaty vocals lend intimacy to the whole shebang. It’s a wonderful introduction to this Pied Piper of Louisiana music traditions and her collection of music and books.

Mista Cookie Jar & the Chocolate Chips is a high spirited kids’ band fronted by CJ Pizarro. I have never heard a song from Mista Cookie Jar that didn’t make me happy. This remarkable and prolific spirit’s latest release welcomes kindie superstar Secret Agent 23 Skidoo on another universal love song, “Rock This World.” Wherever this outstanding entertainer’s music is heard is where the party is. Check out his whole catalog.

Kindie Legend Laurie Berkner makes it easy to throw a party with her music, both her Party Day CD/DVD and The Dance Remixes. The latter is a brilliant 14-song collection of her classics, meant to get toes tapping. Note: It’s also a pretty amazing workout CD.

Big news in the kindie community involves a name change for Lucky Diaz’s band. Grammy winners Diaz and Alisha Gaddis are now the Lucky Band, with us the lucky ones. Their Buenos Diaz CD is a wonderful party soundtrack, featuring Spanish/English-combined songs that truly represent what’s great about this remarkable duo.

Summer means camp, both formal and backyard. KB Whirly and Lisa Loeb have created nice collections mixing camp-centric covers like “Hello Muddah Hello Faddah” (KB Whirly’s Camp Songs Vol. 1) and fun songs with a summer camp sound to them like Lisa Loeb’s “The Disappointing Pancake” on her Camp Lisa CD. Loeb’s own wonderful camp experiences inspiredCamp Lisa, with sales of the CD going to her nonprofit sending kids to camp. “The Disappointing Pancake” also appears on her Silly Singalong CD.

KB Whirly is a one-stop shop for music to fill every hour of a summer day. The catalog of this one-man band from Boston includes camp songs and funk for parties (Songs From the Whirly House). His fourth release Now that We’re Home is a gorgeously simple collection of lullabies and love songs that will wind down your day beautifully.

Kathy O’Connell is a contributing writer to MetroKids and host of the Peabody award-winning Kids Corner, on air Monday- Thursday from 7-8pm on WXPN 88.5 FM.

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