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Best Kids Music of 2013

Kathy's Top 11 family CDs of the year. Plus, Mama Doni, just in time for Hanukkah.

In a spectacular year for family music, the greatest challenge is winnowing my Top 10 list down to just 10 albums. The golden age of independent kids’ music (“kindie”) flourishes, with exciting new names joining the heritage artists who created and still maintain this genre. With equal love given to all, these are my Top 11 CDs of 2013, since Justin Roberts’ brilliant output required that both his CDs make the cut.

1. Rubber Baby Buggy Bumpers, Trout Fishing in America


2. & 3. Lullaby and Recess (tie), Justin Roberts


4. Shine & the Moonbeams, Shine & the Moonbeams


5. Blink of an Eye, Frances England


6. Singing Our Way Through: Songs for the Bravest Kids, Alastair Moock


7. Deep Sea Diver, Recess Monkey


8. Champion of the Universe, Ratboy Jr.


9. Turn, Turn, Turn, Dan Zanes & Elizabeth Mitchell


10. ABC Fiesta, Mister G


11. In Full Bloom, The Plants


CD & Concert: Mama Doni

The confluence of Thanksgiving and Hanukkah is a great opportunity to discover Mama Doni’s The Acoustic Jewish Holiday Collection. I was hooked from the first well-crafted guitar chords of “Chanukah Oh Chanukah / Ma’oz Tzur.” The talking blues of “Honey This Ain’t Money” (about trying to spend gelt) embodies the mix of traditional and modern that Mama Doni does so well. Imagine traditional Jewish music through the aural lens of Mumford & Sons.

Mama Doni and the Mama Doni Band will perform "Chanukah Fever," Nov. 29 at Congregation Beth Or in Maple Glen, PA and Dec. 2 at Philly’s Gershman Y.


Kathy O'Connell is a contributing writer to MetroKids and host of Kids Corner, weekdays 7-8pm on WXPN 88.5 FM.

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