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Kids Music Reviews: September 2014

Kindie roundup, Ella Jenkins, Secret Agent 23 Skidoo, Gustafer Yellowgold

Ella Jenkins

Ella Jenkins

CD: More Multicultural Children’s Songs by Ella Jenkins

Preschoolers learn about the world through music. Generations of youngsters have loved the call-and-response songs of Ella Jenkins, the “First Lady of Children’s Music,” whose 90th birthday in August saw the release of More Multicultural Children’s Songs on Smithsonian Folkways. This CD collection includes her classic “Hukilau” along with songs she gathered from travels across all seven continents. From “Canadian Friendship” to “Yemayah” and “Australian Zoo,” this CD feels like spending time with a beloved elder. Bonus: the special glow that occurs when Ella Jenkins gets her young audience clapping on “In the People’s Republic of China.”


Ella Jenkins workshop


Song: “Imaginary Friend” by Secret Agent 23 Skidoo

Secret Agent 23 Skidoo's CD The Perfect Quirk offers the perfect song: “Imaginary Friend” confirms Skidoo’s reputation as one of kindie’s finest wordsmiths. In a brassy hip-hop blend of klezmer and sea shanty, he ponders an imaginary friend who in turn claims that Skidoo is the one who’s imaginary. High jinks ensue, with a side of mind candy to chew. Enter the website contest related to “My Imaginary Friend” to discover this outstanding song.


Concert: Gustafer Yellowgold at World Café Live

The fall season of World Café Live’s Peanut Butter & Jams Concert Series offers strong performers at both Philadelphia and Wilmington locations. On Oct. 4, Wilmington sees Gustafer Yellowgold’s blend of mellow minimalistic animation and creator Morgan Taylor’s clever music relating the tale of Gustafer, an explorer from the sun. A Gustafer Yellowgold show mesmerizes the young while it relaxes the old.


"Cakenstein," Gustafer Yellowgold


Kindie Roundup

Back-to-school time shines a spotlight on teachers, real American heroes who are educating tomorrow’s generations, often at their own expense. Many kindie CDs double as teaching tools: Roger Day’s Marsh Mud Madness DVD/CD project is an excellent environmental education enhancement. The Deedle Deedle Dees focus their songs on historical figures not usually studied in school, like Nellie Bly and “Cool Papa" Bell. Jonathan Sprout’s magnificent Grammy-nominated American Heroes series offered Volume 4 this year.


"Marsh Madness," Roger Day



"Cool Papa Bell," The Deedle Deedle Dees



"Doctor," Jonathan Sprout

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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