When I was younger, children’s music was pretty much limited to Raffi, Fred Penner or Sharon, Lois and Bram. They were great children’s musicians but there really wasn’t tons of variety where kids’ music was concerned and most of the songs we listened to were redone versions of nursery rhymes and classic children’s songs. Fortunately, times have really changed and seeing how many amazing artists are creating original music for children is so exciting to me.
Joanie Leeds is no newcomer to the children’s music scene; in the last four years she has created three CDs and a DVD of original, upbeat music designed to get kids grooving. I was lucky enough to be given the chance to review her newest CD entitled What A Zoo! and I was eager to get started.
I put the CD on for my kids the same afternoon that I received it and we spent an hour or so listening and dancing around the living room. Joanie Leeds has such a bright, sunshiny soft-rock sound reminiscent of a children’s version of Sheryl Crow; the sound really made for songs that both parents and kids could enjoy. The songs on this CD are all about animals, from mosquitoes to possums to clams, and the music is as diverse as the animals being featured. With styles ranging from ballads to swing tunes, there is no chance of the music becoming stale with repeated listening.
Both boys started dancing as soon as I put on the CD and continued for almost the entire album. My own personal favourite song was Joanie’s jazzy new version of Froggy Went A Courtin’ featuring hip-hop artist Secret Agent 23 Skidoo. Joanie sings the tune to a bluesy swing beat and Secret Agent 23 Skidoo comes in to the song with an original rap feature. I would never have considered combining swing and hip-hip the way that this song does, but the two styles go together as well as a frog and a mouse! Both boys loved the very funny Tofurky Song and as the music increased in tempo the boys similarly increased their dancing speed until they finally collapsed on the floor in delight when the song ended.
The album features 14 great tunes, ten of which are original songs written and styled by Joanie Leeds. The CD includes the lyrics for every song so kids can sing along, some cool facts about Joanie’s inspiration for each tune and a fun way of adding actions to the music. While the CD is great for dancing, it is also mellow enough that it makes great background music for kids as they are doing other things. Zackary and Benjamin both really enjoyed the songs and when I started showing them some of the actions Joanie suggested for the music, they enjoyed it even more. If you’re looking for some new, fun-filled music for your family, What A Zoo! is sure to impress both you and your kids. Check it out today!
Buy It: To purchase What A Zoo! check the website for a retailer near you or shop online now
Win It: One lucky reader is going to win their own copy of the Joanie Leeds and the Nightlights What A Zoo! CD
To Enter (mandatory): Visit the Joanie Leeds website and tell me about something you liked or something you learned there
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Giveaway ends 11:59 pm CST on May 15, 2011. Open to US and Canada