Friday, June 24, 2011

Musical Notes: Music industry news and releases for children and teens

‘PlayingGuitar’ by Petr Kratochvil

In this issue of “Musical Notes”, we feature three musicians whose music definitely makes a positive difference in the lives of children, and we provide an update on some very popular children’s entertainers in live performances taking place during the next seven days.


Meredith LeVande photo by Gaetano Salvadore
Meredith LeVande, the New York City-based children’s musician/educator and producer has become a regular part of the Los Angeles scene with her sixteen Monkey Monkey Music videos, which are now airing as interstitials on public television station KCET.
For the past several months, the videos have received overwhelmingly positive audience feedback, and soon they will be seen on as many as 45 stations nationwide and the U.S. Territories.
LeVande’s Monkey Monkey Music CDs and videos appear to connect on an emotional level to children, which comes through loud and clear, and was initially recognized, by Robert McDonnell, Director of KCET’s Education and Production Services when he added them to the KCET children’s block and the KCET Kids & Family Channel.
For LeVande, life was not always this golden; as a child, the engaging performer lost her own childhood when  shortly after she was born, her mother sank into a hopeless state of incapacitation due to mental illness, resulting in Meredith being raised by her elderly, maternal, immigrant grandmother, who died when Meredith was 15.
Grappling with the responsibility of providing a source of income, while caring for her mother and being her own emotional support system, LeVande had to grow up quickly and take responsibility for her own destiny.

She went on to do remarkable things: LeVande put herself through college (graduating magna cum laude with a bachelor’s degree in English and Women’s Studies) then went on to earn a law degree, as well as a master’s degree in music, because as it turned out – music had always been her coping mechanism, and this reflects in her videos. With her music, LeVande regains much of the childhood that she lost.

As a performer and producer, LeVande is very centered and aware of her personal history and the special bond that she makes with young people. She says, “Every child deserves a childhood. The story of my childhood plays a vital role in the making of my videos, and when the average person watches a preschool video or listens to preschool music, they don't necessarily think that the source of happy children's music can actually come from a very sad and deep place.” She adds, “I think that my videos captured what I wanted from my childhood, and not what I had.”

LeVande is passionate about her role in public television because she says, “Part of its founding document was to showcase America in all its diversity and air voices that would otherwise go unheard. There are so many children who have ill parents, no parents, live in horrible conditions and will never have the childhood that their peers will have. I understand what it's like to go through life like that and it's important to see people who rise above. That's what this country is founded upon.” She adds, “My hope is that children and people who come from similar circumstances find a place in their life where music, or whatever they choose to do can transcend those experiences and enrich the lives of others.“  From the video below, Meredith LeVande’s “What Are the Odds” it seems that she has certainly “transcended” and beaten those odds.


DidiPop on Tour at Wilco's Solid Sound Music and Arts Festival.

Friday, June 24 to Sunday, June 26, 2011
Mass MoCA
87 Marshall Street
North Adams, MA 01247
Phone: 413.662.2111
Fax: 413.663.8548


A three-day festival of the arts with music, comedy and admission to Mass MoCA Museum of Art.

Adult ticket prices range from $65 to $75 for one day passes, children 7 to 10 $50 and under 6 FREE

Three-day Weekend Pass $124.50

For further information:

Aaron Nigel Smith in Live Performance

You’ve loved him on PBS’ “Between the Lions” and now The NAPPA, iParenting and Parents’ Choice Award-winning musician, Aaron Nigel Smith is appearing live on:

Saturday, June 25, 2011
6:00 p.m. 
(Doors open at 5:30 p.m.)

Louisiana Discovery Center-The Mission Church
41347 West I-55
Service Road, Hammond, Louisiana 70401
(985) 340-9150


“Children of all ages will enjoy a fun, inspirational show which is sure to get them movin', groovin' and dancin' along to the energetic rhythms of Aaron Nigel Smith. His mission is to share his love for music and movement with the world.
Purchase tickets by calling: 985-340-9150 or e-mailing the LCDC at

Madison Square Kids Concerts presents: Billy Kelly and the Blah Blah Blahs and Audra Rox

Billy Kelly and the Blah Blah Blahs performance:

Tuesday, June 28, 2011
10:30 a.m. to 11:30 a.m. 
Audra Rox performance:
Thursday, June 30, 2011
10:30 a.m. to 11:30 a.m.

Madison Square Park on the Oval Lawn (in Madison Square Park), Manhattan
(Directions to this location)


Courtesy of Madison Square Park Conservancy
“Madison Square Park Conservancy is thrilled to present its 9th season of Mad. Sq. Kids, a series of free outdoor performances for children and their families, which takes place rain or shine in the Park on Tuesday and Thursday mornings at 10:30 a.m. June 14 to August 11.” Organized by the Madison Square Park Conservancy

For further information contact: (212) 538-1629 or email:


Love Me for Who I Am

In his latest and sixth release, family musician and Grammy Award nominee Brady Rymer celebrates “children of all abilities,” in Love Me for Who I Am.

This collection of ten bright and positive tunes with meaningful lyrics was inspired by Rymer’s work with students at the Celebrate the Children School in Wharton, New Jersey, an academic community serving students with alternative learning styles.

Monica Osgood, the school’s founder-director suggested ideas to Rymer for songs that reflect these children’s words and the challenges that they face.  In that respect, Love Me for Who I Am hits the mark, but it also embraces the common threads of all children with relatable tunes such as “Picky Eater” and “I Don’t Like Change,” Tune Out” and Who Wants to Wear Shoes?”

The CD, produced by Osgood’s husband, Dan Myers, the school’s music teacher and long time collaborator with Rymer, features guest vocals by Nick Jr. television star Laurie Berkner, and a terrific keyboard performance by Bernie Worrell (Parliament Funkadelic, Talking Heads.)

Below for your enjoyment is Rymer performing the title song, “Love Me for Who I Am” - a true anthem that celebrates the individuality of all children.

All ten tracks of Love Me for Who I Am may be sound sampled directly from the artist’s website, and are available in CD format as well as MP3 downloads from and iTunes. (Five percent of proceeds from CD sales will benefit Autism Speaks, a non-profit research and advocacy group.)


Jamie Broza’s “Turn That Phone Off”

Below is a very special video, with a distinct and dynamic message that hits a virtual home run to our technologically driven lifestyles. As a parent or caregiver, Jamie Broza’s song,” Turn That Phone Off,” from his hit album, I Want a Dog! is a tune that deserves to go viral. Take a listen and share with the child in your life, as well as family and friends, it’s bound to open up an interesting and meaningful conversation.

No comments:

Post a Comment