What Is Music? Let Christian Robinson and Some Kids Tell You

I stumbled across the video below recently, and I was completely charmed, both by the voices of kids but also -- and probably even more -- by the animation from Christian Robinson.  He uses a variety of styles to accompany the voices of kids answering the question "What is music?" and other musical inquiries -- pen-and-ink (there's a touch of Ed Emberley there), stop-motion cutouts, photograph-and-drawing mashups.  Sure there's humor in the kids' occasional off-balance response -- "My favorite kind of jazz is... Michael Jackson" says one boy with a well-placed dramatic pause -- but the animation is made with heart.

Robinson graduated from CalArts in 2008 (his "Dinosaur Song" from that year is worth checking out as another winning meld of subject matter and varied animation styles) and over the past nine years he has, not surprisingly, had an impressive set of authors to illustrate for: Margaret Wise Brown, Mac Barnett, and Matt de la Pena for Last Stop on Market Street, for which de la Pena won the Newbery Award and Robinson a Caldecott Honor.  And, to bring it back to kindie for the moment, he also illustrated Justin RobertsThe Smallest Girl in the Smallest Grade.

But all that was in the future when Robinson made this video.  It's charming and worth your time.

Christian Robinson - "What Is Music?" [Vimeo]

Listen To This: "The Cardoons" - Pointed Man Band (World Premiere!)

As the drabness of winter hangs on, the thoughts of kids (and their parents) turn to sunshine and outdoor explorations.  As an unofficial theme song to this run-up to spring, might I suggest "The Cardoons"?  It's the first single from Portland's Pointed Man Band forthcoming album Between the Waves and the Cardoons, and the track is a particularly joyful celebration of enjoying youth, not only from the perspective of the young ones themselves, but also their parents.  For this, the album's closing track, PMB mastermind Dan Elliott also brought along Jack Forman (Recess Monkey) and Josh Shriber (Josh and the Jamtones) to sing along on the chorus.

"From the firewood / To the neighborhood."  Indeed.

I'm pleased as punch to offer up the world premiere of "The Cardoons" today (along with that sweet GIF).  Between the Waves and the Cardoons is released on March 3, and you can pre-order the album here.  Enjoy the song!

Free Music for Valentine's Day (2017 Edition)

I haven't tried to put together a list of kids songs for Valentine's Day, mostly because songs about love, while not necessarily 85% of all songs like it seems music for adults can be, make up not a small portion of kindie output.

Luckily, Beth Blenz-Clucas with Sugar Mountain PR has put together a list of songs appropriate for Valentine's Day which have the added bonus of being free for the downloading for a limited time.  That's right, through Valentine's Day itself, next Tuesday, you can gather for your family a nice selection of tracks from artists like Justin Roberts, Recess Monkey, Little Miss Ann, Frances England, Raffi, Lucky Diaz and more.

You can play the entire playlist below, and, through Valentine's Day, click through to get the free download.

Video: "Potato Leek Soup" - Django Jones

It's been awhile since Django Jones released their 2014 album D Is for Django, but not too long ago they released a video for one of my favorite songs on the album, "Potato Leek Soup," a brief but earnest power ballad promoting, well, potato leek soup.  (Think of it as the savory version of The Verve Pipe's "Cereal", I guess.)

Anyway, the video features real potato heads and, even better, leek puppets.  I'm serious, folks, it's worth 90 seconds of your time to see leek puppets sing.  (Also, stick around for the closing credits.)

Django Jones - "Potato Leek Soup" [YouTube]