This is a guest post by Niko Johnstone. Niko is a writer and recording engineer from Portland, Maine. You can contact him at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Gone are the days of Raffi and Puff The Magic Dragon. In recent years, children’s music has, well… grown up. Here’s a list of modern and classic children’s albums that are so good, mommy and daddy might just have to borrow them from time to time.
1. Lead Belly - Lead Belly Sings for Children
Some of the most intriguing works by blues pioneer Lead Belly are to be found in this collection of 28 songs for children – each brimming with character and down home Louisiana charm. Truly a delightful listen.
Organized by Belle & Sebastion bassist Mick Cooke, Colours features a variety of indie artists – rocker Franz Ferdinand, and instrumental electronic artist Four Tet, to name a couple. The album, which is a fundraiser for Save The Children, features kooky lyrics and an art-rock sensibility. This one is a personal favorite of mine.
3.Björk - Gling-Gló
Between days in a pop-punk band and her debut as a solo artist, Björk released this unusual gem, which is perfectly suited for precocious children. It includes 16 jazz standards and originals – sung mostly in the artist’s native Icelandic tongue. It may not be a kid’s album per se, but with its playful vibe, and Björk’s child-like voice, the album would fit in nicely with a children’s music collection.
4. The Innocence Mission – Now The Day Is Over
Bedtime is a battle every parent knows well. But with a good lullaby, you might have a fighting chance at putting the little angels to sleep. The Innocence Mission’s 2004 release is everything a parent with sleepless newborns could ask for. The 14 covers of classic favorites will surely lull both baby and caregivers to Dreamland, fast.
The title says it all. This classic album by critically acclaimed jazz pianist Chick Corea contains 20 short pieces ranging in form from complex counterpoint to simple jazz miniatures.
6. Dan Zanes - Family Dance
Since first listening to Zanes’ Family Dance, I’ve found myself unconsciously singing these tunes out loud, sometimes in the most embarrassing places. With lyrics like, “All around the kitchen/Cock-a-doodle-do … Spin around in a circle/Cock-a-doodle-do,” Family Dance may seem like your typical goofy kids album, but propelled by roots-rock guitar riffs, and backed by an eclectic mix of tuba, accordion and harmonium, this album packs a powerful punch.
Okay admit it – what children’s music do you like to listen to?