Get your kids off their electronic devices and TVs with some invigorating, inspiring and relaxing music that's meant just for them but has wide appeal. These new children's CDs are high-quality entertainment for all ages. If not mentioned, prices vary.
"Mundo Verde/Green World" by Mister G., Coil Records; $14.99 CD, $9.99 digital download.
Latin Grammy winner Mister G. is a bilingual rocker with captivating tunes and lyrics. In his latest and eighth CD, his aim is environmental responsibility and uniting people of all ages and ethnicities to support global conservation. The pathway to this most important message is fun, upbeat and joyful, but points out the sense of urgency to fight for our beautiful world.
The zesty collection of bilingual songs features Mister G.'s collaborations with major Latin stars including merengue idols 440, Brazilian percussionist Mauro Refosco (who has played with David Byrne and the Red Hot Chili Peppers) and other jazz legends and Grammy winners. The eclectic tunes range in style, from bomba and samba, to reggae and bossa nova, with bilingual song titles such as "Cuantos Peces/How Many Fish," "Las Abejas/The Bees" and "Pachamana/Mother Earth." Mister G. even performed at the national climate rally in Washington, D.C., and he often does national tours. He truly aims to empower families to "protect the one planet we share." Visit his website for more information.
"Songs of PEACE & LOVE for Kids & Parents Around the World!" Ladysmith Black Mambazo; 716824 Records DK
For nearly 60 years, South African group Ladysmith Black Mambazo has been singing its message of peace to all, winning four Grammy awards and nominated for 17. Nelson Mandela even designated the group "South Africa's cultural ambassadors." Though Mandela passed away four years ago, the group continues to sing his message of peace at every concert.
Songs on the group's newest album include "All Women Are Beautiful," "Go Well and Peace Be With You," "Love Your Neighbor" and the fun "Everything's So Stupid!" Its message of unity will be promoted on tour from January to April 2018. Visit the group's website for ordering information.
"Imagination" by Jess Penner; Position Music/Recurrent Records.
Bubbly Jess Penner won a BMI Foundation songwriting contest with her indie-electro-pop sound that's been called raw, intimate and cool. Her aim as an artist is to encourage kids to dream, savor life and know they have the power to do anything they put their minds to. Penner's songs have made it into ads, movie trailers and TV shows, and her love of singing for children shines through splendidly.
Songs include "I've Got No Strings," "I Don't Want to Live on the Moon" and the original "Forever in My Heart."
Fresh, clear and lovely, Penner's songs are as lilting and fun as can be.
"Just Dance" by Twinkle; Twinkle Time Records; $10 CD & download.
Called the kids version of Lady Gaga, effervescent Peruvian-American artist Twinkle released her energetic pop and glam hip-hop dance CD recently, which should move kids off the couch to shimmy and shake. With an EDM slant and a positive, life-affirming theme, "Just Dance" makes sure the Bruno Mars- or Lady Gaga-esque music is age-appropriate and unique, like "a whirling, swirling ... confetti explosion!" It's wild and fun, perfect for dance parties and exercise time.
"Lead Belly, Baby!" from Dan Zanes and Friends; Smithsonian Folkways.
Iconic children's performer Dan Zanes says Lead Belly was the reason he became a singer. Belly was "The King of the 12-String Guitar," who loved performing for children. On this album, his folk standards are performed in a variety of styles by Zanes and friends, with smart wordplay and uber-cool presentation. Like Belly, Zanes' dozen albums draw innumerable family fans.
From MCs who trade lines on "Skip to My Lou" to a psychedelic folk interpretation of "Rock Island Line" and a bilingual version of "Cotton Fields," "Lead Belly, Baby!" offers up 15 groovy tunes, a 40-page booklet with lyrics and liner notes, and top-notch presentation from Smithsonian Folkways.
To order, visit the Folkways website.
To find out more about Lee Littlewood, and read features by other Creators Syndicate writers and cartoonists, visit the Creators Syndicate website at www.creators.com.