I am a child of the 80’s.  And when I was a kid there were four choices for kids music that I can remember.

  1. Peter, Paul, & Mary (leftover from decades before).
  2. Raffi
  3. KidsSongs, the music video show for kids on Saturday morning cartoons. This show is on Hulu Plus right now. So fun!
  4. The mishmash of records that came with my Fisher Price record player. I think they mostly played classics like Twinkle Twinkle.

If you’ve read my blog for any length of time,  you know classic rock is written deep on my heart. And now you know the reason why- there were no other options for me.

Fast forward a few decades and the options for kids music is outstanding. There is a lot of great artists making albums for kids. In the past, I have felt overwhelmed with the music options for the kids. And if I feel that way, likely you do too.

I’m thrilled to be announcing a new adventure for A Cookie Before Dinner. This year, I will be bringing you children’s music reviews on a regular basis.

Let’s kick off the year with a BANG shall we?

Debbie And Friends Review 1

My team (Michael, Lola, Malone, and I) had the opportunity to review their latest CD, Debbie and Friends Variety Show and attend the CD release party held at the Coolidge Corner Theater in Boston.  Both the CD and the concert tickets were provided to us for review. All of the opinions expressed today are my own. I have fallen in love with Debbie and Friends, and I think you will too.

Just like Mister G, Debbie Cavalier’s background is in music education. In fact, she’s the Vice President of Online Learning and Continuing Education at Berklee College of Music, she’s written over one hundred music education textbooks and arrangements for a host of publishing houses, and she spent four years in a classroom teaching elementary school. Her band, the “friends” of Debbie and Friends musicians from Berklee.

 The music is the best kind of clever.

Debbie and Friends are known for story songs and sing alongs. Their newest album, Variety Show, contains a great mixture of both.

Variety Show has taken some of the most beloved fairy tales, turned them into story songs and infused them with lessons about character.

My favorite is Cinderella because it reinforces a message of keeping confidence when others are trying to tear you down.

“Just hold your head up high and
Everything will be alright, Cinderella
You are beautiful oh, oh
Be true to yourself and pay no mind
Your gonna be just fine, Cinderella.”

The video is super cute too. I love that she choose to make Cinderalla look like a real girl instead of glamming her up princess style. You  must watch this video. Debbie has put a twist on the fairy godmother and it is hysterical. It is a little gift for the grown ups.

Variety Show also tells the story of Pinocchio and Snow White. I’ve linked the videos from Debbie and Friend’s You Tube Channel where there are tons of other great kid friendly videos. 

When we went to the concert, I knew all of the words to a lot of the songs because the album is so fun to sing along with. I’m not going to lie, I belted out Purple People Eater with gusto even though I can’t carry a tune in a bucket.

 The concert was full of interaction.

Before the show started, Debbie was in down in the seats greeting fans and taking requests for shout outs during the concert. It was clear that she loved connecting with her fans. She reminded everyone that there would be a lot of dancing going on so they had better get ready to boogie!

The show was a great mix of favorites new and old, as well as songs that kept the preschool mosh pit hopping. Malone hasn’t stopped talking about the train song “I Think I Can” where Debbie came down off of the stage and led a train of kids through the theater.  He also really loved dancing to Freeze and Simon Says, both of which were full of simple directed movements that encouraged audience participation. 

Debbie and Friends 2

It is clear members of Debbie and Friends are passionate about sharing their musical knowledge with tiny humans in a way that translates down to their level.

Malone has been learning about harmony and melody without even know it thanks to the song called I’ve Got A Song. Perhaps if I listen to it enough I’ll be able to carry a tune after all.

After the concert, Debbie went to the  lobby greet fans there. Side note, she is FULL OF JOY.

Team Rongner And Debbie

Meanwhile, her band members continued the show on the stage. As they packed up their equipment they narrated what what was happening and answered questions about why the instruments had to be packed up with such care. A few lucky boys were even asked their roadie fee. One said he’d do it for payment in candy. Malone said he’d do it for a trip to Florida. Funny boy.

Debbie and Friends have a spirit of giving back and using their talents to raise money for charity.

In the past Debbie and Friends have held benefits for the Sandy Hook School Fund and held a concert and clothing drive for the victims of Hurricane Sandy.

At the show we were at over the weekend they donated a portion of every CD sold to the One Fund Boston, which raises money to help support the victims of the Boston Marathon bombing and their surviving families.

Debbie and Friends Variety Show is likely flying under your radar, but this album needs to be on repeat in your car.

Trust me. Everyone in your family will find a song they love. Both Mike and Malone can’t get enough of Wimoweh (The Lion Sleeps Tonight). I love Cinderella and really unique song about bullying called Walk Away that I am sure will come in handy as Malone grows older.

If you’d like to find out more about Debbie and Friends, their  website is amazing . Debbie also has a blog called Kids Music Matters. You can like them on Facebook. 

The folks from Debbie and Friends have offered a copy of Variety Show for me to give away on A Cookie Before Dinner. To enter, use the widget below.

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