Raffi is the most influential children's entertainer of all time. He has created top notch music for kids and their parents since the beginning of his career as a musician for children. It was his commitment to honoring his young fans that changed the way we came to view music made for children. Through his own record label, Troubadour, Raffi recorded quality music that resonated with parents. Four decades later, Raffi continues to inspire millions of families worldwide through his music. His lyrics spread messages of love and caring with infectious melodies. From Raffi's songs grew a purpose much larger than performing music for children. Raffi has worked to create a philosophy of living called Child Honouring. This is a children first approach to healing communities and restoring ecosystems. It views how we regard and treat our young as the key to building a humane and sustainable world.
Raffi's music has touched my life both as a parent and a teacher. When Emmy was a baby I would sing Baby Beluga to her during feedings and diapering. As she grew, she joined in and together we belted out our rendition of this very popular song. Whenever a good laugh was in order, I would start singing Shake Your Sillies Out and before you knew it the two of us would be dancing all over the house. I used both of these songs in the classroom. Baby Beluga was always a favorite song when we learned about ocean life and whenever we needed to get up and move, Shake Your Sillies Out was our go to song. No matter the age, children (and adults) always LOVE Raffi.
Here is Raffi performing Baby Beluga.
A wonderful way to connect music to reading is by sharing books based on familiar songs, such as the Raffi Songs to Read series. Of course we owned the board book Baby Beluga and Emmy always enjoyed turning the pages in the book as we sang the words together. As she became more aware of frequently used words and letters and their sounds, she began to actually read this book with great enthusiasm.
When Emmy was around two years old, she was obsessed with trains. We sang many songs about trains including Little Red Caboose. I created a book for her using a three ring binder. I typed the words to her favorite train songs, added some clip art, printed them and slid them into plastic sleeves and then added them to the binder. Voila - we had a homemade book. We also took this idea and used it for gift giving. We would find out the child's favorite song and either buy the corresponding book with the CD and a trinket to go with it (like a stuffed beluga whale to go with Baby Beluga) or we would create our own. Several years ago we put together a tractor gift for a boy in Emmy's class. We included the book Otis by Loren Long (a wonderful book of friendship), a toy tractor and a plastic cow. We happened to have the song Driving My Tractor so we made a CD of the song and typed out the lyrics into a little book. All of this was placed into a drawstring bag. This gift was a huge hit.
Back to Raffi...It's been 12 years since Raffi recorded an album for children! No need to wait any longer as he just released a brand new album Love Bug and it is awesome!
Here is a video of the single Love Bug.
I am going to end this post by using Raffi's words...
"Beauty. Tranquility. The Arts. In these may your life be rich."