Charlotte Diamond in concert

(Our camera was lost and now it’s been found so this is being posted a bit late.)

On a Monday, a couple of weeks ago, we returned from Northridge, where we  were invited to hear Charlotte Diamond perform to a completely sold out audience of children, teachers, mothers, and grandmothers, fathers and grandfathers. For those who are unfamiliar with Charlotte Diamond, she is a Canadian gem of singer who has devoted her professional life to children’s music. She has won numerous awards including several Junos, the Canadian equivalent to the Grammys.  Her craftmanship, sense of humor, comfort, and ease is evident seeing her perform live. While we watched, she sang, blew bubbles, played her guitar, invited children to walk around on stage and even had someone dress up as a pizza slice – not all at the same time, of course. She will be returning to the Southern California area in August and will be performing at the South Coast Botanical Gardens as part of their summer concert series on August 28th, 2011. I can’t wait!

A preschool joins Charlotte Diamond on stage

Catching bubbles

Audience clapping first of many times

Mishy dancing with a concert souvenir

Details:

Charlotte Diamond

http://www.charlottediamond.com/

If you would like to hear Charlotte Diamond sooner rather than later, her CD, 10 Carrot Diamond, features her greatest hits. Here is a link to Amazon.com for the CD:

<iframe src=”http://rcm.amazon.com/e/cm?lt1=_blank&bc1=000000&IS2=1&bg1=FFFFFF&fc1=000000&lc1=0000FF&t=natutravmomm-20&o=1&p=8&l=as4&m=amazon&f=ifr&ref=ss_til&asins=B0000683V4″ style=”width:120px;height:240px;” scrolling=”no” marginwidth=”0″ marginheight=”0″ frameborder=”0″></iframe>

Mishy loves this CD, particularly, the songs, Four Hugs A Day, and I Want To Be A Dog. I really like listening to this CD too because it’s fun and loving towards children and animals.

Mishy holds her unicorn bubble wand and streamer

Bonus Photos:

Mishy told me to take this picture

Mishy wanted me to take this picture too

She continued to ask me to take pictures. Here's another one.

And another requested photo by Mishy

Last requested photo taken

If you want to take your children to a concert which is entertaining, spirited and educational, please bring your children to see the world-famous Los Angeles Philharmonic perform as part of the Toyota Symphony of Youth Series at the Music Center in downtown Los Angeles. Mishy and I had the pleasure of being part of the audience this Saturday where we witnessed Joshua Weilerstein conduct the L.A. Philharmonic, joined by legendary jazz pianist John Beasley and his band. They were talking about jaaaazzzzz. That’s how John Beasley told the audience to pronounce it – “With a little bit of funk. Jaaaazzzz.”

This concert series is geared for children aged 5-11 years old. Mishy is 3 years old and she was enthralled as were older members of the audience who attended with no children at all. They simply came for the desire of hearing great music and great music we heard! The performance was seamless. The musicians tuned their instruments, then there was a pause as the first violinest walked on stage. I love this procession. The audience members clapped and then Joshua or Josh, as he was referred to during the concert, walked on stage to more claps and immediately the philharmonic played Antonin Dvorak’s Symphony No. 9, Finale. My soul was in bliss. As Josh Weilerstein introduced himself, the audience member heard some scatting growing increasingly louder as John Beasley walked on stage and was happily introduced.

John Beasley entertainingly talked about jazz – and then his band members came on stage to play. Different sections of music was played in jazz style and then in classical style and vice versa. It was fascinating to hear the same piece of music played in different styles. Mishy asked if it was the same piece or different, if it was being played by the same instruments or different, and what instrument was being played. This was music to my ears because I thought – yes, she gets it!  She’s interested and intrigued.

The concert ended with two versions of Itsy Bitsy Spider – and this included audience participation. We were to sing the lyrics as John Beasley’s band played. Mishy sang with gusto and clapped with the same excitement once the concert was sadly over.

Every parent deserves to take their children to see the Toyota Symphony of Youth concerts – so they can hear world class music in a beautiful space while their children are wonderfully exposed to the power of music. Next year, as soon as tickets are available, we are subscribing to all of the concerts in this series.

Details:

http://www.laphil.com/tickets/performance-detail.cfm?id=4426

The last concert for this season is on April 23rd and 30th, 2011 at 11AM. It is: The Hero Composer, conducted by David Afkham, with the Los Angeles Philharmonic. One hour prior to each concert, there are various art, music, and dance activities in the lobby of the Music Center.

(We were given press tickets to attend the concert.)

Ozomatli Answers!

February 23, 2011

Ozomatli

Ozomatli has declared 2011 to be the year to focus on oZokidZ! They will be performing at The Canyon Club on March 5th at 3PM, doors open at 2PM. They will also be performing at McCabes on March 13th at 11AM.

Here is our interview with Wil-Dog. His answers are italicized.

Because it’s fascinating how the band formed, please let us know in your own words and how the original band members met and came to play so many different types of music.

Each band member has their own unique experience of running into other future band members prior of us becoming Ozomatli in the LA City school system. Whether it be in a music summer program or some kind of band settings or school band meetings. When we got together it started with one person calling one of our friends and that person calling another friend and so on and so forth. We invited musicians to come participate in a benefit concert for a youth center in Downtown LA that we started called “The Peace and Justice Center”. When we had our first rehearsal, we had such an eclectic mix of musicians with so many styles of music that we each took turns showing each other the music we were into at that time. We created our own songs out of those styles. We were pretty much open to anything as long as it made people dance.

Why and when did you start OzoKids?

Mario, our drummer now of 8 years, thought it would be cool about two years ago to do an Ozokidz record. At that point it was just an idea, no one saw much of it. Then February 2010 we were playing at the House of Blues Chicago on a Monday or Tuesday night. We have always been fortunate at the HOB Chicago and never had a problem selling tickets there, but this specific night was different. I didn’t know why we weren’t selling tickets so I went on our Facebook and asked people in Chicago if they wanted to come to our show for free – basically giving them tickets. I received so many responses back saying, “I’d love to come but I can’t get a babysitter”. We realized that a lot of our fans now are having children themselves so we decided to develop a concert that Ozo fans can bring their children to. Now that we started to do these children shows we’re realizing that we need to actually create a whole different show that really engages children. That this isn’t for parents necessarily but parents can enjoy it as well. We realize that we really need to start with the kids and entertain them and give them something to walk away with.

Do you play different music at an OzoKids show?

Yes we play some of Ozomatli classics that are high energy that children will enjoy but we also have a whole slew of songs that are just for kids shows that we don’t play at regular Ozomatli shows. We explain to the kids how to put on a show  and the kids in the audience become Ozokidz stage crew members.

Are any special effects toned down for the children’s concerts or will there still be a big truck?  

Well the difference is that we keep the volume very low at the kids show and there’s no acoustic sounds coming off the stage. It’s all being controlled by the sound person at the front of house. Kids of all ages can enjoy it without hurting their ears.

Do any of the members have kids themselves?

Yes, many of us have children and we learn from our children what works and what doesn’t prior to bringing it to a concert setting. Our children also develop different ideas that have been implemented into the show such as a VIP kids only section, other characters in the show that we use, as well as Asdru’s daughter is actually singing lead on one of the songs.

A fan seems to remember the group occasionally performing under a pseudonym – how did that come to be and why?

The reason why we use pseudonyms is because sometimes we don’t have everyone in the band performing or contractually we cannot use the name Ozomatli during that time period.

The groups has changed group members several times – is there a policy in the band regarding this change – how are new members incorporated?

I think how it started was, we started with 10 people in the band with our first album. During the 2nd record we had 4 members leave the band at the same time. For many years we tried to fill those spots with other people. That eventually wouldn’t work out so we would try to fill it again with someone else. The further away we got from the original line up, we realized that those people were irreplaceable to begin with so we decided to move on with the group we had. Now we have the original 6 members plus Mario, who has been on drums for 8 years.

What was it like to become cultural ambassadors for the State Department under the Bush Administration? What were your experiences being cultural ambassadors during that time period?

In the beginning we were really concerned with working with the State Department during that time, but after doing those trips we realized that there are a lot of different individuals working in the State Department. In a way I think, some of those people asking us to participate in these tours was their way of protesting against the Bush Administration by bringing us. It was a great experience – learning more about the world and being able to exchange music and art with so many different cultures and also playing for thousands of children. We took away lots of inspiration and energy and put that into our music.

How did the decision come to be to continue promoting your second album, Embrace The Chaos, after September 11th, 2001?

I don’t think it was necessarily about promoting our album anymore. Our album was pretty much done and no one was buying anything, but we thought it was important to continue to play. Actually, one of our first stops was in NYC just 14 days after September 11. Pretty much everyone in the audience knew someone or had a family member die in the world trade center. During that show, we realized that our music brought some healing to those people. Everybody in the audience thanked us for coming and not avoiding the city. So after that experience, we knew we were doing the right thing.

Details:

Ozomatli

www.ozomatli.com

The Canyon Club

http://www.canyonclub.net/

McCabes Concert Listings

http://www.mccabes.com/condata.html


Mishy, me, and Justin Roberts.

Mishy, Babba and I had the absolute pleasure of being part of the audience at the Children’s Grammy Nominee Concert at The Mint in Los Angeles. We had never been to The  Mint before and we didn’t know what to expect. We parked on a side street and arrived early only to have our dear daughter terribly thirsty so we went into the local CVS drugstore where we found her favorite protein shake. They had no straws so Babba went to the local 7-11 and asked for a straw while Mishy asked for her protein shake with a straw and all I could tell her was that she really wanted a straw and was thirsty and it was on the way while I said hello to some friends.

At the door, Grammy nominee, Judy Pancoast greeted everyone as they entered by asking the children their names and wondering if they were ready to dance. Mishy was ready to dance and so was I. I love to dance, to move my head, and feel the music. Dancing to me is re-living my late teens and early 20’s when I was so carefree. Life right now isn’t so bad either though sometimes I do miss those carefree days when I could go in a car, or bus, or train, or plane and visit friends on a moments notice.

Mishy jumping on the dance area.

The Mint was smaller than what I had expected and I was a bit worried there wouldn’t be enough room to dance – even though there was a small section of the front taped off for children to dance. But what about having room for the parents? I love to dance with Mishy and have her lead. I love watching her shake her head and jump up and down and sway and twist her body. I love being her support as she balances on one leg as she moves to the beat. All of my worries and concerns melted away once the music began and how great the music was!

Enjoying listening to the Battersby Duo

To start the show were The Battersby Duo. The Battersby Duo are considered a “National Treasure,” by Senator Bob Graham of Florida. They bring an incredibly relaxed, silly, and fun presence to the stage which made me feel yes, it was worth rushing my daughter out the door this morning to drive 20 minutes to a concert that lasts for an hour. This feeling continued as Bill Harley came on stage and told us a hilarious story about a boy waiting for his father to go fishing. The children and adults were in stitches. This man has a way with words and no wonder, he’s been called, “The Mark Twain of contemporary children’s music, by Entertainment Weekly. Continuing the show was Oran Etkin performing on his clarinet  his song, Unique Monique, with performers from the Grammy Nominated CD – Health Food For Thought. Oran Etkin is an incredibly charismatic performer whom I will be posting more about. (Mishy and I have had the pleasure of taking group classes with him while he’s in Los Angeles.)

Rounding off the performances was Judy Pancoast whose saucy blend of Mother Goose Nursery rhymes had the audience screaming in delight. And finally, there was Justin Roberts and his band, Not Ready For the Nap Time Players – who simply rock! I played Justin Roberts to Mishy when she was 4 months old. She wasn’t ready for his comical and kid perspective rock and roll. Now, she loves them and so do I. Since we go on a lot of car trips, I am incredibly thankful for this because though she doesn’t let me sing, “Momma, don’t sing!” I can sing inside my head while we drive to all our adventures. Thank you, Justin Roberts for existing and devoting your career to letting parents still enjoy rock and roll while their children do too! (Justin Roberts told me he will be headed back to Los Angeles in April for the Los Angeles Times Book Fair. Yeah!)

All net proceeds from the concert benefited  Mr. Holland’s Opus Foundation(http://www.mhopus.org).

The family with Oran Etkin - after the concert

(Full disclosure: we were given one complimentary ticket for the concert. We paid for two others.)

Details:

Judy Pancoast

http://www.judypancoast.com/

The Battersby Duo

http://www.battersbyduo.com/

Bill Harley

http://www.billharley.com/

Oran Etkin

http://www.oranetkin.com/

Justin Roberts

http://www.justinroberts.org/