After a long day of adventures with Mishy and then being stuck in traffic, I play, Sunny Days, the Grammy nominated CD by The Battersby Duo. Listening to their songs instantly reminds me of the sunny day I just had with my daughter. We are based in Los Angeles and while traffic in Los Angeles doesn’t rival Cairo’s, it still gets crunchy. I breathe and sing along as sometimes a car tries to cut in front of me before I look in the rear view mirror to see my daughter dancing in her car seat, clearly enjoying the music too.

Mishy’s favorite song from Sunny Days is, “Bubbles.” After she heard it once, she knew the chorus instantly. Now, she gets this fun smile on her face, runs up to me, and starts singing, “I love bubbles…” I love Mishy’s voice. I love Laura and Tim Battersby’s voice, melodies, and lyrics. Their songs remind me of all the fun songs I wished I had when I was younger, when I hoped the world was a wide world of fun, charm, and constant springtime where flowers continue to bloom and there is a freshness in the air.

Their opening song, “Sunny Days,” makes me think I am on a family vacation with Mishy every day because truth be told, I am so lucky I am able to spend my days with her. “Proud To Be Me,” is a genuinely enjoyable song about silly things we all do and how it’s fine to sing, “I am proud to be me…” It feels it has a history to become an anthem for children of all ages, including those who like being childlike, at times.

Sunny Days, reminds me of all the great summer camps I attended and the campfires and the dances I had with the boys I had crushes on – they were some of the highlights of my years growing up. I didn’t always date the boys I had crushes on, but I usually got to dance with them at least once.

Yes, the CD’s genre is kids music, but it doesn’t mean it’s just for kids. Sunny Days is for anyone who was a kid and sometimes yearns for that innocence again and also for those who don’t have the baggage of life to yearn for that lost innocence. Most importantly, the music is fun to listen to over and over again, with an educational twist.

Details:

The Battersby Duo – Sunny Days CD

http://www.battersbyduo.com/SunnyDays.htm

Want to see The Battersby Duo in concert? They are embarking on a substantial tour this spring which reaches deep into summer. Their first stop is in London, and then on May 29th, 2011, they will be headlining the The Des Moines Family Music Festival (Every Family Rocks) along with Justin Roberts and They Might Be Giants. http://www.everyfamilyrocks.org/

They will be continuing their tour to New YorkWashington, DC, and Chicago by mid June and then continuing on southwards to Naples and Fort Myers, Florida, before working their way up along the east coast through JacksonvilleSavannah, GA and Charleston, SC and end up in Northern Virginia, right outside DC by the beginning of August. Want to keep a track of their tour? Follow them on their website: http://www.battersbyduo.com/

(Full disclosure: This CD was gifted to us. I was under no obligation to review it. I chose to because after seeing The Batterby Duo perform a short set when they were in Los Angeles for the Children’s Grammy Nominee concert, I became a fan and I really love, Sunny Days.)

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/