Monday Muse: Laurie Berkner
So far I have been blessed to to be spared the affront visited on all parents by their progeny, that they will have terrible taste in music. It seems every generation is visited with this curse. The old fuddy duddies hated, in no particular order; Jazz, Rock and Roll, New Wave, Disco, Rap, Trip-hop, Electronica, Heavy Metal, Chamber Music, Mozart, The Blues, Swing, Sinatra, Choral Music, Country and Western, Bluegrass, AM I MISSING ANYTHING?
I’m positive that somewhere back in the mists of time there was a caveman lamenting to his cavewoman about the “Kids these days with their new fangled DRUMS, Back in my day we banged two rocks together and that was damn fine music! And don’t get me started on those obscene cave paintings grumble grumble…
Now there has been a slow infiltration of “new” music into the Hellions playlist. Katy Perry pops up now and then. The Peanut loves Thrift Shop for some reason (which is fine, because I do as well). I’m fine with that though. I don’t buy into generational music resentment. There is always great music being made, and there has never been a better time than today to find it. As the Who sang many years ago “The Kids are Alright”. They always have been.
Still, I’m glad that the most requested artist from the Hellions is still a “kids” musician. And in my opinion the Queen of kids music today is Laurie Berkner. Ms. Berkner first appeared on our radar from her many guest spots on Nick Jr’s Jack’s Big Music Show, a delightful program that taught youngsters a lot about music in fun and friendly fashion. It ceased production in 2007, but it’s absolutely worth your time to check it out. It will definitely be on my upcoming list of “Kids TV that won’t drive you bonkers or insult your intelligence” It’s a longer list than I thought it would be.
Laurie mixes her own takes on classics like “Wimoweh(the lion sleeps tonight” and “O Susanhah”, songs that grandma or grandpa can tap along to, with her delightful original compositions, little songwriting gems like “Victor Vito”, “Under a Shady Tree”, and “I’m a mess”. And it’s in her original compositions that she really shines. She writes inventive and challenging songs for an audience that is often ill served by Barneylevel dreck and recycled nursery rhymes (Barney is definitely not on the list).
Still cranking out tunes at the age of 44 (she’s 6 months younger than me!), The Laurie Berkner Band (Laurie, Susie Lampert on piano. bassist Adam Bernstein, and drummer Bob Golden) are still writing and touring. In fact they will be in the Heart of it All at the Big Fun Kid’s Fest in Columbus, Ohio this September 1st. Maybe we’ll see some of you there?
PS. The Wikipedia article on Laurie Berkner clued me into the term “Kindie Rock”. I’ll be exploring that term and the artists it covers at a later date.