NAPPA 2004: Music for ages 4 and Up

By John Wood

Nappa Award Winners
Any time is mighty fine for the best that children's music has to offer. Music can settle a baby, tickle a preschooler's funny bone and inspire a child to dance. But with so many performers making music for kids today, how is a well-intentioned adult to know which ones will really work magic? By choosing among these winners, that's how! Hats off to these talented musicians whose recordings hit the mark.

Gold Award Winners

Big Kid, by Sara Hickman, Sleeveless, 2004; $15 CD; This is a creative collection of sharply produced, nicely written and impeccably performed songs.

Can You Hear: Sounds of a Better World, Vital Records, 2002; $15 CD; This is an ambitious multicultural and multifaceted celebration of the human voice.

Everybody's Gotta Have a Place, by Dirk Shumaker, Arroyo Burro Music, 2004; $15.99 CD; A charming, beautifully performed collection of 12 original animal-inspired tunes from the bassist for the grown-up swing band, Big Bad Voodoo Daddy.

Friends Forever, by Michael Bannett and Carrie Lyn, Music For Little People, 2003; $13.98 CD, $8.98 cassette; Classic songs of friendship from stage and screen, sung with near perfection by these talented young artists.

Here & Gone in 60 seconds!, by various artists, Rounder Records, 2003; $14.98 CD; Producers Regina Kellend and Richard Perlmutter challenged 29 top-notch children's music artists to "create a one-minute song in whatever style you choose." The result is not only a fabulous album, but a great musical sampler of what is available for children's listening today.

Humpty Jumpty, by Paul Lippert, Raspberry Records, 2004; $16.98 CD; This recording is a magical elixir of tasty originals and new takes on traditional tunes that will have the whole family dancing.

Ready, Set, Move!, by Greg & Steve, Greg & Steve Productions, 2004; $13.98 CD; Fully living up to their motto of "educate, motivate, enrich and entertain," the duo once again, do not drop the musical ball.

Songs For All Seasons, by Geof Johnson, Midisong, 2003; $14.95 CD; Nicely crafted songs celebrating the four seasons, presented with class by a seasoned performer.

Two Little Sounds, by Hap Palmer, Educational Activities Inc., 2003; $15.95 CD; This recording presents pre-reading and math concepts through rhymes and stories, using Palmer's unique interactive approach.

Way Out, by Justin Roberts, Carpet Square Records, 2004; $15.98 CD; Cleverly crafted songs of everyday family life.

What Is It? Musical Math & Science, Re-Bop Records, 2003; $14.98 CD; Who knew that math and science could be so much fun? A nice mix of clever tunes, splendid production value and world rhythms will have kids dancing while they learn.

A World of Happiness, by various artists, Hylo Productions, 2004; $14.99 CD; A raft of celebrities - such as Deborah Harry, Magic Johnson, Lisa Loeb, Rosanna Arquette, Isaac Hayes and Gary Oldman and others - join hands and voices to share a world of happiness through 16 original songs, poems and sketches.

Honors Award Winners

Blast Off!, by Ben Rudnick and Friends, Listen Up Records, 2004; $14.99 CD; Upbeat danceable tunes.

Buckaroos Sleep Too!, by The Cowboy Girl, Rab Records, 2004; $18.99 for two CDs; It's not all about cowboys. This Cowboy Girl can sing, swing and boogie with the best of them.

Calling All Movers - Imagination Movers, Rec Room Records, 2004; $13.99; An infectious blend of rock, hip-hop and kid-friendly ideas that will tickle the brain and stimulate the imagination.

Dino O'Dell & the Veloci-Rappers, by Kevin Dolan, 2003; $15 CD; Kevin Dolan is a bright new voice to family music - many musical styles and ideas make this one a plus.

El Doble de Amigos (Twice As Many Friends), by Sol y Canto, Rounder Records, 2003; $14.98 CD; A multicultural hands-across-the-waters recording of friendship, fun and fiesta designed for the whole family.

Friendly Faces Magical Places, by Carol Ann Mathews, Critter Music, 1998; $14.98 CD; A musical calling card for Florida's critters, beaches and magical places.

Hello, Michael Rosen!, by Paul Austin Kelly, Quality Music For Kids, 2003; $14.99 CD; The funny-bone poetry of Michael Rosen, the inspired music and vocals of Paul Austin Kelly and the jump-off-the-page illustrations from Korky Paul make this collaboration a must-have.

I Found It!, by Brady Rymer, Bumblin' Bee Records, 2004; $15 CD; A down-home downright delectable collection of rock 'n' roll songs.

I Have A Dream - World Music For Children, by Daria, 2002; $12.99 CD; Daria delivers an eclectic mix of multicultural tunes with strong hooks and sing-alongs in many languages.

Knobbledee Knees, by Graham Walker, Laughing Fox Music, 2003; $12.95 CD; Straight-ahead kid-friendly tunes that will have kids singing and dancing in the streets!

Martian Television Invasion, by Thaddeus Rex, Think4Fun Productions, 2004; $16.98 CD; T-Rex's music is upbeat and participatory and "Reading Books" has a clever lyric incorporating a bucket of book titles that will ring a bell with all ages.

Sing Along with Putumayo, Putumayo World Music, 2004; $15.98 CD, A fine complement of talented artists present folk and blues classics in a variety of musical styles.

Teach Me Music, by Bren Norris, Bren Norris Assoc. Inc., 2003; $15 CD; Inspirational and participatory tunes fit the "teaching" bill nicely.

Travelin' Down the Road: Sing Along Songs From Around the World, by Carol Connolly, Tales 'n' Tunes, 2004; $15 CD; These eight stories and songs from different cultures creatively emphasize and blend similarities, not differences.

Under a Bright Yellow Umbrella, by Yosi, Yosi Music, 2004; $14.99 CD; An elegant eclectic collection for all of us who seek the big bright umbrella of life.

Return to NAPPA 2004 Award Winners: Music to see winners for other age groups.

See also: NAPPA 2003: Music