Parents' Choice Foundation: Reviewing Children's Media Since 1978



Let's Play - Raffi

Let's Play - Raffi

Fall 2002 Music
Ages: 2 - 6 yrs.
CD Price: $17.98
Tape Price: $11.98
Review:
It's been 23 years since Raffi, the only megastar that children's music has produced, captured the hearts of parents and children alike with his gentle signature song, "Baby Beluga" and "Shake Your Sillies Out." The years since those early preschool favorites have included a bumpy detour into adult music, much personal and professional soul-searching, and what has become a life of international activism for a healthy environment and the well-being of children. This first new album in seven years reflects those life changes and Raffi's return to his roots, too. The varied celebratory offerings here include interpretations of "What A Wonderful World," If You're Happy and You Know It" and "Yellow Submarine," but most tracks are light-hearted originals. They include a dreamy "Swing" ("Like the moon up in the heavens, like the balsam growing tall, like the tides that move the oceans...") and "Eensy Weensy Spider" with a delightful new second verse. "Arbutus Baby," is a tender ode to trees that grow on Canada's "rocky, rainy shores," with evocative accompaniment by renowned fiddler Natalie MacMaster; a Tibetan children's song, "Tsetang Gangla (On the Playground)," reaches out to listeners with irresistible simplicity, and any parent who has held a newborn will recognize the loving, protective embrace in "Blessed Be." Raffi certainly hasn't dropped his message songs-he even includes Dr. Jane Goodall and her ground-breaking chimpanzee studies in his tuneful tributes-but he's developed a delicate touch with them. Best of all, while there are deftly added layers of meaning for adults in the songs, this is vintage Raffi, too, a return to the sunny, sweet spirit of his first stellar success.
Lynne Heffley   ©2002 Parents' Choice
A freelance writer and editor for the arts and non-profit organizations, Lynne is a former staff writer for the Los Angeles Times, where she established the paper's first weekly children's arts and entertainment beat.

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