Monday, March 09, 2009

House Party Time

jump up

day is breaking
jump up
let's get shaking
i know you're lying down
jump up and we'll dance around...

jump up
clouds are passing
look up
the sky is laughing
i know we'll be laughing too
jump up i want to dance with you

Dan Zanes -- "Jump Up"

We here at Long Day With Short People are music snobs. When the Short People were born we vowed never to listen to the dreaded children's music, a genre we hate for it's sacchirine singing, cutesy sentiments and just plain bad musicianship. Anyone who has ever felt their eardrums bleed from listening to 25 rounds of Barney's "I love love me..." or happened upon The Wiggles will understand.

When we had our first Short Person I didn't know any children's lullabies so our girls have grown up being soothed to The Beatles "In My Life" or this lovely Tom Petty song (can't remember the name...the Short People call it "Daddy's Song) as we tuck them in bed. I will never forget India's first Mommy and Me swim class where I was the only Mommy who did not know the words to "The Wheels on the Bus". Unfortunately, I know them now. My mother, sister and I prefer to make up our own irreverent lyrics to that one... but that's another blog.

A few years ago I was pleasantly surprised to discovered Dan Zanes and Friends. A former member of the 80s band the Del Fuegos, Dan Zanes plays "family music" which is code for "music that doesn't suck". His stuff is so good that once my parents heard a couple songs and asked us to burn a copy for them, not knowing it was a CD for children. The New York Times wrote that “Zanes' kids music works because it is not kids music; it’s just music - music that’s unsanitized, unpasteurized, that’s organic even.”

So when I learned that Dan Zanes was going to appear in concert the weekend before Kate's birthday we decided that would be a fun early birthday present. We weren't disappointed. I actually think it was one of the best concerts I have heard...okay, behind Pink Floyd, Neil Young and Dave Matthews Band, the Indigo Girls with Matthew Sweet, Jethro Tull, The Allman Bros, Old Crow Medicine Show...but I truly did enjoy myself.

What made the concert so cool (besides real musical talent that included a mandolin, upright bass, banjo, saxophone and trumpet) was the laid back, inclusive vibe. Everyone was encouraged to dance in front of the stage or in the aisles (Zanes told the audience "we can either have a concert, and that's cool, or we can have a DANCE PARTY!!!!"). You can imagine who made a bee-line and landed smack-dab in front of the stage. I hope I didn't dislocate any Short Person's arm pulling them down front...

During "Catch That Train" the band convinced almost the entire audience to form a train and dance through the concert hall, out into the lobby and back in again in a giant, happy circle. They had everyone singing along, and the songs were all very cool. "Wabash Cannonball", "Walkin' The Dog", a couple of gospel tunes and even some Spanish songs. For the last number the band unplugged all their instruments and continued to play and sing as they strolled the aisles and led the entire audience into the lobby where they serenaded a girl in a wheelchair, then led us all down the hall and into a courtyard where they posed for pictures and signed autographs.


But Kate did have a homemade musical instrument made from paper plates and popcorn that she shook so hard during the concert I was afraid we would pelt our neighbors with hard corn kernels. Dan Zanes signed it for Kate and wished her a happy birthday; what a great present! I'm going to have it framed along with her ticket.
But it would be even cooler to frame the autograph along with a picture of Dan Zanes and the Short People.

Maybe next time..


Angie said...

AWESOME!!! I love that Kate got an autograph from him. So happy to catch up with you in the bloggy world again. Hello to all!

OldOldLady Of The Hills said...

What a GREAT GREAT Evening...And how terrific that Kate has this Autographed "work of art"....! It looks Wonderful, my dear!
I love that you speak of yourzselves as Music Snobs....I must be, too, in my way....Unless I can understand the Lyrics---where songs are concerned---well, it is not music to me....
I think your kids are having such a Rich Varied and Fun Childhood....Being exposed to good music at an early age was one of the really BEST gifts my parents gave me...!

I was thinking the other day that maybe it is time for The Academy (Oscars) to just drop The Best Song Category. It no longer has any real place in films, the way films are today....At least, in my opinion.

Long Day With Short People said...

And your opinion is a very well informed one, Naomi! I think you may be on to something. I just wish there were music awards for gooooood music! Maybe we could let the Short People decide?

Anonymous said...

I think that you should do a "wheels on the bus" blog and go into detail about all the words that we chose...bwahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahah

I forgot all about that. I am laughing really hard right now and trying my best not to wake your nephew. Maybe we can sing some to him when we visit this weekend :)

Janice said...

I'll never forget the first time I heard "House Party" on Noggin. I thought I must be dreaming and had stumbled upon some children's musical nirvana. What a happy discovery to find that I was wide awake and it was crazy-haired Dan Zanes a'singin'.
The boys are jealous that Kate got his autograph. I consoled them with, "Well, I bet she doesn't have Barack Obama's!" Competition always makes them feel better...

Long Day With Short People said...

Barack Obama is much cooler, I must admit. AND I have a sneaking suspicion that yours will have slightly more monetary value down the road!

Janice said...

What are you doing up and on the blog at 5:10AM???

Long Day With Short People said...

It was really 6:10 a.m. Kate is not getting up nearly so early anymore. Blogspot must not have adjusted for DST!