Move over Baby Einstein, Barney, and the Wiggles! Mama and Papa have found a brand new bag of tunes that’s sure to have kids embracing bands ranging from Bloc Party and Sufjan Stevens to the Beatles, Björk, and Metallica and genres that run the gamut from world music and funk to classical, African, and bluegrass well before their teen years. If you’ve fallen behind in your parental duties to impart impeccable musical taste to your offspring, or at least expose them to new types of music, never fear–Walker employees are here! We’ve discovered groups creating music both you and your little ones will enjoy. Three Walker families share tips about the types of tunes they listen to together. Each highlighted several artists they’ve recently been spinning at home or in the car.
Holly and Witt Siasoco (teen programs manager) and their one-year-old son Rey rock out to anything by Dan Zanes, formerly of the Del Fuegos. His album Rocket Ship Beach was recorded with his talented friends, including Suzanne Vega, in his Brooklyn basement. A new fave is Zanes’ latest release Catch That Train! The Siasocos also share a love of some of the newer Flaming Lips albums, such as Yoshimi Battles the Pink Robots and The Soft Bulletin. This past fall they discovered the band Wee Hairy Beasties, a collaboration/project of Jon Langford and other members of the Mekons.
Marty Broan and Siri Engberg (visual arts curator) share all types of music with their children, Simon (6) and Eliza (4). They load up their iPod and let the tunes flow randomly. As the kids start to identify the songs they prefer, Broan puts their favorites into playlists. The kids always enjoy sing-along tunes, but lately have also shown an appreciation for those with lyrics they might not understand as well as music without any vocals. One of Eliza’s most requested jams is a 17-minute version of Phish’s “ Runaway Jim,” and Simon favors the James Brown band’s instrumental work-up of “ Tighten Up.” The family has also found a selection of artists who have recorded children’s material that adults also enjoy, such as Ralph’s World’s fun hit “ Dance Around.”
When Haylee (12) was younger, she and her dad Dave Bartley (senior registration technician, pictured above) rocked out together to Zanes and crew in concert. She has since branched out to the Beatles-mania stage. Haylee trusts her dad to DJ most of the time, but her personal favorites include Thievery Corporation and Fall Out Boy.