Northampton Parents Center Turns 25!

Northampton Parents Center
25th Anniversary Fundraising Concert
Saturday, October 16th, 2010

Jay Mankita is a touring songwriter, an internationally recognized recording artists and a local dad. Join him on Saturday, October 16th at a fundraising concert for the Northampton Parents Center. Click on flyer to see larger image.

Northampton Parents Center is having a 25th Anniversary Fundraising Concert with Putumayo recording artist, Jay Mankita, Saturday, October 16th, at 4 pm in the upstairs of Edwards Church.  Everyone is welcome – the whole community is invited! A sliding scale donation is suggested, but  not required.  Please come celebrate music for the whole family with the Northampton Parents Center!


Northampton Parents Center is a nonprofit cooperative drop-in site for children (birth to kindergarten) and their caregivers. Since 1985, Northampton Parents Center (NPC) has provided a safe, nurturing environment for families with young children to socialize. Open Monday through Thursday 9:30 to 11:30 am, mid September to late May. Located in the lower level of Edwards Church at the corner of Main and State Streets in Northampton — entrance on State Street. Generously supported by Cooley Dickinson Hospital, Edwards Church, and partially funded by a grant from the Massachusetts Department of Early Education and Care administered by Collaborative for Educational Services and Northampton Public Schools.

Jay Mankita @ Falcon Ridge Guest DJ Episode on HFVS (08/01/09)

Listen LIVE 9-10am on Saturday via streaming audio

Jay Mankita @ Falcon Ridge Folk Festival
Guest DJ Episode


Jay Mankita: " of the half dozen best songwriters today!" - Pete Seeger

Saturday from 9-10am
WXOJ LP – 103.3 FM – Valley Free Radio
Northampton, MA

08/01/09 PLAYLIST

listen LIVE via streaming audio | request a song | subscribe to free podcast
archived shows | contests | myspace | facebook

  • Kheswa – “Beautiful Day” – [Putumayo Kids Presents: Picnic Playground] Music
  • Pascal Parisot – “Mes Parents Sont Bio” – [Putumayo Kids Presents: Picnic Playground] Music
  • Jay Mankita – “Eat Like A Rainbow” – [Putumayo Kids Presents: Picnic Playground] Music
  • Pete Seeger – “Arrange and Rearrange” – [Pete Seeger at 89]
  • Johnsmith – “I Will Fly” – [Traveler]
  • The Neilds – “Shoes: Farewell My Pants” – [All Together Singing In The Kitchen]
  • Jay Mankita – “The Cliche Song” [Recorded live at Falcon Ridge Folk Festival]
  • Swing Caravan – Swing music [Recorded live at Falcon Ridge Folk Festival]
  • Jay Mankita -“Twinkle Twinkle Little Star” (new verses) – [Recorded at Electric Wilburland]
  • Peter Siegel – Two traditional tunes arranged and performed by
  • Laurie McClain – “Acony Bell” – [The Child Behind My Eyes]
  • Jay Mankita – “The Day the Library Went Wild” [The Day the Library Went Wild]
  • Billy Jonas – “Zach’s Walk” – [Get Real]
  • Asylum Street Spankers – “Everybody Loves My Baby” – [Mommy Says No!]
  • Charlie Byrd and Laurendo Almeida – “La Cumparsita” – [Tango]

Visit Jay Mankita on-line at

Visit Falcon Ridge Folk Festival at

Putumayo Presents: A Picnic Playground Family Concert Tour at the Eric Carle Museum in Amherst, MA on Saturday at 1pm.  Click here for more info.

HFVS Music Giveaway – Putumayo Kids Presents: European Playground

Putumayo Kids Presents: European Playground


Putumayo Kids’ acclaimed Playground series has put out another wonderful international collection of both traditional and popular music, this time touring around Europe!

Being the home to nearly 50 countries, Europe is a diverse and culturally rich continent.   With European Playground families will visit more than 15 different countries and hear 11 of the more than 30 languages spoken in Europe, taking listeners on a cross-genre musical tour around the continent.


A 34-page booklet is included that features liner notes in four languages (English, Spanish, French & German), and a colorful map of Europe.  Click here to download a free b/w map to use for a home study of Europe.  Listen to each song on the CD and then have your kids find the country on the map and color the country in.  Note that many of the countries are very close together, yet have vastly different languages and cultures.

A five page teaching guide to accompany this CD can be downloaded here.  The learning objectives of this guide are:

  • Learn about the culture and geography of Europe
  • Train the students ears to listen for musical elements
  • Understand that music is a universal language
  • Gain awareness of the value of friends who are different from themselves
  • Experience the benefits of working together

Another great on-line resource for European studies is The European Library.  This library offers free access to resources from 48 national libraries of Europe (in 20 languages!) available for anyone around the world seeking books, maps, photographs, music, videos, and other materials.


Your chance to win a free copy of the new Putumayo Kids Presents: European Playground CD is as easy as 1-2-3 (4)! To win simply

  1. POST A COMMENT BELOW and be sure to tell us your
  2. FULL NAME and where you
  3. LIVE (TOWN/STATE) Must include your town and state to be eligible. We’ll randomly draw a winner from those who leave a comment (along with their full name and town/state) and contact the winner via email.  So be sure to leave an
  4. ACCURATE EMAIL in the email field of the comment box (we never share your email address).

IT’S THAT SIMPLE! — Deadline is Wednesday, June 17th, 2009, @ 7pm (EST).

High Concept, High Reward (Music Review)

High Concept, High Reward
By Bill Childs, HF Contributing Writer

Sesame Street Playground CD & DVD

Sesame Street Playground CD & DVD

CDs aimed at kids are rarely what the industry calls “high concept” – that is, with a Big Theme running throughout, or a clever idea at their core.  Sure, you occasionally get the food-themed record or the alphabet/number collections, but rarely anything more than that.  This month, a few releases that break the mold and, mostly, pay off with their gamble.

Putumayo Kids – Sesame Street Playground: There’s no better concept yet this year: Sesame Street songs from around the world, plus a DVD with a handful of videos from international editions of the essential kids’ series.  And Putumayo pulls it off, from the Dutch opening to a Chinese “Rubber Duckie” to a French “La Chanson de l’Amité” that sounds exactly as French as you’d hope, to the driving Israeli “En Den Dino.”  It’s not perfect – at least for me, I can think of a lot of U.S. songs I’d put ahead of “Elmo’s Song” to represent the domestic version of the show – but the highs easily outweigh the lows.  (And I probably just resent Elmo, coming as he did after I was done with the show.  Like Scrappy on Scooby Doo; can’t stand him either.)  The DVD just adds to the fun, giving kids a look at what Sesame Street is like overseas.

Yes to Running

Yes to Running

Bill HarleyYes to Running: Harley is a very funny musician and storyteller, well known for both his kids’ stuff and his commentaries on NPR’s All Things Considered.  Frankly, his studio CDs have always left me a little underwhelmed, but this two-CD set, recorded live at a high-energy show in Montana, helps me understand his success.  Harley’s at his core a storyteller (even in his songs), and clearly thrives on audience participation.  You don’t need to get past the first track (“I Like to Sing”) to get a sense of the sheer fun that must be seeing him live.  The CDs also include several lengthy musical stories, including the very funny “Mom and the Radio.”  He’s utterly engaging and has a great sense of comic timing, and has a bluntness and self-deprecating wit that kids no doubt will love (noting that “only an idiot” would sled down a huge hill, and that they did, “because we were idiots”).  Add in his willingness to good-naturedly mock parents along with himself and it’s a lot of fun.  It’s not as big a concept as, say, Sesame Street Playground, but it’s definitely a CD that’s much more about the whole than any of its parts.

Spanglish Wrangler

Spanglish Wrangler

Will Thomas – Spanglish Wrangler: Now Miami-based Will Thomas performs relaxed alt-country with a blues touch, more or less, with lyrics in, as the title suggests, some Spanish, some English – Spanglish – in every song.  The arrangements and production have a bit of a G. Love/Jack Johnson/Ben Taylor vibe, with a couple of songs based on classics (“Cucaracha” based on Earth Wind & Fire’s “September,” and “They Call It Spanish Monday” on T. Bone Walker’s “Stormy Monday”).  If you’re looking for some Spanish language in your kids’ environment, this is a great, accessible, non-cheesy record, with some gentle humor (“Broccoli,” for instance, involves a kid’s bargaining for more – yes, more! – broccoli).  While there are a handful of songs out there with both English and Spanish (the Jimmies’ terrific “Spanimals” comes to mind), this is the first kids’ record I can remember that reflects the reality in many households of both languages intermingling.  It sounds effortless but hits the spot.

Bill Childs & Ella

Bill Childs

Bill teaches law school by day in Springfield. With his kids, he produces a radio show for kids, Spare the Rock, Spoil the Child, which airs on Saturday mornings on 93.9 The River (7-9 AM, 101.5 in Brattleboro) and 103.3 Valley Free Radio (8-10 AM). He’s also a columnist for regional parenting magazines, covers music for Parenting magazine, and is a bi-monthly contributing writer to Hilltown Families. Contact him at

%d bloggers like this: