Songs about animals, written by kids

  • Ha Ha Hyenas
  • As Picky as a Panda
  • Peek-a-boo Kangaroo
  • Jiggly Jiggly Jellyfish
  • Cheetah Cheetah
  • Duck-billed Platypus
  • Who's That Bird?
  • Humpback Whale
  • Polar Bears
  • Howler Monkeys
  • Can You Hear The Wolves
  • Golden Eagles Soar
  • The Sloth Song

Here we are performing "Ha Ha Hyenas" just a few meters from the Hyena enclosure at the Albuquerque BioPark Zoo, as part of The Children's Hour podcast and live radio show on KUNM in Albuquerque.

After years of collaborating with elementary students to write songs about animals, I have recorded a demo album of the songs.

how the songs were written

When students at Anansi Charter School were studying various regions of the world, their excitement about animals needed to be made into songs. I would cook up a melody, rhythm and chord progression, and students would cook up lyrics to go with it. Polar regions, rainforests, Africa, North America, Australia, China... the songs have been piling up for years, frequently requested by students during music classes.

Here is a video of me describing the songwriting process while being interviewed by Katie Stone live on "The Children's Hour" on KUNM in Albuquerque.

the demo recording

From August to November, 2016, I recorded these thirteen songs in my home studio, slowly layering tracks. Scratch tracks, cajón, bass, rhythm guitar, keyboards, percussion, electric guitar, banjo, oud, melodica--the songs started to take shape.

At last it was time for the vocals, with Brooke Ann Zanetell singing lead on some tracks and me on others. Kids' voices were recorded with a handheld recorder at the school. Royalty-free animal sounds were tracked down on the internet.

Finally, some talented friends gave their time and energy on instrumental solos: Jeremy Jones of Big Swing Theory played soulful tenor saxophone on "Sloth song", "Duck-billed Platypus", and "Polar Bears". Rachael Penn of the Pot Creek String Band played fiddle on "The Sloth Song". Jim Stewart played harmonica on "Howler Monkeys" and "Who's That Bird".

I mixed it all at home with the invaluable assistance of Jim Wilson (Voice of Eye). Mastering was handled by Omar Rane at The Tone Palace.

Contact me about this project!