If you’ve ever been fortunate to see “The First Lady of Children’s Music” Ella Jenkins perform live, you would know that it’s a wonderful experience. From her facial expressions to the way she looks at the children scattered at her feet…hanging on every musical note, story and game that involve various languages, rhyming and even some clapping, snapping and silliness. She’s an award-winning, Chicago-based children’s performer who over several decades has appeared on TV, radio and live in hundreds of schools and public libraries. Our oldest daughters got to see Ms. Jenkins perform at the Chicago Public Library seven years ago. One of my friends who’s in her early 40s told me about how she remembered seeing Ella perform live at her school while growing up in Chicago’s public schools.
Ella Jenkins is inspiring and knows how to hold kids interest. So when we heard she was releasing a CD, 123s and ABCs, we took a listen and were quite impressed. Our youngest daughter is almost 5, and she enjoyed listening to the counting and alphabet in multiple languages and counts along with Ella and the children she sings with. Our daughter requested to hear the music in her room, and when I peeked in on her she was dancing in the mirror. Our 4-month-old baby enjoys listening as well; we played it for him while he was lying on the floor. It really held his interest.
In 2004, Ella Jenkins won a Grammy Lifetime Achievement Award. She’s in her ninth decade of providing a rare model of music that supports the learning styles of young children. This is her 34th album for Smithsonian Folkways, the non-profit record label for the Smithsonian, which spans an amazing 56 years. Her latest release features four languages (English, Spanish, Swahili and Yiddish). You’ll love the spin she puts on classic songs and her chorus of young singers who you can tell adore her. Ella is a music educator and her flair for composing and educating kids is amazing. 123s and ABCs has 16 tracks that include “This Old Man” and “Farmer Brown Had Ten green Apples” and lasts 31 minutes.
Your children will love the game-playing tunes and learn about other languages, too. And if you aren’t able to see her perform live, don’t worry; her cd will make you feel like you are in the same room. Her warmth and laughter is contagious! You can also win a copy of Jenkins latest release courtesy of Smithsonian Folkways Recordings. Just “like” the Play Dates and Power Lunches Facebook page and one can be yours!
The new CD ($11.98 SRP) is available here.