Child’s Play – Reggae Music for Your Kids (And You!)

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Today is the beginning of Child Month, which is being celebrated under the theme ‘Parents Take Responsibility: Break the Cycle.’ This theme is aimed at encouraging parents to play more active roles in their children’s holistic development, from educational to social and spiritual needs.

diGJamaica has some great features planned for the month, but we’re kicking things off with some music. Children love music, whether it’s learning to play an instrument or singing along to their favourite songs. However, there seems to be a shortage of kid-friendly hits on the radio these days, certainly from a local perspective. Help your little ones to develop an appreciation for Reggae and their culture with our special playlist below. Feel free to sing along, too!

  • Sing ‘n’ Learn by JC Lodge – This new three-CD series features (vol 2 and vol 3) children’s classics such as Old McDonald, along with JC Lodge originals that teach children everything from the months of the year to self respect and how to treat animals, even a little Spanish and French! The albums are great for everyone from the little ones to pre-teens. Several of the songs might be familiar, coming from Lodge’s popular 2000 Television Jamaica series also called ‘Sing n Learn.’
  • Family Time by Ziggy Marley – Following in his legendary dad’s musical footsteps, the oldest Marley son is a Reggae superstar in his own right. He changed gears for this his third solo album, which is dedicated to children and families. The 11-track, Grammy-winning album features songs that appeal to ‘Future Men and Future Ladies’ of all ages. It features guest appearances by Toots Hibbert, Rita and Cedella Marley, Paul Simon and more, including two brief narrations from Hollywood actress Jamie Lee Curtis. There is also a fun sing-along version.
  • Reggae for Kids (Party Box) by Multiple Artistes – This 20-year-old collection covers the hit four-album series, which showcases some of Jamaica’s biggest Reggae stars covering kids favourites and some Reggae classics, all done in island ‘stylee.’ Listen our for the ‘Cool Ruler,’ Gregory Isaacs, singing ‘Puff the Magic Dragon,’ JC Lodge and Dean Fraser putting their own spins on ‘Over the Rainbow,’ Bunny Wailer’s high-energy rendition of ‘Hakuna Matata’ and Luciano’s take on ‘When You Wish Upon A Star,’ and much, much more. The collection ends with a stirring cover of ‘Can You Feel the Love Tonight?’ done by Freddie McGregor and Marcia Griffiths.
  • B is for Bob – Bob Marley and the Wailers –  This album of Bob and the Wailers’ hits comes courtesy of Ziggy Marley, who remixed most of the 14 hits to appeal to children. Much of the more pronounced production has been stripped away, leading to a semi-acoustic vibe.
  • It’s A Bam Bam Diddly by Father GooseFather Goose, also known as Rankin Don, is a Jamaican-born entertainer who has been a staple in the children’s entertainment arena for the past seven years. He has also appeared on child entertainment star Dan Zanes and Friends’ seven albums, where he is one of the most popular sidekicks. ‘Bam Bam Diddly’ features 14 songs, showcasing folk classics such as ‘Long Time Gal,’ ‘Chi Chi Buddo’ and ‘Sly Mongoose,’ along with Father Goose originals such as ‘Reminisce,’ which recounts his days playing games as “a kid living in Ja” before moving to the USA.
  • Putumayo Kids Presents Reggae Playground – Putumayo World Music was established in 1993 to introduce listeners to the music of the world’s various cultures. The label grew out of Putumayo clothing company, founded by Dan Storper in 1975. The ‘Reggae Playground’ album is a catchy collection of reggae songs from around the world, featuring artistes such as Toots and the Maytals, Rita Marley, Judy Mowatt and Trinidadian kids’ music star Asheba. This is a great way to introduce your kids to other languages and cultures.
  • Jamaican Mannaz by Wayne Marshall, Giomar Mitchell, Jana Bent and Selah Channell – If you’re looking for a fun way to teach your little ones the basics of common courtesy, then Jamaican Mannaz is just right. The catchy song, done by popular artiste Wayne Marshall and his song Giomar, along with children’s author Jana Bent and her daughter Selah Channell, is perfect for singing along. Pretty soon, you won’t be able to get the lyrics out of your head.
  • Childrens’ Jamaican Songs and Games by Louise Bennett Coverley – Miss Lou is a cultural icon who is beloved for her Anancy stories and her work in legitimising the Jamaican dialect, but she also loved singing folk songs for our kids – Ring Ding still holds a special place in the hearts of many Jamaicans to this day. This collection of folk songs include Jamaican Alphabet, Manuel Ground, Rocky Road and more.