The Best of Raffi – Review

Raffi is one of those phenomena that I missed as a kid. So, his music was a pleasant surprise when I started searching out children’s music for my own kids. I don’t know if you have ever tried to curate a list of decent kids music on Spotify, but it’s an uphill battle. There is a lot of really bad stuff out there, and slogging through 20 bad versions of The Wheels on the Bus can be torture. I quickly spotted a few names I could count on to provide decent kids music. Raffi is at the top of that list.

Photo by Carrie Nuttall

Luckily, Rounder Records has recently released the Best of Raffi. If you don’t want to search through bad kids music to find good music, you can just pick up this album. While Raffi has released nearly 30 children’s albums over the last 40 years, this album contains all the favorites in one place. When I was asked to review this album, I found that many of these songs were already in my personal Spotify playlists.

One of the things that makes Raffi’s music so good is that he really sounds like he’s having fun. His singing is real, the guitar is real, and when he has kids singing on his album, they can actually sing, too. (You would think this would be a prerequisite for all kids albums, but trust me, it’s not). Another great thing about Raffi is that he plays kids music that adults will also like. He doesn’t try to turn adult music into kids music, but he also doesn’t dumb down his songs for the kids. Kids songs should be fun. They should have obvious and easy rhymes. They should encourage kids to move. Raffi’s music does all these things. The songs on this album include rhymes that schools love to have kids come into kindergarten knowing. My kindergartner loves these songs.

Best Of Raffi track list:

  1. Baby Beluga
  2. Down By the Bay
  3. Apples and Bananas
  4. Shake My Sillies Out
  5. Wheels On the Bus
  6. Day O
  7. Bananaphone
  8. Let’s Play
  9. Everything Grows
  10. Mr. Sun
  11. Love Bug
  12. Owl Singalong
  13. One Light One Sun
  14. Rise and Shine
  15. If You’re Happy and You Know It
  16. Thanks a Lot

Raffi’s first album came out when I was 4, I have kids around that age now and he is still going strong at the age of 69. He tours through the Twin Cities pretty much annually. His next show is next month. He’ll be at Pantages on April 7, 2018. Tickets start at $33, so while it is kind of a special outing; it would be fun to see a concert where my kids know every song.

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