Raffi, the Washington Post called you,"the most popular children’s singer in the English-speaking world." Parents (and kids) know you for your songs "Down by the Bay," "The More We Get Together," and "Baby Beluga," amongst countless others. How does it feel to have had such a career connecting with children?
It’s a privilege to have children and families love my music. Now a new generation is singing my songs, and their parents (my original child fans) are now among the over ten million adult “beluga grads” out there. It’s an honour to know my music’s been part of the soundtrack of so many childhoods.
You consistently refuse to use your music and voice to market products directly to children. Why?
It’s unethical to sell directly to children, because they’re not old enough to appraise the pitch. Kids have a right to a commercial-free childhood. So, I’ve never done commercial endorsements.
Tell us about the Centre for Child Honouring.
I founded this non-profit, in 2010, on Salt Spring Island, where I live. It’s a foundation with programs, both local and global, and with international partnerships. Its mission is to help build a sustainable world fit for kids, by advancing Child Honouring as a universal ethic.
Child Honouring is a vision to simultaneously respect Earth and all her children-an integrated vision that has won acclaim by leading thinkers in education, medicine, religion, psychology, and business. I invite everyone to read, listen, and view the info presented on our website-childhonouring.org-and to become a Friend of the Centre, with a donation of $25 or more. We rely on your donations.
My favourite Raffi song is, "The More We Get Together" (which I taught with song and sign language to my one-year-old). Do you have a favourite that stands out from your song list?
Tough to pick a fave. I love them all. My 1980 Baby Beluga album contains both the title song (now a classic, I’m told) and “All I Really Need,” which I’m very fond of. My 1985 song, “Like Me and You,” is about the universality of the child, and the 1994 Bananaphone CD features both the zany title song and also “First Peoples,” a song about the indigenous cultures of our world. Then there’s “Let’s Play” and…uh oh…don’t get me goin’!
Your newest release, “On Hockey Days,” will launch on iTunes on March 26 (April 3 in USA). What inspired you to sing about Hockey?
In recent years, I’ve become a “global troubadour” who writes and sings of global themes, world events, and leading world figures. My songs have included celebrations of Nelson Mandela, Jane Goodall, cultural historian Riane Eisler, eco-industrialist Ray Anderson, Jack Layton, and have touched on themes as diverse as peace in the Middle East, the importance of early years, social justice, economics, and much more.
“On Hockey Days” is a love song for the game loved by millions of young and old. It expresses the spirit of amateur hockey-a catchy tune that links fun, fair play and respect. Who knows? It may become my new most popular song! And proceeds from the sale of the song on iTunes will benefit the Centre For Child Honouring. So, it’s a big win-win all around.
Finally, any Canadian concerts forecasted this summer/fall?
No concerts planned. I will be mostly on holiday this summer.