He’s been singing the childhood classics since the eighties, but his tunes withstand the test of time and his show is worth seeing for fans of all ages.
In case you were wondering, Raffi holds up. I took my daughter to see him last weekend at Roy Thomson Hall, her second concert experience after seeing Splash n Boots. No offense to the vocal styling of Splash n Boots, but I had a really great time at Raffi. It was the music of my childhood, which has now become a favourite of my daughter’s and it was still the celebration of childish fun I remember.
Sure, the years have passed and Raffi’s sporting more grey hair than I remembered. But he still had that sweet, gentle enthusiasm and sense of whimsy as he made banana jokes and puns that even I laughed at.
We rocked out to the classics: Baby Beluga, The More We Get Together, Down by the Bay – he really packed in a lot for an hour performance. And especially given that it was a kids' show, it was one of the best organized events I’ve been to. He started only a few minutes behind and, throughout the show, encouraged the kids in the audience to sing along clap along and repeat back to him. There were medleys and silly jokes and a lot of laughter - something that I feel like we all need these days.
Also, let’s face it, his tunes are catchy as hell, and a welcome reprieve from the likes of Baby Shark (no offense, I can rock out to it at the best of times, but sometimes you need a little variety).
The show made me nostalgic for my own childhood, rocking out to the first real songs I ever absorbed and paid attention to. It felt like passing something along to my daughter in a way, a piece of my childhood connected with hers and I love that idea so much.
I think one of the most incredible things about Raffi is that it’s just him, a microphone and a guitar (and prop bananas). To have one man hold the rapt attention of children, without large backdrops or set pieces, puppets or other surprise guests, speaks to what a wonderful performer he is and why we keep coming back after all these years.