Tag Archives: Baby Beluga

“Children Are Original Blessings Here to Learn their Own Song,” Raffi

Raffi Red Shirt “We find these joys to be self evident: That all children are created whole, endowed with innate intelligence, with dignity and wonder, worthy of respect.  The embodiment of life, liberty and happiness, children are original blessings here to learn their own song.  Every girl and boy is entitled to love, to dream and belong to a loving ‘village.’ And to pursue a life of purpose.”  These beautiful words are taken from A Covenant for Honouring Children written by Raffi, the musician turned activist.

For those of you who’ve been keeping up with my blog lately, I’ve been on a Raffi kick.  Part of the reason for my current fascination with Raffi is due to the fact that my baby beluga singing boys get to experience Raffi in concert this weekend.  Another reason, however, is that Raffi has done so much more than create memorable songs, he’s started a movement to protect and honor all children.

If you’re like many of my friends, you may be wondering who the heck is Raffi as you’ve never heard of him.  Maybe you listened to other tunes growing up? Another possibility may be due to the fact that that Raffi has turned down countless opportunities to make his music more mainstream.  Committed to a belief that children should not be marketed to, he has declined all opportunities to have his music air on commercial television shows and advertisements.  He recently turned down offers to have baby beluga, the loved character from his hit song Baby Beluga, turned into a film.  The deal breaker was the fact that it would have included rights to advertise directly to kids.

Needless to say, Raffi fearlessly takes a stand for those things in which he believes.  Rather than sell his baby beluga themes to marketers, he went ahead and became an advocate for protecting the whales in the 1980s. He produced an album Evergreen Everblue, which has gained praise generally and even from the UN.  With songs like Big Beautiful Planet, We Are Not Alone, Just Like the Sun, the album offers multiple opportunities to teach children about where they live and taking care of it.

In the 1990s he took his advocacy further and developed a general guide for honoring children.  It evolved to become the Covenant for Honouring Children.   The themes are similar to those from the United Nations’ Declaration of the Rights of The Child.  “THIS DECLARATION OF THE RIGHTS OF THE CHILD to the end that he may have a happy childhood and enjoy for his own good and for the good of society the rights and freedoms herein set forth.” CITE  Raffi advocates for a duty to “nourish and nurture” as well as a commitment to “peaceful ways.” CITE

The Covenant suggests nine principles for living:  respectful love, diversity, caring community, conscious parenting, emotional intelligence, nonviolence, safe environments, sustainability and ethical commerce.  The philosophy is explained in Raffi’s book Child Honouring: How to Turn this World Around.   The Dalai Lama in his foreword takes the philosophy further explaining that “Many of the world’s problems and conflicts arise because we have lost sight of the basic humanity that binds us together as a human family.”  Children understand the connection to each other.  And, as both the Dalai Lama and Raffi agree children are the seeds to the future of our world.

With such thought provoking words, one can’t help but reflect on how important it is for us to protect, nurture and love our seedling children at home, in our neighborhood and schools.

Feel like becoming a part of this revolution?  There are things you can do from just implementing the principles in your daily life to getting involved in the Child Honouring movement.   Spreading the word, adding your name to the list of folks calling for an end to violence against children, writing local elected officials about banning advertising to kids and donating money are all ways to further the cause.

For together we can make the world as Raffi envisions, to allow children “to learn their own song.  Every girl and boy is entitled to love, to dream and belong to a loving ‘village.’ And to pursue a life of purpose.”

Raffi is Coming to Town!

Photo Credit Jon Benjamin

The all time children’s superstar, Raffi, is on tour!  Haven’t heard of Raffi?  Well, he has been creating classic children’s music since the 70s.  His songs like Baby Beluga, Down By the Bay and Apples and Bananas have captivated generations of children.

I’ve been a fan since probably the 80s when his tunes entertained me and my little brothers and sisters.  Now,  Raffi’s songs entertain my little boys.  On a daily basis, Bobby marches around the house singing Apples and Bananas.  And, CJ chimes in with grunts here and there.

I just can’t wait to let them sing Apples and Bananas with Raffi live in concert!  Luckily neither they nor I will have to wait that long since Raffi is on tour!

He will be in Berkeley on April 6, then hopscotching around the country.  Interested in more details? Then, click here.

The concerts will benefit the Center for Child Honouring, an organization founded by Raffi based upon a Covenant for Honouring Children, an absolutely inspirational movement promoting the rights of children and aimed at bettering the world for all children.  Check back for more information about the Covenant for Honouring Children as it more than warrants a separate discussion.

You’ve Got To Sing When The Spirit Says Sing – Music, Child Development & Raffi

Photo Credit Jon BenjaminSome say the first language of babies is music as they experience it in the womb.  From this early exposure, babies learn to love rhythm.  I noticed Bobby’s special connection with rhythm from the first moments of meeting him.  He was a bit of a fussy baby.  So, a constant dance-like bounce was all that would soothe him.  Once that stopped working, he would calm by listening to Yo Yo Ma.  The drastic impact music had on Bobby got me thinking about the relevance of music in his development.  I’ve learned that a connection with music plays an important role as the foundation for literacy and other social and cultural development.

Why is Music Important?

“The necessity of music in human intellectual development has been discussed as far back as ancient Greece, in the 6th century B.C. In Plato’s Book of Laws II, a discussion is presented between an Athenian student and his teacher, Clinias, that describes the ancient Greek views on the importance of music education.

Athenian: So, by the uneducated man we shall mean one who has no choric training; and by an educated man whose choric training has been thorough.

Clinias: Exactly.

Athenian: And, mark you., the choric art as a whole embraces both dance and song.

Clinias: No doubt.

Athenian: Thus it follows that a well-educated man can both sing well and dance well.

Clinias: So it would seem.” CITE

Many advocate for continuing a child’s early exposure to music.  One such group of experts explain: “Early musical training helps develop brain areas involved in language and reasoning. It is thought that brain development continues for many years after birth. Recent studies have clearly indicated that musical training physically develops the part of the left side of the brain known to be involved with processing language, and can actually wire the brain’s circuits in specific ways.” (Cite)

Music At Our House

Continuing Bobby’s exposure has been a bit tricky.   At 3.5 years old, he seems a bit young to sit through lessons.  But music is still on his mind.  The other day, he was in the backyard with two sticks.  One was double his height.  He held it upright in one hand and took another stick and began to strum the larger stick.  When asked what he was doing, he replied that he was playing the cello.  Later that night he pretended to play the flute.  And, his little brother, who we call Bam Bam due to his love of banging on everything and everyone, used two sticks to beat the ground.  Future drummer?  Maybe.  So, we had a delightful time singing songs amidst the trees.  After all, in the words of Raffi, you’ve gotta sing when the spirit says sing.

The favorite song these days is Baby Beluga. Thank you Raffi Cavoukian, the superstar of kids’ music, for creating this charming song that introduces lil ones to the wonders of the ocean.  Singing Raffi with my kids is nostalgic for me as I remember singing his songs with my six younger siblings.

The All Time Children’s Superstar, Raffi

Haven’t heard of Raffi?  Well he has been creating classic children’s music since the 70s.  I’ve been a fan since probably the 80s when his tunes entertained me and my little brothers and sisters.  For me, it is wild that now, I am enjoying his music with my own children.  What’s wilder than that? Well, letting them experience Raffi in concert.

Raffi will be on tour this year.  He will be in Berkeley on April 6, then hopscotching around the country.  Interested in more details, then check here.  The concerts will benefit Child Honouring, an organization founded by Raffi based upon a Covenant for Honouring Children, an absolutely inspirational movement to help make the world a better place for all children.  Check back for more information about the Covenant for Honouring Children as it more than warrants a separate discussion.

Ways To Introduce Your Kids To Music

There are so many ways to introduce young kids to music.  From streaming music in the background, asking them what they think of it, singing, dancing and playing instruments or sticks as the case may be.  In addition, concerts are a great way to let them gain another perspective.  Raffi’s concert is one such event and should be amazing!  But if you can’t make that, then check out your local community.  Consider attending a high school performance, church choir concert, music class or youth symphony.  Library storytimes also can incorporate music as well.

Thanks for reading!   Wishing you and your little ones magical times making music memories!