Artist Spotlight:Raffi

Ticket to Raffi

Last weekend, Dena and I went to hear Raffi in concert at the lovely and classy Crest Theatre located in downtown Sacramento. His concert was billed as Raffi – 40 Years of Singable Songs. I’ve been an adult fan of his music for children since he was popular back in the 1980’s. I’ve always appreciated his sense of play while being mindful of the magical spirit of children around the world. When I lose touch of the playful little boy that lives inside of me, Raffi’s music helps me come back around to what’s really important to me. Mostly, the experience of feeling safe and loved in the world while connecting with the joy that lives in me and sharing that joy with others around me.


Connecting with the Inner Child

As expected, I saw a lot of young folks at the concert accompanied by parents and a few grandparents at the concert. Dena and I were holding space in the grandparent category since we have two grandkids, Amanda (5 and a half years old) and Kyle (2 and a half years old). Now that Raffi is in his late 60’s, he seems to be holding a special kind of grandfather spirit. However, he’s still able to tap into his own inner child and be silly and playful while sharing his music with young folks and those folks who are young at heart.

Honoring Children

Raffi quote-I found myself in the gaze of a young child... and in that, I found myself.At the concert, I was surprised to hear that Daniel Lanois had been a recording engineer for Raffi’s 1977 release, More Singable Songs. Lanois went on to produce records for artists such as U2, Peter Gabriel, and Bob Dylan. I was happy to be reminded that many talented folks in the music business have their start in humble beginnings.

Also, I heard Raffi share a story about meeting one of his longtime folk music heroes, Pete Seeger, at Seeger’s home in upstate New York. According to a blog post on Raffi’s website, it was “on a fine spring day with trees in soft green bloom.” It was towards the end of Seeger’s life. Raffi had gone to thank Pete “for all that he had given me over the years.” Raffi sang a few songs for Pete and Pete even joined in singing the chorus of one of Raffi’s best known songs, Baby Beluga.

Here’s one of my favorite songs by Raffi. And, yes, he introduced the song in the concert by holding a banana and sharing a few silly comments (example, “it’s a phone with a-peel”). One phrase of this song (” I’ll call the White House, have a chat”) took on new meaning for me that day. Thank you, Raffi, for all the fun songs and for helping me to stay connected with my joyous little child within.

Liberty Capo Spotlight: Freedom to Love

In my explorations this week, I tried out one of my Liberty Flip capos on an old tune by the Jefferson Airplane called, Somebody to Love. If you know this song, you may hear a few different words here and there. I did Spirit-size it a bit to give it an uplift. To hear a simple demo recording with guitar, partial capo and voice, click here.

And, just for fun, check out this YouTube version of the original Airplane tune. Enjoy!