Dana Rudolph

New Kids' Album from Grammy Winners Celebrates All Families

Filed By Dana Rudolph | October 28, 2014 9:00 AM | comments

Filed in: Entertainment
Tags: children, family, music, same-sex parenting

Families with same-sex parents are only one of the many types of families celebrated in the warm and funny new children's album Dancin' in the Kitchen, by two-time Grammy Award-winning duo Cathy Fink and Marcy Marxer.

CathyMarcy-Family-JPEG-450.jpgFink and Marxer are best known for their traditional and contemporary folk, old-time country, and swing music. They've made 44 albums together, working with musical greats such as Pete Seeger and Tom Paxton, and have composed and performed award-winning children's music for 25 years.

They had long wanted to make a children's album that more families could identify with, Fink said in an interview. She cited as inspiration the 1986 children's book (and associated album) Free to Be... A Family, developed by actor and activist Marlo Thomas, which defined family as "a feeling of belonging." Dancin' in the Kitchen is a fresh take on similar themes, with an expanded range of families.

They brought together songwriters, performers, and a children's chorus to create a wonderful tapestry of an album that combines a variety of musical styles and family types. The pieces have all been recorded, but Fink and Marxer recently launched a Kickstarter campaign to raise funds for publicity and marketing before the album is released.

The common thread throughout is what makes a family and a home -- with almost all of the songs looking at the world from a child's perspective. We meet families with same-sex parents, different-sex parents, adoptive parents, divorced parents, single parents, mixed-race parents, stepparents, grandparents as guardians, and siblings from around the world, among others.

There are no songs about transgender parents, but a few songs tackle gender stereotypes.

The most touching track is the lullaby "Everything Possible," written by Fred Small. In it, a parent says, "I will sing you a song no one sang to me. May it keep you good company. You can be anybody you want to be. You can love whomever you will." A later verse is more specific: "Some women love women. Some men love men."

That song first appeared on their 1992 album, Nobody Else Like Me, and they had wanted to include a children's chorus in it then. Although most of the children's parents loved the song, Fink said, others threatened to stop their children from performing on the album at all.

Fink and Marxer told them they would not be censored. The chorus did not sing the song, but the women "recorded it as a trio with folksinger David Roth and closed the album with it."

Times have changed, and the song now has "a beautiful kids' chorus" added to the original tracks.

Fink and Marxer are planning to release the new album in mid-February 2015. If they raise more than their goal on Kickstarter, they hope to use it on additional public relations, gift recordings for various children's programs, and music videos. They are also partnering with HRC's Welcoming Schools program to get their music into the lives of more young people.

That would indeed be something for all families to dance about.

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