Friday, May 20, 2016

Raffi

Both Tom and I feel there are two great men whom we ‘met’ when our children were young. One is Fred Rogers, and the other is Raffi. Sadly, Mister Rogers has left this earth, but happily, oh how happily, Raffi is still with us, and we saw him last evening in Burlington, Vermont!! It was a lucky happening in that Margaret and Hazel were heading over that way to stay a couple nights with Matthew’s sister, and Raffi was going to be in town. And in one of those unexplainable, cosmic sorts of things, May 19 is the day that Margaret’s adoption was finalized.


Raffi was the man, the artist in the 1980s at Windy Poplars Farm. Oh, I was aware of Men At Work, Huey Lewis, Boy George, The Police, and even bought their albums, but the main music in the house and in the car for those years was sung by Raffi. He brought humor and fun and warmth and caring to the lives of little children. As we heard those songs in person, I smiled and I cried with joy. The years slipped away and I was a mother of little children again. And then I’d look over and there was one of those children holding her child, and the tears would just flow at this wonderful circle of life. 

Raffi calls the people like Margaret ‘Beluga Grads’ from probably his most famous song, Baby Beluga.


The video was from 1988 when Raffi and I were both 40. 

He sang a couple new songs, but mostly he did the songs all those ‘Beluga Grads’ came to hear. We were his back-up singers. Everyone knew the words to The Wheels on the Bus, Down By The Bay, Apples and Bananas, and my very most favorite, All I Really Need. No video, but the music and lyrics. It is like a meditative mantra to me.


I put the words up on my 67th birthday post here. And I featured his Christmas album here

The show was about an hour long, perfect for all the little ones in the audience. He chose the line-up of songs just right. Lively and interactive, then a couple slow lullaby-like songs, and then some move-your-body kinds of songs. He got a standing ovation. We were in the presence of a holy man, I truly believe. His life is devoted to children, through music, and through his Child-Honouring.

16 comments:

  1. This is wonderful! Raffi was quite a celebrity in our house in the 90s and we took our oldest daughter to see him in 1994(in Syracuse, NY) when she was 4. It was a big treat for her because the baby sisters stayed home! So glad to know he is still around and performing after all these years. I'd welcome the opportunity to introduce a new generation to his work, too.

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    1. It is wonderful indeed that his message is being sung to a new generation. Such a good, good man. That's so neat that you saw him with your daughter!

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  2. What a lovely day for you! Raffi is just the wrong time for us- my oldest was born in 97 and we just weren't into him. (We did some time with The Wiggles) Raffi was in Charlottetown on Sunday. He must have left me and gone right to you!

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    1. Yup! Four days later! We were so lucky to have him so close. The next closest is Boston which is way more hassle than Burlington, and the only other US stop is NYC. A show of a lifetime. Better (for me) than if I'd seen the Beatles when they were all alive.

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  3. This is wonderful. I remember taking care of my (then) youngest grandchild who was an infant so that Cyndi and Jeff could take the two older ones to a Raffi concert in Eugene. They all four came back with the hugest smiles. And when the older toddlers each had their Grandma and Grandpa turn the next week they sang us all the songs they'd heard. (So even though I'm a generation older I have lovely memories of this great entertainer and human being. And I can still sing the bus song taught to me second hand, but wonderfully ;>). I will have to ask my grandson and granddaughter if they remember him. I am sure they do.

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    1. Wonderful story!! You could buy some albums for yourself, Sallie!! I told people I would have gone even if Margaret and Hazel didn't go!

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  4. I'm glad you were able to go to that concert together, it obviously was a great experience for you, and will be safely stored in the memory bank with your most precious ones.
    This is the first time I ever hear of or about Raffi; he's probably never been widely known in Germany. Although my parents loved music (and still do, esp. my Dad), we did not have special children's songs on records or tapes. We just listened to what they were listening to, which was a lot of Beatles, Abba, and tons of clasical music from Bach to Händel, Gershwin (I count him among the classics, too) to Mozart.

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    1. That's very interesting. I wonder if it is just the US that has a lot of children's music. A lot of famous singers have done albums of music for kids.

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  5. When I was a pre-school teacher and then Kindergarten teacher I used Raffi's music all the time. So glad to know he's still performing.

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    1. That is so great! He is a wonderful man.

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  6. I can't believe I've never heard of him. I must pass this along to my daughter-in-law. I'm so glad the timing worked out for you all to go!

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    1. Oh, that makes me especially happy that I posted about him! He's a good person to know!!

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  7. I was visiting classrooms that served preschoolers with disabilities in the 80's for my job (offering assistance to teachers), and I can attest that Raffi was popular in those classes. too.

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    1. That is so great. I wonder if he knows this. Such a good man.

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  8. I have fond memories of Raffi and can still sing many of his songs without hearing the music to help me along. Never have seen him live, but I can imagine what a magical evening it would be. "All I really need is a song in my heart, food in my belly, and love in my family..."

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