Shine And The Moonbeams: R&B For The Kids

Shawana Kemp, lead singer for Shine and the Moonbeams.

hide captionShawana Kemp, lead singer for Shine and the Moonbeams.

Courtesy of the artists

Family music comes in a broad range of styles – folk, rock, punk and even polka. But, compared with its popularity among adults, there have been very few R&B and soul music albums for kids. Enter Shine and the Moonbeams.

The first thing most listeners notice on the band's self-titled debut album is Shawana Kemp's voice. When she sings "Stop!" on the song "Bully Bully," most listeners do just that. "Bully Bully," in particular, grew out of work Kemp did as a teaching artist specializing in conflict resolution in New York City public schools, and many of the songs co-written by Kemp and guitarist Jonathan Heagle address issues like the power of imagination and being comfortable in your own skin. Sometimes message songs deliver the message at the expense of the music, but Kemp's warm voice and the band's groove keep these songs very listenable.

Any musical genre needs new voices to keep it fresh, and family music is no exception. Whether they knew it or not, I think lots of families have waited a long time for what Shine and the Moonbeams are bringing to the playground.


Stefan Shepherd writes about kids music at Zooglobble.

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