Video: "Who Got the Baby in the King Cake" - Johnette Downing

The twelfth day of Christmas, known as Epiphany, is the kickoff to a whole season of “King Cake” baking in New Orleans. During Carnival season, folks bake this ring-shaped pastry with brioche dough, with a plastic baby hidden inside. The lucky person who finds the baby is “king” for a day… and, in some traditions, is obligated to host the next party. It’s a virtuous, party-giving circle, all the way through Mardi Gras.

Johnette Downing has recorded many albums featuring the music and traditions of the New Orleans area she calls home, not to mention having written and illustrated a number of books as well. Her latest book, Who Got the Baby in the King Cake?, recounts the tradition.

SwampRompJohnetteDowning.jpeg

To go along with the book, Downing and her husband Scott Billington recruited a trio of Crescent City heavy hitters for a horn front line (trumpeter Kevin Clark, trombonist Craig Klein, and clarinetist Tim Laughlin) to record the book’s accompanying musical track. It grooves and struts sounds classically New Orleans. (The track is from Downing and Billington’s forthcoming album Swamp Romp.)

Anyway, there’s a video to go along with it, which also features Downing’s vibrant illustrations. It’s a bunch of fun. Here’s hoping you find the baby in at least king cake this season.

Johnette Downing - “Who Got the Baby in the King Cake” [YouTube]

Listen To This: "All The Sounds" - Lucy Kalantari and the Jazz Cats (World Premiere!)

All the Sounds album cover

All the Sounds album cover

Big weekend for New York's Lucy Kalantari this weekend -- she's appearing on the Kidzapalooza stage at Lollapalooza today (and yesterday), which, frankly, would probably be enough to qualify anyone's weekend as "big."

But on top of that she's also releasing her new album All the Sounds today, ten songs featuring Kalantari's warm voice and a broad range of jazz styles nimbly interpreted by her backing band The Jazz Cats.  (There's also a guest spot by Secret Agent 23 Skidoo, who blends in quite nicely.)  The album's mostly uptempo, but the closing track, which is also the title track, is a lullaby emphasizing the album's theme of listening to the world around you and the desires inside you.

I'm happy to be offering the world premiere of "All the Sounds" -- the track, and the rest of the album, are available to the world today.

Listen To This: "Free Bubbles" - Mista Cookie Jar (feat. Father Goose!)

"Free Bubbles" single cover

"Free Bubbles" single cover

Good to have Mista Cookie Jar back to offer us more kindie music from about 15 minutes in the future.  This brand new track "Free Bubbles"  might make you feel a little irie, thanks to two of the most positive kids musicians -- that's saying something in this genre.  It's the L.A.-based MCJ himself, teaming up with his New York-based cross-country doppelganger Father Goose.

There's a little more (OK, a lot more) Auto-Tune on this track celebrating free bubbles (soap bubbles, but also more metaphorical bubbles) than Father Goose probably experiences when he plays with frequent collaborator Dan Zanes, but that's just the way that Mista Cookie Jar rolls.

Now, you may have already heard this song getting some airplay on your favorite radio/satellite radio/podcast, for a limited time, starting this first day of summer, you can download the track for name-your-own-price (including free!).  Just follow the link below, and even if you stumble upon this later this summer or the midst of winter, give it a spin for more summertime vibes.