Musical Journeys with Yoto
Words by Dom Hodge, Head of Music
My love of music started in my childhood and at Yoto we believe very much in helping kids and families discover a wide breadth of music and sounds. We want to help a new generation of kids fall in love with the power of music.
There’s nothing I like more than putting on some music and letting my mind wander. Music has an amazing ability to transport me to places and through time, to create images, feelings and stories that draw me in.
These are some cards that each have their own unique way of taking listeners on a journey, happy listening and enjoy the ride!
My first selection is a collection of instrumental pieces especially chosen for Yoto by pianist Chad Lawson. Born in North Carolina, Chad knew he wanted to be a musician at the age of five. He is a master musician and his brilliance is evident through his gifted original compositions and his interpretations of the beloved classics. This Yoto card is designed to aid mindful relaxation or even sleep. Lots of kids (and parents) from around the world have sent us messages telling us how much they love its calming and peaceful effects.
This next card is one that can take many listeners on a physical journey to an exotic and far away place. A literal musical ticket! Mali is a country steeped in a rich musical history, from the dusty blues of the desert to the energetic and vibrant sounds of the cities. This card was created in partnership with our friends at legendary world music label Mr Bongo, alongside cards that take listeners to Ghana and Brazil, with others to follow in the future.
Music and nature have a special connection, no more so than in the songs of birds. Cosmo Sheldrake created this wonderful collection as a way to raise awareness around many endangered birds in the UK. By recording their songs and taking them to his studio he was able to weave together gorgeous musical pieces that sound both familiar and other worldly. I find it both soothing and exciting and a lovely background soundtrack when playing with my daughter or reading.
My penultimate selection comes from New York based musician and educator Elena Moon Park. Unhurried Journey is a collection of songs for all ages that celebrates the beauty of taking our time to appreciate every moment of our individual and collective journeys. The album is inspired by the artwork of Kristiana Pärn, and features original songs based on her artwork plus reimagined folk and children's songs from East and Southeast Asia. Each song is also a deep musical collaboration. They feature musicians and friends of Elena from Korea, Cambodia, Indonesia, Japan, Taiwan, China, Mexico and the US.
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My final selection is a Yoto Original card that’s designed to soundtrack road trips, vacations, flights…or really any trip. It’s a collection of songs and activities built around the travel themes we all know and love - from eye spy, to ‘are we there yet!?’ to the fun of packing your bags - they are designed to get families moving and grooving and laughing along the way. This was such a fun project to work on and listening to it always makes me smile.