(Credit: Lucky Diaz and the Family Jam Band)
Ready to rock out to some of the best family-friendly music the Los Angeles area has to offer? Here’s a list of six great L.A. bands that you and your kids will love. These groups often play shows around the city, so visit their websites to listen to their music, watch videos, and find out about upcoming concerts.
Lucky Diaz and the Family Jam Band
Husband and wife team Lucky Diaz and Alisha Gaddis, along with their rotating cast of talented musical guests, have so much fun on stage, it’s infectious. Even parents will find themselves bopping their heads to the beat of the band’s catchy surf rock tunes. Kids love these Latin Grammy winners, who wear cute vintage outfits and sing (in both English and Spanish) about everything from blue bears to piñata attacks. Lucky Diaz and the Family Jam Band have appeared on CNN, Univision, PBS, and Sprout, and their music regularly tops the SiriusXM Kids Place Radio chart. Check them out at the Americana, the Skirball Cultural Center, and the Levitt Pavilion.
Jazzy Ash and the Leaping Lizards
When you hear her sing, you’ll realize why Ashli Christoval performs under the name of Jazzy Ash. She and her band, the Leaping Lizards, take kids on a musical journey to New Orleans, introducing them to the sounds of gypsy jazz, swing, blues, and zydeco. Ash’s cover of Louis Armstrong’s “Heebie Jeebies” reached #1 on SiriusXM Kids Place Radio, and the band’s latest album, Bon Voyage, is full of joyful songs about the magic of movement. Jazzy Ash and the Leaping Lizards have performed everywhere from the Getty Center to the Santa Monica Pier.
Andrew & Polly
Andrew Barkan and Polly Hall are a married couple who sing harmonies on original indie pop songs as well as classics like, “Here Comes the Sun.” In 2012, they won the ASCAP Foundation Joe Raposo Childrens’ Music Award for the song “When You’re a Dog,” which describes life from a dog’s point of view. When they aren’t writing and performing imaginative songs for kids, Andrew and Polly create music for movies, TV shows, and commercials. The duo’s latest album, Ear Snacks, is the soundtrack to their music-filled podcast, also called Ear Snacks. Catch an Andrew & Polly show at the Zimmer Children’s Museum or Children’s Book World.
Norman Jones, Rhythm Child’s founder and front man, started playing children’s music when he became a parent. Nowadays, his kids, Bailey and Andre, often perform with the band, and his wife, Heather, manages the group. In addition to being a musician, Jones works in music education. He brings extra instruments to Rhythm Child concerts and encourages young audience members to drum along with the band. Rhythm Child’s music combines reggae, hiphop, and ska sounds with lyrics from classic folk songs and nursery rhymes, so adults will find it easy to sing along. See them at the Americana, the Grove, or Kidspace Children’s Museum.
The Hollow Trees
The Hollow Trees perform around L.A. on a regular basis, but if you ask where they’re from, they’ll say Nelsonville. Nelsonville is an imaginary coastal town that features an enchanted forest, a magic meadow, and a hollow tree — and it’s where lots of their songs take place. The band describes their music as “folk music for families,” and band members play all sorts of instruments, including guitar, mandolin, ukulele, banjo, accordion and even a jug. When The Hollow Trees play live, it’s like an old-timey hootenanny, but even more fun.
Mista Cookie Jar & The Chocolate Chips
C.J. Pizarro (known to youngsters as Mista Cookie Jar) and his kids, Lucas and Ava Flava, play “urban island folky rock and roll for the inner child.” They perform groovy jams about things like gratitude and holding on to your dreams, and let listeners know that they’re part of the love bubble, an imaginary force field powered by love. Mista Cookie Jar and The Chocolate Chips turn every show into a party, and it’s a party your family won’t want to miss. Catch them live at the Zimmer Children’s Museum, the Getty Center, or Cow’s End in Venice.