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    Mr. Greg’s “Sweet Ella Jenkins” Celebrates the Life and Legacy of “The First Lady of Children’s Music”

    Songwriter, preschool teacher, and Bay Area-native Mr. Greg presents two fun and participatory new songs to celebrate the 100th birthday of the legendary Ella Jenkins. A GRAMMY Lifetime Achievement Award winner who’s been fondly dubbed “The First Lady of Children’s Music,” Ella Jenkins has dedicated her career to using movement and interactivity to teach basic skills to at least three generations of young children. Mr. Greg honors her life and legacy twice over: “Sweet Ella Jenkins” is an infectious original tune featuring lyrics peppered with memorable lines from Ella Jenkins classics, and “I Like Animals” is a cover of Ella’s eponymous musical jaunt to the zoo featuring additional lyrics (and new animals!) by Mr. Greg.

    Listen to “Sweet Ella Jenkins” and “I Like Animals” here:

    Like Mr. Greg’s first album on Smithsonian Folkways—a collaboration with the enigmatic Cass McCombs—“Sweet Ella Jenkins” and “I Like Animals” engage playfully with the practices and heroes of everyday life. Sung along with friends, students, and local community members, these tracks are an earnest and apropos tribute to the woman who taught us all to “sing a song together.” This centennial tribute features digital liner notes with drawings, photos, and text by Mr. Greg as well as writing by Ella’s children’s book biographer Dr. Ty-Juana Taylor.

    Our “Summer of Ella” includes the LP reissue of two Ella Jenkins classics—You’ll Sing a Song and I’ll Sing a Song (1966) and A Long Time to Freedom(1969)—along with new music inspired by Ella Jenkins’ vibrant life, the digital release of all of her Smithsonian Folkways albums on our Bandcamp, and the release of unseen archival photos and footage. Mr. Greg also made two lesson plans that use Ella Jenkins’ music to teach Kindergarten and Pre-K children about exploring and protecting nature: check them out here. Keep an ear to the ground for more to come all summer long!

    Mr. Greg’s “Sweet Ella Jenkins” Celebrates the Life and Legacy of “The First Lady of Children’s Music” | Smithsonian Folkways Recordings