Skip to main content
  • 123s and ABCs, Smithsonian Folkways Recordings release from 2014

    123s and ABCs, Smithsonian Folkways Recordings release from 2014

    Now Available: Ella Jenkins: 123s and ABCs

    Ella Jenkins: 123s and ABCs distills the genius of America’s “First Lady of Children’s Music” into 16 tracks that teach counting and the alphabet in multiple languages. Ella’s joyful engagement, delight in music and games, and deep respect for children of all backgrounds—make this a classic recording for and with young children. This is Ella’s 34th album for Smithsonian Folkways, spanning an amazing 56 years.

    Now in her ninth decade, she continues to provide a rare model of the music that best suits the lives and learning styles of young children. Her irresistible songs—performed at preschools, schools, camps, and community institutions as well as on radio, television, concerts, and at teachers’ conferences—draw on a long history of children’s game songs coupled with her own genius as a composer and music educator.

    123s and ABCs features songs in four languages (English, Spanish, Swahili, and Yiddish) and includes classics such as “One, Two, Buckle My Shoe” and “This Old Man.”

    Listen to a selections from the album

    Chicago-based Ella Jenkins has received many awards over her long career, including a 2004 GRAMMY Lifetime Achievement Award. In 2005, ‘cELLAbration,’ an album of Ella’s songs performed by Sweet Honey In The Rock, Riders in the Sky, Tom Paxton, Cathy & Marcy, Pete Seeger, Tom Chapin, and others won the 2005 GRAMMY for best children’s album. In 2013, Ella kicked off the Lollapalooza festival kid’s stage. She was the first woman and first children’s musician to receive the ASCAP Foundation’s Lifetime Achievement Award in 1999 and in 2009 earned a United States Artists award. She is one of the first African American women to have a TV show, when in the 1950s she hosted “The Totem Club,” a weekly children’s program broadcast in Chicago. Her “Me Too Series” films were featured numerous times on “Sesame Street,” and she has also appeared on “Barney and Friends” and “Mister Rogers’ Neighborhood.” Her 1966 album ‘You'll Sing a Song and I'll Sing a Song’ is the best-selling title in the history of Smithsonian Folkways Recordings and is part of the Library of Congress National Recording Registry.

    Parenting magazine has said that Jenkins’ “simple but irresistible songs, poems, and mini-language lessons... reflect the beauty of diverse cultures.”

    “Ella Jenkins is a constant source of inspiration and a bottomless well of songs, ideas, and spirit. She is by far the most worldly performer that children’s music has ever known.” — Dan Zanes

    Ella Jenkins: 123s and ABCs distills the genius of America’s “First Lady of Children’s Music” into 16 tracks that teach counting and the alphabet in multiple languages. Ella’s joyful engagement, delight in music and games, and deep respect for children of all backgrounds—make this a classic recording for and with young children. This is Ella’s 34th album for Smithsonian Folkways, spanning an amazing 56 years.

    Now in her ninth decade, she continues to provide a rare model of the music that best suits the lives and learning styles of young children. Her irresistible songs—performed at preschools, schools, camps, and community institutions as well as on radio, television, concerts, and at teachers’ conferences—draw on a long history of children’s game songs coupled with her own genius as a composer and music educator.

    123s and ABCs features songs in four languages (English, Spanish, Swahili, and Yiddish) and includes classics such as “One, Two, Buckle My Shoe” and “This Old Man.”

    Listen to a selections from the album

    Chicago-based Ella Jenkins has received many awards over her long career, including a 2004 GRAMMY Lifetime Achievement Award. In 2005, ‘cELLAbration,’ an album of Ella’s songs performed by Sweet Honey In The Rock, Riders in the Sky, Tom Paxton, Cathy & Marcy, Pete Seeger, Tom Chapin, and others won the 2005 GRAMMY for best children’s album. In 2013, Ella kicked off the Lollapalooza festival kid’s stage. She was the first woman and first children’s musician to receive the ASCAP Foundation’s Lifetime Achievement Award in 1999 and in 2009 earned a United States Artists award. She is one of the first African American women to have a TV show, when in the 1950s she hosted “The Totem Club,” a weekly children’s program broadcast in Chicago. Her “Me Too Series” films were featured numerous times on “Sesame Street,” and she has also appeared on “Barney and Friends” and “Mister Rogers’ Neighborhood.” Her 1966 album ‘You'll Sing a Song and I'll Sing a Song’ is the best-selling title in the history of Smithsonian Folkways Recordings and is part of the Library of Congress National Recording Registry.

    Parenting magazine has said that Jenkins’ “simple but irresistible songs, poems, and mini-language lessons... reflect the beauty of diverse cultures.”

    “Ella Jenkins is a constant source of inspiration and a bottomless well of songs, ideas, and spirit. She is by far the most worldly performer that children’s music has ever known.” — Dan Zanes