Vincent Nunes’ new CD Smart Songs for Active Children hasn’t totally captured my girls’ attention, but they don’t demand that I turn if off either. I’ve even caught them singing a long with a few of the songs and I like the way that Vincent sneaks some lessons into most of the songs. For example, there’s a catching counting song that teaches children to count by twos, threes, fours, and fives and another song, “Manuel the Great,” has some fun different musical styles and talks about different types of dances.
Smart Songs for Active Children is Vincent’s seventh album, intended for kids ages 2-7 (like the three riding in our truck listening to his music). His songs made me think of kids’ music legends like Raffi or Fred Penner—catchy fun tunes with a little bit of silliness involved, repetitive enough for kids to learn quickly.
About his music, Vincent says,
“There are many entertaining songs for children that are silly, goofy and nonsensical. But I think children crave meaning, so I focus on writing songs that are fun while maintaining a healthy respect for each child’s many intelligences. I feel it’s important to bring children into the creative process, and this is definitely at the heart of the music on Smart Songs for Active Children. It’s also why the black line illustration on the album cover is left uncolored for a child’s imagination to fill in.”
Vincent’s daughter Julia Nunes is a YouTube sensation who sings with her dad on this CD. He’s also joined by “Washboard Dave” Paprocki, a street busker, who adds his wonderful, quirky rhythms to half the album’s tracks, playing tin can, wooden shoe, soda bottle, bundt pan, and vintage washboard. There are several songs, such as “The Apes, The Monkeys and the Chimpanzees” where I really liked the rhythms, which were also created by percussionist Emmet Basha who plays an udu, jembe, conga, and other African drums to add an international sound. Vincent himself sings but also plays piano, B-3 organ, bass, acoustic guitar, and accordion.
Smart Songs For Active Children will stay in our musical collection. I think “Count by Three” will be useful this year as I start teaching Sunshine more math. “Wash Your Hands” is also a great reminder for kids as the school year starts. And “They Speak Spanish” might be a great way to start a geography lesson for the girls, who are already trying to figure out countries, provinces, and cities, especially since we live on an island.
When he’s not making music, Vincent works as a lawyer in New York. He’s the son of a Portuguese musician and composer and grew up in a bilingual household. He’s a huge Beatles fan. For more information about him or his other CDs, check out his website.