Gather up your inner child and go see Raffi at the Carnegie Library Music Hall
Not many performers have dedicated themselves to children to the degree that Raffi Cavoukian — known simply as “Raffi” to his young fans and their families — has done for four decades.
Raffi, 69, admits there's still a part of him that hasn't totally matured.
He says he's having as much fun making music now as he ever has, vowing to record an album a year going forward. “I'm feeling unrestrained and I'm really feeling the joy of it, and that's a nice feeling. The 5-year-old in me is alive and well, and the class clown in me is having a great time.”
Besides creating a series of “Raffi Songs to Read” children's books and nearly 30 albums, starting with his “Singable Songs for the Very Young” in 1976 up through his recently released “Best of Raffi” CD, the children's troubadour has devoted his career to putting kids first.
The Canadian entertainer who lives in Salt Spring Island, British Columbia, founded the Centre For Child Honouring, a social change movement that promotes a philosophy of respecting children and the Earth through initiatives that heal communities and restore ecosystems.
Raffi currently is on a national tour with proceeds of his concerts to benefit the Centre for Child Honouring. One of his tour stops will be at Carnegie Library Music Hall in Munhall, where he will perform a concert of “40 years of Singable Songs” on May 7.
The concert will feature some of his fans' favorite tunes, including classics such as “Down By the Bay” (1976), “Bananaphone” (1994) and a song that has won him legions of followers, “Baby Beluga” (1980).
His tribute to the increasing decline of the beluga whale population in the St. Lawrence River became a popular children's sing-along song — one that is still loved by his “Beluga Grads,” the name he has lovingly given to the scores of people who grew up with his music and now bring their children to his shows.
“When I shout out ‘Hello, Beluga Grads!' there's always a roar from the crowd,” Raffi says.
His concerts are a homecoming for kids who grew up — but not completely.
“They sing along from the first word on; it's a beautiful sing-along. Their inner child is sparkling and watching the very same songs they knew as children. They are moved by the experience,” he says.
When asked if there's anything he feels he hasn't accomplished in his long career of inspiring children and their families, he quickly replies, “A duet with Paul McCartney? I haven't done that.”
A devoted Raffi enthusiast has to believe he just might find a way to make his bucket list wish come true.
Candy Williams is a Tribune-Review contributing writer.