Hear Joy Ike’s brilliant cover of Mister Rogers’ ‘Won’t You Be My Neighbor?’
Yes, there has been a Mister Rogers overload these past few … years.
But Pittsburgh native singer-songwriter Joy Ike’s cover of Fred Rogers’ “Won’t You Be My Neighbor?” is spot on and just in time.
Not to mention amazing!
Armed with a baritone ukulele, Ike seemlessly bops through the iconic tune with an overabundance of … well, joy.
The feel-good video shows Ike dancing and leading children through Pittsburgh’s North Side. The kids look like they’re having the time of their lives making crafts, playing cardboard instruments and swaying to the happy tune.
But most of all, it’s an infectious blend of Ike’s folk style with Rogers’ pure lyrics.
“I think somehow and in some way, everyone feels connected to Mister Rogers,” Ike says in a Facebook post on Wednesday. “His way of thinking and being were counter-culture and filtered through a worldview that pre-supposed that everyone deserved/deserves to be seen. Truly seen. I believe his gift of presence has made ripple effects that will last into eternity.”
In the post, Ike says she was asked to create an arrangement of the song in 2018 by WQED. However, Ike was on tour at the time promoting her latest album, “Bigger Than Your Box.”
“Every part of this project has personal sentimental value: filming in and around my stomping grounds and recording the song with friends back home,” Ike says. “Most of all, I was so happy to finally be doing a project with children, something that has been a dream of mine for years! Most of the kids involved are the children and grandchildren of longtime friends and fans. That has been especially wonderful!”
Ike will be in Pittsburgh on Nov. 30 for a benefit concert at Fox Chapel Presbyterian Church. Then, on Dec. 17, Ike will be part of the “Benedum Christmas — Home for the Holidays” show featuring local singers, including Scott Blasey, Lyndsey Smith, Billy Price, Margot Bingham, Anthony Jardine and Jimbo Jackson.
The video footage was shot by Benjamin T. Wilson and Paulek M. Taylor, through FilmBurgh.
Ike, who moved from her Squirrel Hill home to a space in Philadelphia, acknowledges she often gets asked if she’s a jazz, gospel, or R&B singer. But she says she her music probably best fits in the folk genre.
Chris Pastrick is a Tribune-Review digital producer. You can contact Chris at 412-320-7898, [email protected] or via Twitter .