Medford mom Lindsay Munroe teams up with Raffi for new children's album 'Frogs and Birds'
Medford-based singer-songwriter Lindsay Munroe teamed up with legendary children's music icon Raffi for her second kid's album, "Frogs and Birds." The album, released in late summer, is the pair's third collaboration since meeting backstage at a Raffi concert in two years ago in Worcester .
Munroe brought her younger daughter, Mem, to a Raffi concert at the Hanover Theatre in 2019. Backstage, they hit it off so well that they began a musical collaboration. Last year, Raffi’s label, Troubadour Music, released Munroe's album, "I Am Kind." Raffi, the Canadian children's entertainer known for songs such as "The More We Get Together" and "Baby Beluga", performed as a backup vocalist and instrumentalist on the album.
Last summer, Munroe and Raffi joined with cellist Yo-Yo Ma to release the single, “For All You Do,” a song of gratitude for essential workers benefited Direct Relief.
On "Frogs and Birds" Raffi again joins Munroe on many songs.
As a mom of three children with autism, Munroe is a passionate advocate for diversity and inclusion. Her deep sensitivity to children with special needs informs the songs on the new album, which she and Raffi created for all children, but especially for those who are neurodiverse, as well as for their families and teachers who embrace inclusion in the classroom.
We chatted with the Massachusetts mom about music, working with Raffi, and raising kids with autism.
Compared to "I Am Kind", what’s different about this newest collaboration with Raffi?
"I Am Kind" and "Frogs and Birds" are similar in that they are songs I’ve written about kindness and social-emotional learning. I would say "Frogs and Birds" is more of a collaboration with Raffi. He has three original songs on the new album and we sing many duets. It’s an honor to make music with him; he’s such an icon in children’s music and has been a wonderful musical mentor to me. "Frogs and Birds" came about when Bridges Learning System contacted me and asked me to write songs to go along with their curriculum lessons. I love their curriculum and the team of women working for the company have been a joy to work with. I hope all kids, including neurodiverse kids and families, will learn from these songs with themes like being flexible and easy-going, being an ally, and being kind.
You have three children with autism. How has music been important to them over the years?
We are a very musical family. All of my kids play ukulele so we play songs together all the time, it’s a great way to connect. Music is also a great teaching tool. It’s my favorite way to teach social skills and social-emotional lessons.
Some of the songs on your new album were crafted specifically for neurodiverse kids. What are the messages in these songs?
The title song, “Frogs and Birds” is a song about “theory of mind.” I wanted to write a song that teaches kids not everyone has the same thoughts, likes and dislikes as you. I wrote a fun duet about frogs and birds, green and blue and how it’s kind to think of others and ask them what they like.
Another song on the album talks about being flexible and easy-going, while “Faces Show Feelings” talks about decoding the meaning behind facial expressions.
“Frogs and Birds” is a duet with your 9-year-old daughter. Do your kids collaborate with you writing songs? Do you seek their feedback?
It is very special to have my daughter, Mem, join me on this song! Her voice is so lovely and we love singing together. I do seek my kids’ feedback -- I always run my songs by them. They will give me ideas for rhymes and lines, they love to be involved with my music. I love having their voices on my albums and it’s such a joy recording with them.
Aside from Raffi, is there another artist you dream of working with?
It has been such a dream come true working with Raffi, and an honor recording with Yo-Yo Ma last year. I would love to work with Sharon and Bram. When I was a kid I watched "The Elephant Show," listened to their music and saw them live in concert. I remember watching Sharon sing, thinking to myself “that’s what I want to do when I grow up.” It would be a full circle moment to record a song with them!