Thursday, July 16, 2009

Children Music from Van Oodles

You should check out this cute childrens music from Van Oodles (

Here is his Bio:

Van Oodles is not your average children's music. More rock than Raffi, Van Oodles' first album strikes a rare balance: kids sing along, bop their heads, and learn from the lyrics while parents find themselves humming the songs long after the kids are asleep, reminded of The Barenaked Ladies, They Might Be Giants, or even Weezer or Blondie. Van Oodles' Jim-Carrey-meets-Beck sound gets even teenagers to tap their feet -- in spite of themselves -- when parents put it on in the car.From beat-boxing and a cappella to funny accents and pitch-shifting, Van Oodles uses a range of vocal techniques and effects to bring his quirky cast of characters to life. More than just having fun, kids learn from Van Oodles songs because they can understand and visualize the lyrics: a bee stuck in the house, washing clothes on a Sunday, a ladybug taking flight. While he sings as many characters, Van Oodles is just one guy: Dave Olson -- only with the letters scrambled. Dave is an unlikely children's musician. For starters, he never listened to children's music growing up. He was the youngest of eight kids and spent hours beside his brother's and sister's stereo listening to The Cars, ACDC, Van Halen, the Eagles, and the Police. As a ten-year-old, Dave had rock-star dreams but only a tennis racket for a guitar. It wasn't until college that he started playing and writing songs on a real one. By the time he graduated, he realized that nothing was more important to him than music. He packed his bags for Tokyo with a plan to teach English and save money for music school. Little did he know that by his mid-twenties, he would be in a rock band signed to a major Japanese label.As a white guy who couldn’t speak Japanese and whose name sounded like the Japanese word for "chubby fatty" Dave was the ultimate outsider. But within the span of a few months, he and some musician friends formed a band called Two Ball Loo and Dave started singing for the first time. And, with a serendipity unheard of outside of rock-star fantasy, a videotape of their first show ended up in the hands of a record label executive and got them signed. Later, Dave started rapping with a Japanese hip hop-esque/pop project that was also signed to a major label in Japan. Dave's first experience with kids' entertainment came when he landed a role co-starring in a nationally televised Japanese kids TV show,NHK's Eigorian 3. Because he was known as a musician, the producers asked him to write music for the show. To his surprise, writing music for kids was not just fun but liberating. The freedom to create characters and be goofy brought out the actor and entertainer in Dave. The first song he wrote was "Washing Machine," which appears on the first Van Oodles release. Dave went on to write a few dozen songs for Japan's largest children's entertainment company before leaving Japan.Now back in California for the first time in a decade, Dave divides his time between three different music projects, each satisfying a different part of his personality and musicial interests. If Van Oodles allows Dave to be carefree and goofy, his acoustic solo project, "The Dave O Show," is the terrain of his emotional side. His first release in late-2008 explored the culture shock he experienced returning to the US after so many years in Japan. "Wonton Physics," his electronica project, allows Dave to experiment with new technologies and will release a single in summer 2009 and full album in 2010.Van Oodles is even more fun for kids live than recorded. Dave uses a combination of acoustic guitar with live vocals, a cappella and karaoke-style singing, dancing, and movement to engage kids' imagination and invite their participation. A full performance of Van Oodles' twelve song repertoire takes 45 minutes but can be modified to fit any time slot. Dave hopes to add backup vocals and a full band to his lineup in the near future. ~by writer Vanessa Carr

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