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Earth Day Grove Groove with The Monkey Bunch!

Earth Day Grove Groove with The Monkey Bunch!
Sunday, April 21st EARTH DAY
The Great Hall
1087 Queen Street West
show starts at 3pm
All proceeds go to support the Grove Community School
DJ party to follow the show!
$10 per monkey/$30 for a 4 pack

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Comedian Elvira Kurt joins the Monkey Bunch, February 18th

Elvira Kurt, comedienne

Don’t miss it – Feb 18 – get tickets now!

Monkey Sho in the Huff Po!

The Monkey Bunch

Children’s Band

Want Fun and Political Music for
Kids? We’ve Got Your Back

Posted: 02/07/2013 8:49 am

“I believe the children are our future…” OK, yes that’s Whitney and we all know how that ended up but the lyrics to this song were right on the nose and I actually do think that the children are our future, etc. I’ve always believed that kids are just short grown-ups. It works for me because I’m only 5’1″.

My name is Shoshana Sperling and I’m a children’s entertainer. This might be coming across as confessional and that’s because I really need my own support group. Being raised in a Marxist household seemed totally normal to me. I had walked my first picket line by age three. As a child, grown-ups laughed when I said I wanted to be a revolutionary who was going to save the world. But there was never a question in my mind that many voices could make change.

Many years later it is more important than ever for us to “teach them well and let them lead the way.” This is where the Monkey Bunch comes in. The Monkey Bunch is my rock band that makes music full of guts and heart and humour for children. It is a call to arms… well, little wee fleshy arms.

You might think that performing for children is a cute endeavour. Let me set you straight. First of all, the parents: Their texting and talking on the phone, and occasional nipple flash (in preparation for breast feeding) is quite common but not unlike a Billy Talent show. As for the kids, the possibility of stumbling patrons and a bit of pee or vomit… well, that’s right up there with Woodstock. Never mind that the mosh pit can get downright sticky/stinky.

The reward? Well, kids are the most honest audience in the world. They rarely applaud at the end of a song because they don’t know that’s a “thing.” Some may hold their ears and scream through the first tune because they can’t believe how loud a drumset is when it’s not Fisher-Price. They shout random statements like, “Why are you playing this song?” or “MORE CLAPPING!” and “Want my juice?” OK. But they are honest.

If they like it I get hugs. Kids don’t hug, or thank grandparents, if they don’t want to. And these are seriously good hugs. Sure, I’m always fighting a mix of Pinkeye, Lice and Pinworms but man, it’s worth it. It’s so worth it that I wish the people wearing the larger shoe sizes would stop saying kids and politics don’t mix. Encouraging kids to care about this big planet that we all share is definitely in my mix.

During a recent tour, I received an email from a disgruntled dad who was VERY upset because we had sung a song about an electric car: “Children’s entertainment should be fun and you should keep your opinions in the dressing room.” Oy. Do we look like the Dixie Chicks?

No, but here we are celebrating our second, Juno-nominated album, Power to the Little People, and not all, but most parents are really really thankful: “thanks for saying Mums and Mums and Dads and Dads,” or “My daughter told me to stop running the car. I had no idea,” and of course, “this is the first children’s album we’ve listened to that doesn’t make us want to put a needle in our eyes.” That’s rather nice to hear.

I like what I’m doing. Now I just need to convince the grown-ups that kids deserve to have great music and authentic humour that teaches them something. That children are not too small to have opinions about recycling, libraries and electric cars. Yes, sometimes the lines are blurred and the kids have no idea why Dad is laughing at what the short lady on stage just said about the mayor, but little Roxanne is just pleased that Daddy is having a good time with her and not texting for the first time all day.

As I say to the kids, “Remember, the person sitting next to you could be a person too.”

Read more at the Huffington Post

Tyler Stewart from the Bare Naked Ladies joins The Monkey Bunch at The Drake on Feb. 10th!

Tyler Stewart, BNL

Don’t miss it – Feb 10 – get tickets now!

GO APE in FEBRU-HAIRY with the Monkey Bunch at the Drake!!!

The Monkey Bunch blow the snow suit off of February for their Family Series at The Drake Underground.

Feb 10 – Get Tickets
Feb 17 – Get Tickets
Feb 18 (Family Day!) – Get Tickets
Feb 24 – Get Tickets

Get more info here

City-TV Edmonton video

Here’s a little late breaking video from our on-tour appearance on City-TV Edmonton’s morning show a few weeks ago.

Watch Now

(It’s dark because it’s soooo early in the morning. And it’s Edmonton.)

Head and Shoulders, Knees and Toes

Head and shoulders, knees and toes, knees and toes, knees and toes…. while it sounds like a great song for toddlers it is also where I am feeling most of the pain after many shows in Saskatoon.

Saskatoon has always been the rival city to Regina and being from Regina I was all ready to triumph over Saskatoon. BUT it broke me first. Running total is 21 shows, 2 a day, with some interviews in between? An extra show at the welcome showcase and all without tea or greens? Me poor legs have seen better days. I’ve started to feel some old pains in the once repaired shoulder and stiffness in the neck. So after 2 weeks on the road my oh my the Jew is ready to complain. Oy.

But I want to tell you about Saskatoon. Our first show was our first encore of the tour. Amazing crowd. Just great. So many school groups and so much love. So many new people hearing our music and message about children saving the world. All this would be fine except that I had totally run out of laundry. Here’s where Regina saves me. My good friend (and witness to my nuptuals!) Shelley arrived on our second day in Saskatoon baring tea, moisturizer and underwear. Oh lord I was happy to see Shelley. Just as I was really getting tired, the cavalry came. Shelley brought her sweet daughter, Paige, to lighten our hearts. She danced at … maybe 4 of our shows and brought a great amount of joy to Henry as he “babysat” her. Shelley, and her husband Ken, also brought a much needed pick me up of new voices. We had new things to discuss, new swimming buddies and of course new people to lift our gear. Bless you Shell and family. You saved me!

Show after show after show. The wonderful people at the fest gave us great sound (thanks Roy!) and loads of love (thanks Shauna, her dad Bob and Adriene and all those amazing kids!)

Then came the Sean. I grew up in a house full of leftist, crazy, Trotsky-arguing, cigar-smoking activists…. in REGINA! At times I felt a bit odd in comparison to some of my friends. Sean’s family was the most like mine. Divorced before it was cool, peace marches and the only other Jews I had ever met in  Regina as well. Most of my strangest memories of the truck going through the ice on Regina Beach, eating peanut butter on escargot and running rampant with a pack of kids and dogs is with Sean and Jenny Sass. These two will always be my family no matter how many years go by without a visit. So, when Sean and his wife Sheena had us over it was like coming home. I did a load of laundry, ate an actual meal complete with home cooked tasty green things and did not hear a peep from Henry as he played in the arms of Piper and Moishe (Sean’s kids). Bliss. Sean’s dad, Bob, came after dinner and spoke so passionately about the problems facing people who have been exposed to asbestos that it made me want to write a million letters to the PM. The next day they all came to our show and then took Henry and Brooke to the rest of the fest. Watching Piper, Mo and Henry run like the pack of wolves that Sean, Adam, Jenny and I once were warmed my heart in a way I can’t describe. It made me miss how different it was growing up in wonderful place like Saskatchewan in a time before video games and worry, before mortgage payments and security airplane tax….. no. Ours was a time where all our parents would live forever and teach us always to do the right and just thing, no matter how old we were. This is where Power to the Little People began for me. Me and Sean, trying to fit in and realizing that we only fit inside our own little tribe. Our pack. Thanks old friend. It’s great to know you are there, on the prairies. I hope to see you next year.

And just like that we were gone, in a puff of cinnamon, off to Winnipeg.  This is where it gets weird. We have traveled from Calgary to Winnipeg together and then we noticed that we weren’t alone. The dinosaurs were with us. That’s right. The Dinosaur Petting Zoo has the same schedule as we do. Henry has made friends with the Aussie’s and though he fears the T-Rex, he will never have an experience like this again… There is nothing more alternative than this alternative school! 65 million years in the making, the dinosaurs and the monkeys have finally come together in Winnipeg. Where is Spielberg? Or at least Wes Anderson?

Home stretch. 4 shows left and I will miss my little crew but not the aches and pains.

 

Monkey Bunch rocks out for kids

Saskatoon StarPhoenix – June 5, 2012

BY STEPHANIE MCKAY, THE STARPHOENIX

There’s something wonderful about watching performers who have toured with big-time Canadian artists like Jann Arden, Colin James and k-os, get silly with an audience full of bouncing children. That’s just what Ontario group The Monkey Bunch brings to the table. Their show is a fun, silly rock concert with an impressive musical pedigree.

The Monkey Bunch comes with original songs – Poopie Diaper is probably the catchiest – and a few re-purposed covers. Included in the 45-minute show are an environmentally slanted We Are the Champions (“no time for polluters”) and The Monkees theme (“Hey hey, we’re the Monkey – Bunch”).

Led by firecracker Shoshana Sperling, the Monkey Bunch encourages “outside voices” and jumping around in what can only be called a toddler mosh pit. Maury LaFoy, Graham Powell and Lyle Molzan add musical accompaniment to the kid-friendly lyrics.

To make sure the show has that rock show feel, there is plenty of call and response and shouts of “I love you Saskatoon!”

It’s a great show for smaller kids, with chances to rock the alphabet, sing about taking care of the Earth and wiggle their bums.

The kids probably won’t absorb the digs at Stephen Harper, but the Monkey Bunch wants to entertain the parents too.

THE MONKEY BUNCH
SeeSaw Stage
Tuesday 11: 15 a.m., 2: 15 p.m.
Wednesday 10 a.m., 1: 15 p.m.
© Copyright (c) The StarPhoenix

Read the complete story…

 

Kids, parents go bananas for Monkey Bunch

Saskatoon StarPhoenix – June 4, 2012

BY STEPHANIE MCKAY, THE STARPHOENIX

The members of the Monkey Bunch never expected to be performing rock concerts for toddlers.

The four performers who make up the kid-friendly musical act became accidental children’s entertainers after creating a special and unconventional Christmas present for their nieces and nephews.

“One year we didn’t have a Christmas gift for them and we recorded a quick little thing of three songs and sent it off,” said the group’s frontwoman Shoshana Sperling. “All of a sudden everyone wanted one.”

The group decided to record a CD, thinking they’d sell a few and then forget about it. But the momentum kept growing and then requests for live shows started to pour in.

Even though she never pictured herself performing regularly for children, Sperling said the experience is amazing.

“Because I did comedy for a long time it’s very different. Children are a much more honest crowd than adults ever are, so that’s really fun. Grownups will be rude and yell stuff at a comedy club but kids will just fall asleep or they’ll say ‘Why are you doing that?’ ” she said. “You could have told me I’d be doing this 10 years ago and I’d be like ‘no way.’ ”

To date, the band has two full-length albums. Their latest, Power to the Little People, features cameos by Danny Michel  and Adam Gontier from Three Days Grace.

Children probably won’t be impressed by the guest appearances, but the Monkey Bunch is all about getting the parents in on the fun, too. Though the band has a collection of original songs, it also plays cover tunes ranging from Prince to The Beatles and The Who.

“We give it to kids and let them decide if it’s kids’ music, and it is. Kids are really just people but shorter,” said Sperling.

The members of the Monkey Bunch originally met in high school; three of four grew up in Saskatchewan. Bass player Maury LaFoy and guitarist Graham Powell were in a Regina band called Fall Down Go Boom. The two musicians and Sperling eventually moved to Toronto to pursue different things. While the guys played music, she acted and performed comedy. Drummer Lyle Molzan completed the group when they decided to pursue children’s entertainment.

It’s not often you’ll find a kids’ group with such serious chops as the Monkey Bunch. All three men have performed with major Canadian touring artists including Jann Arden, Colin James, Kathleen Edwards, Sarah Harmer, k-os and Ron Sexsmith.

“They’ve played with all the really big musicians in Canada so they bring a musicality to what we do that I think is really unique to children’s music,” said Sperling.

The five-foot woman, who has studied clown and theatre, brings something very different to the group.

“What I’m doing is really goofy and really silly and a whole bunch of characters,” she said. “I think it’s a really nice mixture. We can give kids real music and real comedy and not talk down to them.” The Monkey Bunch also has a nice mixture of songs. The band hopes to empower children with messages about confidence and environmentalism, but there are plenty of purely silly tunes, too. One song in particular, Poopie Diaper, gets a big response from kids.

“There are some people who will say you shouldn’t talk about poop, but I say why has it taken so long to talk about it,” said Sperling.

Sperling describes the band’s live show as a rock concert with lots of audience participation. The Ontario group is travelling to children’s festivals across Western Canada, with Sperling’s own little monkey, her fiveyear-old son, in tow.

Even though she didn’t envision touring children’s festivals, the happy accident is something Sperling simply loves to do.

“You have to love what you do or don’t bother doing it … unless you really need that job,” she said. “We want to make sure that what we’re doing isn’t saccharine sweet or annoying. I want to make music that I like to play and I want to do comedy that I like.”

THE MONKEY BUNCH

SeeSaw Stage
Today 10 a.m. and 1 p.m.
Tuesday 11: 15 a.m. and 2: 15 p.m.
Wednesday 10 a.m. and 1: 15 p.m.

smckay@thestarphoenix.com
© Copyright (c) The StarPhoenix

Read the complete story…

Day…. something or other

Henry.

Before Henry was born Maury and I lived the free and crazy life of artists. This just means that we didn’t know when our next work would be coming or when our next pay cheque might appear. We lived from show to show or from tour to tour. We had no schedule. (which is great unless you want to buy a car, get a mortgage, a visa or even a large tea. Then it’s not so great.) We had no schedule at all until…. Henry. He needed routine and so we gave him that… from 8am-8pm. Before and after that we were back to our bare feet and chives. (I’m sure that’s a saying.)

Henry. Henry is 5 years old and on tour with the Monkey Bunch.

Life on the road is scheduled but in strange ways. We follow the festival programs, the shuttle pick-ups, the pool hours and the baggage check-ins. After that it is the life of the artist. For real as Henry would say. Henry is getting tired of being on the road. He is mostly a wonderful guy but I guess there were one too many mornings without his parents and one too many days living in one room with three people and just too many things that were out of his control. The other day Henry woke up to find his babysitter, Brooke, in his hotel room. Again. We had told Brooke that he could watch a little TV and then the day must begin. Now Brooke is mostly a wonderful woman but I guess waking up and dealing with an angry Henry is stressful on day 7 or something. Henry had a full on temper tantrum and he isn’t one to do this usually. He kicked and screamed and locked himself in the bathroom. Poor Henry. Poor Brooke.

All the way across town at the venue we had just finished our 2nd show of the day and I was tired and hungry and at the end of my rope. I had a temper tantrum. Poor Me. Poor Lyle, Graham and Maury. Mostly, poor Maury. So both Henry and I had a temper tantrum at the same time and we both survived.

And then things got much better. We gave Henry a schedule. He woke up at his regular time and came to the theatre with us but instead of going to day care or school he went to shows at the festival. Now Henry’s schedule is that he wakes up and eats a strange hotel breakfast with a bunch of performers, he takes a shuttle with us to the theatre and then goes to “school” until we have finished our shows and then we go back to the hotel, eat lunch and swim. Then video games with Bubba G for a bit and then bed. (our hotel room only has a shower so he just goes to the hot tub on bath nights.) It’s a strange life.

When we are sitting in our dressing room Henry has a different kind of education. He talks to his giant frog friends from Mortal Coil, he gives a big hello to his favourite clowns from AGA-BOOM, he stares at the silver man, the stilt walking fairies and he stays out of the way of the Trolls.

Kids Henry’s age go to school and learn about letters, numbers, history, nature, etc. Henry has seen The Dinosaur Petting Zoo, Alice in Wonderland, The Ugly Ducking, AGA-BOOM, Breakdance for Solo Cello and Metamorphosis. Instead of gym class he just goes swimming or to the many jumping castles. No, I’m not Paul McCartney and we aren’t WINGS but I think this will still make some pretty special memories.

Thanks to all the wonderful performers, volunteers, stage hands, hotel maids, shuttle drivers, Lyle, Graham, wonderful patient Brooke and of course the frogs that all have been schooling our boy.  I hope we aren’t messing him up too badly…. I suppose there’s always therapy.

As I put Henry to bed tonight we talked about flying to the next festival. Henry said, “Can I sit with Brooke on the airplane, mama? Pleeeaassse???” When I asked him why he answered, “Because she’s not very good at flying the plane but she’s VERY good at holding the map while I fly the plane.” I suppose it won’t be too much therapy then.

One more show in St. Albert tomorrow then it’s off to Saskatoon. And our man Lyle is off to play with Kathleen Edwards now. We’ll miss you, Lyle. You were wonderful to play with and great to hang with too. Bye Lyle! Hello Mark!!!!!!!!!!!!!

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