Product Review: Pacha’s Pajamas Vol. I Soundtrack (Geared towards 8-12)
A Children’s Green Pop Musical. A Story Written by Nature
This was my intro to Pacha’s Pajamas: ‘a Green Pop Musical that inspires kids to be superheroes for the planet’. OK, let me think about that! I love passion behind children’s products and especially when they are designed or co-created by a child. I will admit that when I first learned of this CD it was exciting because of the names that were connected to it. I will probably just need to start listing them: Talib Kweli, Lester Chambers, Cheech Marin, Majora Carter and Mos Def (which, sorry, my nerd side knows his rapping skills, but it’s his work as Ford Prefect in ‘The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy’ – great book, too – that made me love him). Plus you can’t forget what really makes this CD is a youth choir with 11 children singers from the US and Canada that have put their heart and soul singing a soundtrack about making our world a better place. It intrigued me because I have a similar passion about inspiring kids to go outside, use their imagination and engage in their personal learning and growth as well as being an active community member. Why not get excited about that?!? This is also an act of love by two young guys from Oakland, CA who were concerned about the youth of today and want them to ‘get back to nature’ and away from much of the violence and despair many encounter in daily life. OK, now I am really listening…..
Pacha’s Pajamas Vol. I Soundtrack is a hip-hop musical story about a young girl, Pacha, who saves the environment with the help of the world’s plants and animals. I believe, maybe without thinking, that hip-hop and saving the environment is not the usual marriage formula for music sales. But, perhaps I am wrong. I love the message and the songs were obviously a huge collaborative effort and I am intrigued about the adult creator’s stories of Pacha’s Pajamas. BALANCE Edutainment was created by two young men from Oakland, Aaron Ableman (also a musician and educator) and Dave Room (an ecologist and social entrepreneur). What drove them to Pacha and how do they think their products are making a difference to children?
Q&A with Creators Aaron Ableman and Dave Room:
- I think this is a very compelling project. Could you tell my readers how the Pacha story was created?
Aaron loves telling stories and has long considered himself a bedtime storyteller. Years ago, he would perform wild and imaginative tales for his younger brother. One story – the tale of a dream concert in the jungle where all the animals of the world perform songs and stand-up comedy – became a family favorite and later, Pacha’s Pajamas. As Aaron developed his craft as a teacher, educator and entertainer over the last decade, he has used this story to inspire over one hundred thousand children across the world.
- What difference have you seen Pacha make within your community and the communities that have heard Pacha’s story?
We are getting amazing feedback from parents on their family’s experience with the Pacha’s Pajamas album and book. Often when we go to community events, a parent will approach us and tell us that Pacha’s is all their kids want to listen to. We’ve heard a story of two siblings that don’t agree on anything agreeing upon Pacha’s music. We often hear that kids are excited to get in the car so they can listen to the album, and its shifting the conversations in the car. One parent told us his daughter who previously had not expressed much interest in dancing said “Dad, I am closing my door and going to be in my room dancing. Please don’t come in.” We’ve also heard of parents and kids having deep bonding experiences listening together. Invariably, parents are enjoying Pacha’s music even if their kids play it all the time – “It doesn’t drive me crazy!”
When kids experience Pacha’s Pajamas, not only are they are thinking about animals and plants, but they also think about nature in general and their connection to nature. This reminds me of a story. A couple of months ago, Aaron handed me a manila envelope with “Mr. Pacha” written on it in child writing. He says “You’ve got to see this. After church I almost got tackled by a six year old. This little girl runs up, and hands me this envelope…”
I open the envelope and pull out a sheet of paper.
Aaron continues “the girl’s mother said the little girl came home from school saying that she had made a special project for Mr. Pacha at art class. Then she thanked me.”
I turn over the paper, and there is a drawing of little girl whose head is the heart in a drawing of the phrase “I heart Nature,” two flowers, another picture of the girl’s face and hair, and a fruit bearing tree.
- Dave, I know you are a dad. What is your hope for your child (or children) and their own future with the environment through your work with Pacha?
Today’s children are tomorrow’s parents, teachers and leaders, as well as influencers in their families, schools and peer groups right now. My hope is that Pacha’s Pajamas will support kids in falling back in love with nature. All kids are born with a deep and profound connection with the natural world. Somehow, as we grow up in cities, many of us become less aware of our connection with nature. I see Pacha’s Pajamas helping children and parents rekindle their innate love for nature, leading them to seek opportunities to spend time with nature, and to do what they can to improve the environment and their community.
Check it out! Just last month ago, the group released their very first music video that features 14 year old singer, Ashlie Cortez, so check it out here.
‘Your Dreams Can Carry You Through Anything’
List Price: $12.99 (CD) or $9.99 (Digital Download)