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Little Kids Rock Honors Elvis Costello and Bonnie Raitt

Who Likens Cutting Music Education to a ‘Criminal Act’

on October 19, 2017 No comments


Little Kids Rock founder David Fish said it best: “The world is a f–ked up place right now,” he noted on stage at New York’s Playstation Theater last night. “But in these days of discord, dissonance and distraction, I’m constantly reminded by a truth that is as old as the human family itself: music can bring people together in ways that virtually nothing else can.”

Honoree Bonnie Raitt speaks onstage during the Little Kids Rock Benefit 2017 at PlayStation Theater on October 18, 2017 in New York City. © Kevin Mazur /Getty Images for Little Kids Rock

That is the thesis behind Little Kids Rock and its annual benefit, which aims to provide music education to public schools. This year’s benefit honored longtime supporter Bonnie Raitt, along with Elvis Costello, and the CEO of City Winery and founder of New York’s Knitting Factory, Michael Dorf.

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“Music Changed My Life”
Little Kids Rock Benefit 2017
Honoring Elvis Costello and Bonnie Raitt
PlayStation Theater, New York, NY
October 18, 2017

Elvis Costello – guitar, vocals
Bonnie Raitt – guitar, vocals
Keb’ Mo’ – guitar, vocals
Bettye LaVette – vocals
Darlene Love – vocals
Paul Shaffer – keyboards

House band:
Will Lee – bass, musical director
Chrissi Poland – vocals
Dennis Collins – vocals
Christine Ohlman – vocals
Chris Anderson – trumpet
Aaron Heick – saxophone
Neal Pawley – trombone
Jeff Kazee – keyboards
Bernie Williams – guitar
Jim Boggia – guitar
Doug Yowell – drums

Various Little Kids musicians appear on guitar, bass, vocals, drums

Non-musical appearances by:
Harry Connick Jr.
Michael McKean
Mike Meyers




01 Blackbird – Bettye LaVette
02 Michael McKean introduces Keb’ Mo’
03 We’re A Winner (Curtis Mayfield cover) – Keb’ Mo’
04 Keb’ Mo’ introduces Harry Connick Jr.
05 Harry Connick Jr. introduces Bonnie Raitt
06 Bonnie Raitt’s speech
07 Baby, I Love You (Aretha Frankline cover) – Bonnie Raitt and Keb’ Mo’
08 The Road Is My Middle Name – Bonnie Raitt with various Little Kids: “Yancy” on shared lead vocals, a chorus and a lead guitarist (Alejandro Villarasa)
09 Thing Called Love (John Hiatt cover) – Bonnie Raitt
10 Michael McKean introduces Mike Meyers
11 Mike Meyers introduces Elvis Costello
12 Elvis Costello’s speech
13 Alison – Elvis Costello
14 Elvis Costello comments
15 Forbidden Nights – Elvis Costello solo acoustic
16 Forbidden Nights – Darlene Love with full band
17 Elvis Costello introduces Bonnie Raitt
18 Bonnie Raitt comments
19 Love Has No Pride – Elvis Costello and Bonnie Raitt
20 Elvis Costello comments
21 (What’s So Funny ‘Bout) Peace, Love And Understanding? (Nick Lowe cover) – Elvis Costello with various Little Kids on bass, drums, percussion, guitar and vocals
22 All You Need is Love (The Beatles cover) – All
23 People Get Ready (Curtis Mayfield cover) – House band

Length: 1:25:12

“Over the past 15 years, Little Kids Rock teachers have turned this into a national movement,” said Fish of the charity he initially conceptualized in 1996 when he was a teacher frustrated with the nonexistent funding for music programs at his school, leading him to launch an after-school program that taught students how to play guitar. “Since then, Little Kids Rock has been restoring, expanding and innovating music education around the country.”

For Dorf, who was honored for fostering a series of tribute shows that have raised $1.5 million dollars for music education, the cause is an important one. “With Mother Nature and Father Trump causing such havoc in our world, we are constantly putting on benefits to support the environment, health issues and protecting human rights,” said Dorf to Billboard. “What gets lost with all of these on-going topical issues and cut from budgets, are music programs — especially in public education for underserved youth.”

That’s especially true for kids like Amanda Medina, a 10-year-old student at the Equity Project Charter School in the Bronx, who also performed at the benefit as part of her after-school music group the Tep Combos. “Singing is my life, so I’m grateful for this because they’re giving money to buy kid’s instruments,” said Medina, who cited Beyonce as an influence. “I always look forward to rehearsing; tonight is our first performance that’s not in front of our school.”

Throughout the night, various luminaries attested to the importance of both music and its education. Harry Connick Jr., who introduced honoree Bonnie Raitt, said he started taking piano lessons when he was four, noting, “They say music changed my life, but for me that doesn’t go far enough. Music is my life.”

Bonnie Raitt attends the 2017 Little Kids Rock Benefit at PlayStation Theater on October 18, 2017 in New York City. © Taylor Hill /FilmMagic

Raitt expressed similar sentiments. “I came from a musical family and was blessed to grow up in an era when there was school orchestra with 16 percussion players,” she recalled, citing Joan Baez as an early influence. “The guitar allowed me to expressed myself. It was my voice and it helped me build (since) I had a confidence problem and a self esteemed problem. There’s been study after study proving the benefits of music education and exposure to the arts makes all the difference.”

Raitt, who likened the cutting back of music education a “criminal act,” praised the work of Little Kids Rock. “To see from where he started with his wonderful team and all those teachers and all of those kids whose lives have changed. It’s one of the most successful and well-run organizations, with every dollar going to the right place that I know.”

And before launching into a spirited cover of Aretha Franklin‘s 1967 track “Baby I Love You,” Raitt expanded on the theme of the evening: “Here’s to the power of a beautiful ballad to break hearts and heal.”

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Bonnie Raitt to Be Recognized at Little Kids Rock Benefit

on August 18, 2017 No comments

Bonnie Raitt will be receiving the Lifetime Achievement Award for her work bringing music to children in public schools.

by Gianna Barberi

Little Kids Rock is a non-profit that aims to transform and shape lives through the expansion of music programs in schools. Taking place at the PlayStation Theater in New York on October 18, the Little Kids Rock Benefit honors artists who have dedicated their lives and time to this important mission. Raitt, a ten-time Grammy Award-winner, will be receiving one of the night’s biggest honors.

“No other artist friend has supported our kids and teachers for as long, or spoken so frequently and eloquently on our kids’ behalves when it comes to their right to have music in their lives as Bonnie Raitt,” said founder of Little Kids Rock David Wish.

Raitt has been involved with Little Kids Rock for many years, becoming an honorary board member in 2002. She said that she felt it was a privilege to represent the organization and be a part of the mission.

“When I got a guitar for Christmas as a kid I found my voice,” Raitt said. “The arts are not a luxury, they are a right, and all students should have the opportunity to discover their voice.”

Also being recognized at the benefit will be Elvis Costello, who will be awarded the Rocker of the Year Award, and CEO of City Winery Michael Dorf.

What began as a single after-school guitar class has since exploded into a national movement that brings free, weekly music lessons to nearly 250,000 public school children through the efforts of more than 1,700 teachers in 127 school districts nationwide. To date, Little Kids Rock has served more than 500,000 students.

201718oct11:35 pm11:35 pmFeaturedLittle Kids Rock AwardBonnie Raitt will be receiving the Lifetime Achievement Award for her work bringing music to children in public schools.PlayStation Theater, 1515 Broadway, New York, NY 10036

Source: © Copyright The Knockturnal and Look to the Stars

Bonnie Raitt Earns Lifetime Achievement Award At Little Kids Rock Benefit

By Ryan Shea – Sep 12, 2017

© Sam Jones

Bonnie Raitt is one of music’s biggest living legend, and over the course of her incredible career she has earned many accolades including 10 Grammy Awards.  This coming October, she will receive another big honor as the annual Little Kids Rock Benefit will award her with its Lifetime Achievement Award.

This is an evening that brings together and honors artists and individuals who tirelessly work to bring the gift of music to children in public schools across the United States.  Previous recipients include Smokey Robinson, Lady Gaga, and Joan Jett. This years event will take place on Wednesday, October 18 at PlayStation Theater in New York.

Bonnie Raitt has been a friend of the organization since its humble beginnings during the grassroots movement in the San Francisco Bay Area and quickly, she became an Honorary Board Member in 2002.  Bonnie has previously spoken about her work for the organization, saying “It has been my privilege to represent Little Kids Rock as an Honorary Board Member for over fifteen years.  When I got a guitar for Christmas as a kid I found my voice.  The arts are not a luxury, they are a right, and all students should have the opportunity to discover their voice.

David Wish, founder of Little Kids Rock recalls his professional history with Raitt in saying, “no other artist friend has supported our kids and teachers for as long, or spoken so frequently and eloquently on our kids’ behalves when it comes to their right to have music in their lives as Bonnie Raitt.”

Also being honored at the Annual Little Kids Rock benefit are Elvis Costello, receiving the Rocker of the Year Award and CEO of City Winery, Michael Dorf.

Source: © Copyright Manhattan Digest More Info: Little Kids Rock But wait, there's more!

Little Kids Rock Students Sit in on BonTaj Soundcheck

on August 11, 2009 No comments



BonTaj Roulet Recollection

Picture this scenario: You’re 11 years old, from Jersey City, and can’t afford a guitar. Your teacher brings you and six classmates to the New Jersey Performing Arts Center (NJPAC), a jewel of a theater in the middle of Newark, to meet blues legends Bonnie Raitt and Taj Mahal. You pull out the brand-new, custom Fender® acoustic guitar that was just gifted to you and relinquish it to Taj, who tunes it, plays a funky riff, and hands it back. All you can do is look at your friend with wide eyes and say, “Taj Mahal just played my guitar!”

That is the sentiment that could be seen on the face of one of the seven fortunate students from P.S. 29 who received an exclusive pre-concert performance from the two rockstars at the show’s soundcheck. The duo is in the middle of a tour called BonTaj Roulet, which is raising funds and awareness for various charities.

Bonnie’s guitar sizzled while Taj blew the blues on his harp. Her fiery red hair and smooth singing complimented his cool straw hat and booming, raspy voice. They came down off the stage after introducing their bands and answered questions from the aspiring rock ‘n’ rollers.

“These are some of the best questions I’ve ever been asked,” Taj said as he looked at Bonnie, who nodded in agreement. “Do you want to take this one?”

“Sure,” she responded, and explained to the children that, yes, she does sometimes get homesick while touring, and no, she didn’t get to where she is without putting in hours upon hours of hard work.

Bonnie and Taj continued to provide answers and anecdotes to the kids, who clutched the new acoustic guitars with which Little Kids Rock surprised them. They were amazed to find out that they were the first people in the world to own the ESC-80 educational model Fender® acoustic guitar, which was custom-made for Little Kids Rock.

In the lobby, with their new guitars in hand and a camera pointed their way, the Little Kids Rock guitar class from Jersey City huddled around Taj, who emitted an aura of cool, and Bonnie, whose flowing, red hair with the signature white stripe was the picture’s centerpiece.

Several fans snapped pictures from outside, reminding Bonnie and Taj that their scheduled performance was rapidly approaching, and they had yet to eat dinner. However, they told the kids to line up so that they could each get an individual photo with the pair before they left to perform for several thousand fans.

“Keep playing,” Bonnie said as she headed backstage. “You’ll get here one day.”

Source: © Copyright Little Kids Rock

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