MTC Kids Jam series
Sing along with Grammy Award winner Dan Zanes, his wife, Claudia, and her best friend, Pauline Jean, in this “updated” holiday gathering.
This Holiday Sing-Along with Grammy Award winner Dan Zanes, his musical wife, Claudia Zanes, and her best friend, Pauline Jean, is a multicultural wintertime celebration for all ages. It’s loosely based on the Christmas gatherings Dan experienced as a child growing up in New England, in which friends and neighbors came together to sing carols around the piano.
But it’s the 21st century now and the singers and songs are from a variety of traditions — Christmas and Hanukkah classics in English, Hebrew and Ladino, as well as holiday songs from Korea, Tunisia, Puerto Rico, Wales and Haiti. Instead of a piano, there’s guitar, mandolin, harmonica, flute, trombone, tambourine, melodica, ukulele and anything else that happens to make it in the door!
Grammy Award-winning children’s performer Dan Zanes and Haitian-American music therapist and jazz vocalist Claudia Zanes have been making music together since the day they met in 2016. In the spirit of progress and inclusion, their goal is to work with presenters to make all of their concerts sensory-friendly. Inspired by their artful modern-day folk music for all ages and commitment to accessibility, the Kennedy Center commissioned Claudia and Dan to create a theater piece for young audiences: “Night Train 57: A Sensory Friendly Comic Folk Opera,” which premiered in October 2017.
In 2018, they published their award-winning songbook, “Dan Zanes’ House Party: A Family Roots Music Treasury.” During the pandemic, Dan and Claudia started their Social Isolation Song series. For 200 days, in an effort to stay connected and uplift others, they performed a different song every day. This series of videos currently resides in the Library of Congress.
The two continue to adapt and reinvent and sing their way to new beginnings. In addition to making music, Claudia runs a skincare business called CLEO Soaps and Dan works with Constructive White Conversations, a white anti-racist organization he co-founded in 2011.