Updated: Jul 4, 2019
Through the ages children’s music has always been around in India, mostly in the form of folk songs and lullabies. In todays music streaming landscape while we have access to massive catalogs of music, there is hardly any content produced specifically for younger audiences. In this deserted space, there are a few notable records that have been made specifically for children. Here are five such albums.
Bachcha Party- Ankur Tewari
The Sony Music Kids’ project spanned two volumes, filled with upbeat songs on a child’s day to day life. There’s a song dedicated to homework, one on careers, another on alphabets and magic and so on. Ankur Tewari, the vocalist and singer behind this album, has also played his part as music supervisor for movies like Gully Boy and the frontman of his band The Ghalat Family. Produced by his bandmate Sidd Coutto, Bachcha Party makes for fantastic listening both for adults as well as kids and is one of the most acclaimed children’s albums in India.
Play a song like "Billi ka Bachcha" off the album and chances are you've got an earworm or you'll find a kid next to you repeating its catchy chorus over and over again!
Nijhum Raater Taara- Various
It is unfortunate that Indian sex workers have been subjected to stigma and discrimination. More often than not, their children face the same fate. In 2014, ten such children of sex workers from Sonagachi (a redlight district in West Bengal) joined hands in getting their voices out in the open. The result was a delightful album titled Niljum Raater Taara (Star of the Silent, Still Night) produced with the help of jazz-playback singer Usha Uthup and a collective of sex workers called Durbar Mahila Samanwaya Samiti.
The album is a compilation of seven adhunik gaan (Bengali modern songs) and as Ratan, one of the children explains, ‘it is meant for listeners to judge us musically and not based on our background’.
Falu’s Bazaar- Falu
After having her son, Indian American musician Falguni Shah, aka Falu, embarked on a mission to create one of the first South Asian music and culture projects in the market, Falu’s Bazaar. The album was so popular that it was soon nominated in the ‘Best Children’s Album’ category at the 2019 Grammy Awards. The idea came to her her after she realized she had to write some songs that brown kids living in First World could relate to.
Through the songs in Falu’s Bazaar, children learn how to introduce themselves in Hindi, obey traffic signals, know about animals, count, spices and South Asian cooking
Pehli Goonj- Various
This one’s an album for teens, by the teens. A Pune construction company tried venturing into music last year by getting aboard three young singers, two of whom have been contestants of singing reality shows like Sa Re Ga Ma Pa and The Voice. The diversity in the lyrical and musical content in Pehli Goonj (First Echo) comes from their diverse backgrounds.
Akshata Sambyal hails from Bangalore while Jasu Meer is a bansuri (flute) player from Rajasthan, and Prashant Singh is a popular singer from Lucknow known for his covers of film songs. The content in their songs mostly revolves around friendship and adolescence.
Songs For Children- Lata Mangeshkar
Now, this might look like an outdated record but it is a classic. Sifting through her colossal body of work, you will find that legendary songstress Lata Mangeshkar also sang many children’s songs for films like Bache Man Ke Sachche and Ek Do Teen Chaar.
Compiled specially for kids, the EMI album from the 70s (which is still in circulation as a vinyl) may appeal more to grandparents today rather than kids! Well, here’s to those Peter Pans amongst us that never grew up…
Shaurya Singh Thapa