Celebrate 10 years with Dan Zanes and Friends

By March 13, 2011

Dan Zanes performs March 20 at the Mondavi Center at UC Davis.

Dan Zanes performs March 20 at the Mondavi Center at UC Davis.

Mop-headed music man Dan Zanes and Friends welcome all ages to their concert at 3 p.m. Sunday at the Mondavi Center for the Performing Arts at UC Davis.

Zanes soon will mark the 10th anniversary of “Rocket Ship Beach,” his first CD of family music. He began exploring age-desegregated music after the birth of his daughter in 1994 and soon after decided to abandon a pop music career, which had included four albums with Boston’s Del Fuegos, to form Festival Five Records, his independent label, and pursue family music full time.

“Rocket Ship Beach” was an immediate hit with families around America and, 10 years and 10 albums later, the Grammy award-winning artist is known widely as the leading man of the family music genre.

Following his two releases in 2009, “76 Trombones” and “The Fine Friends are Here” concert DVD — both Parents Choice Award winners — Zanes spent this year working on a variety of eclectic projects. In July, he began hosting his own monthly Sirius/XM radio show “Rocket Ship Beach Radio” a self-described mix of music, storytelling and mellow chatter.

Zanes also began the “Family Band Workshop” video series of free music lessons on his website, encouraging his fans to start their own family bands and showing them how it might be done. His website, http://www.danzanes.com, also provides lyrics and chords for most of the tunes on all 10 of his Dan Zanes and Friends CDs.

Last year also included a unique musical collaboration between Zanes and the Pilobolus dance company, titled “Contradance.” Since its debut at the American Dance Festival in North Carolina last summer, the piece has become a regular part of the Pilobolus canon. The soundtrack, written and recorded by Zanes, will be released on Festival Five Records. Festival Five also will release a limited edition re-mastered LP of  “Rocket Ship Beach” in commemoration of its 10-year anniversary.

Zanes has finished construction of a new studio in Brooklyn where he spent this winter with his merry band of friends — Colin Brooks, Sonia De Los Santos, Saskia Sunshine Lane and Elena Moon Park — recording a new CD due out this summer. The band is celebrating the 10-year anniversary with a steady touring schedule throughout the United States as well as return trips to England and Bahrain.

Past overseas touring has included shows in Australia, Canada and Spain. The band regularly performs with local groups, particularly youth orchestras and West African drum and dance ensembles.

Among the several Parents Choice Award-winning, best-selling albums for kids and kid sympathizers are the acclaimed “House Party,” “Night Time!,” “¡Nueva York!” and “Catch That Train!,” which won the 2007 Grammy for Best Musical Album for Children. Music videos for Zanes’ songs have aired on The Noggin Network, “Sesame Street” and The Disney Channel’s “Playhouse Disney.”

Tickets to Sunday’s concert are $20 to $40 general and $10 to $20 for students, available online at http://www.mondaviarts.org or by calling (530) 754-2787.

Check it out

What: Dan Zanes and Friends

When: 3 p.m. Sunday

Where: Mondavi Center for the Performing Arts

Tickets: $20-$40 general, $10-$20 students, available at http://www.mondaviarts.org or (530) 754-2787

Enterprise staff

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