Dan Zanes and Claudia Eliaza

Dan Zanes and Claudia Eliaza
Grammy Award Winner Dan Zanes occupies a unique place in American music–where sea shanties, English Music hall, play party songs, the spirit of early rock-n-roll, soul, North American and West Indian folk music collide. For the past 15 years, he has toured the world with his band, Dan Zanes and Friends, sharing handmade 21st century social music with enthusiastic crowds of kids and kid sympathizers.

From thrift shop basements to Carnegie Hall, from Brooklyn to Bahrain, Zanes has been introducing new songs and reconnecting people to the forgotten music of the past. Referred to as “the family-music genre’s most outspoken and eloquent advocate” by Time Magazine, his critically-acclaimed music has been featured on Sesame Street, Playhouse Disney, Nickelodeon, HBO Family and Sprout. Over the course of 14 albums and 2 DVDs, he has collaborated with everyone from Philip Glass to Lou Reed to Angelique Kidjo to Natalie Merchant to The Blind Boys of Alabama.

Born in Exeter, New Hampshire in 1961, Zanes was a member of The Del Fuegos who released quite a few albums and toured heavily throughout the 1980s before spontaneously combusting in 1989. In 1994, he released his first solo album, Cool Down Time. Shortly after, he moved with his family to Brooklyn. In 2000, he released Rocket Ship Beach, which became an immediate hit in the family music scene in America. NPR called Zanes “The Gold Standard in kid’s music.” He has since released 14 CDs, 2 DVDs, and a pair of picture books, all for young audiences.

In the fall of 2017, Dan and his wife, Haitian-American jazz vocalist Music Therapist Claudia Eliaza, premiered Night Train 57: A Sensory Friendly Folk Opera at The Kennedy Center. They’ll be touring this show, which is performed along with Mexican percussion player turned comic actor Yuriana Sobrino, throughout the next few years. Night Train 57 is the first piece of its kind to be commissioned by The Kennedy Center to be created, from the beginning, as a sensory friendly experience. Dan and Claudia believe that Sensory Friendly is the future of family entertainment and have committed to presenting all of their various performances in this inclusive manner.

In 2017, Dan also released an album which celebrates the children’s music of his childhood inspiration Lead Belly–an artist he considers to be the Godfather of modern family music. Lead Belly, Baby! Is available on the Smithsonian/Folkways label and features performances by Aloe Blacc, Billy Bragg, Valerie June, and Chuck D. Dan, Claudia, and Pauline Jean will be touring in support of this CD throughout the 2017 / 2018 season. 

Zanes also joined the ranks of America’s premier roots musicians as a guitar and ukulele teacher with Sonic Junction, the leader in online instructional videos and he recently signed a deal with Quarto Publishing Group to compile a family music songbook to be published in 2018…phew.

Ages 3 and up

America

Dan Zanes and Claudia Eliaza


Grammy Award winner Dan Zanes and Haitian-American jazz vocalist Claudia Eliaza perform Dan’s most loved songs as well as the children’s music of folk icon Lead Belly which is featured on Dan’s latest CD, Lead Belly, Baby! The shows are highly interactive. The audience is always invited to sing and dance along in what might be called a casual, and subversively educational, party atmosphere. The music, based in a variety of folk traditions, is homespun, sophisticated, and artful. These shows have broad appeal and the duo is adept (and well loved) in school settings. Claudia’s background as a board certified Music Therapist has given the duo additional ways to find meaningful connections and grow a wider audience.

Best enjoyed by age 3 and up.

Dan Zanes – vocals, guitar, mandolin, harmonica, percussion
Claudia Eliaza – vocals, flute, trombone, percussion, guitar

Performances usually include many of the following songs:

The Rock Island Line
Jump Up
Red Bird
All Around The Kitchen
Ha-Ha This Away
Catch That Train
Take This Hammer
Stewball
Wonder Wheel
Julie Ann Johnson
El Canario
So Glad I’m Here
Coney Island Avenue
More Yet
Skip To My Lou
Relax Your Mind
Boll Weevil
La Siren

The Dan Zanes Trio with Claudia Eliaza and Pauline Jean


Grammy Award winner Dan Zanes and Haitian-American jazz vocalists Claudia Eliaza and Pauline Jean perform Dan’s most loved songs as well as the children’s music of folk icon Lead Belly, which is featured on Dan’s latest CD, Lead Belly, Baby! The shows are highly interactive. The audience is always invited to sing and dance along in what might be called a casual, and subversively educational, party atmosphere. The music, based in a variety of folk traditions, is homespun, sophisticated, and artful. These shows have broad appeal and the trio is adept (and well loved) in school settings. Claudia’s background as a board certified Music Therapist has given the trio additional ways to find meaningful connections and grow a wider audience.

Dan Zanes Trio also offers a Holiday Sing Along. This multicultural all-ages wintertime celebration shares songs from a variety of traditions and the songs are from here and there, near and far.

Best enjoyed by age 3 and up.

Dan Zanes – vocals, guitar, mandolin, harmonica, percussion
Claudia Eliaza – vocals, flute, trombone, percussion, guitar
Pauline Jean – vocals, percussion, melodica

Performances usually include many of the following songs:

The Rock Island Line
Jump Up
Red Bird
All Around The Kitchen
Ha-Ha This Away
Catch That Train
Take This Hammer
Stewball
Wonder Wheel
Julie Ann Johnson
El Canario
So Glad I’m Here
Coney Island Avenue
More Yet
Skip To My Lou
Relax Your Mind
Boll Weevil
La Siren

Dan Zanes and Friends


Grammy Award winner Dan Zanes and Haitian-American jazz vocalist Claudia Eliaza with their full band perform Dan’s most loved songs as well as the children’s music of folk icon Lead Belly, which is featured on Dan’s latest CD, Lead Belly, Baby! The shows are highly interactive. The audience is always invited to sing and dance along in what might be called a casual, and subversively educational, party atmosphere. The music, based in a variety of folk traditions, is homespun, sophisticated, and artful.

Dan Zanes and Friends also offers a Holiday Sing Along. This multicultural all-ages wintertime celebration shares songs from a variety of traditions and the songs are from here and there, near and far.

Best enjoyed by age 3 and up.

Dan Zanes – vocals, guitar, mandolin, harmonica, percussion
Claudia Eliaza – vocals, flute, trombone, percussion, guitar
Friends – everything else

Performances usually include many of the following songs:

The Rock Island Line
Jump Up
Red Bird
All Around The Kitchen
Ha-Ha This Away
Catch That Train
Take This Hammer
Stewball
Wonder Wheel
Julie Ann Johnson
El Canario
So Glad I’m Here
Coney Island Avenue
More Yet
Skip To My Lou
Relax Your Mind
Boll Weevil
La Siren

NIGHT TRAIN 57: A Sensory-Friendly Folk Opera


NIGHT TRAIN 57: A Sensory-Friendly Folk Opera

A world premiere Kennedy Center and VSA co-commission
Featuring Dan Zanes, Claudia Eliaza, and Yuriana Sobrino

All aboard the Night Train! Enter the freewheeling musical world of Grammy® winner Dan Zanes, vocalist and multi-instrumentalist Claudia Eliaza, and percussionist Yuriana Sobrino for an interactive folk opera that takes audiences on a far-out ride to the galaxies and back. During a joyous dusk-to-dawn trip through the stars, passengers on Night Train 57 will discover the power of friendship and community with the sounds of 21st-century handmade sing-along music. This adventure welcomes travelers of all ages and sensory levels.

Festive original folk songs played on guitar, trombone, mandolin, flute, harmonica, ukulele, percussion—and, of course, voices!—power the train, as homespun sets and video projection create an unforgettable intergalactic atmosphere. Visit psychedelic stars, navigate the challenges of whimsical space travel, and celebrate communal music-making while singing, laughing, and dancing towards a deeper sense of life’s best possibilities. NPR raves: Dan Zanes is “the gold standard in kids’ music.” Board the Night Train and find out why!

Best enjoyed by age 3 and up.

Core Connections:
This performance is connected to the following Common Core Standards:
Earth and Space Science (ESS1B); Music—Performing (Pr.6)

The Washington Post:

Dan Zanes on why sensory-friendly shows are ‘the future of family entertainment’ Click here for article.

Written by collaborators from The Kennedy Center, The Ware Center, and more: 

What Makes a Show Sensory Friendly? Click here for article.