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If you are looking for the best songs and stories for children,
let the words and music surround you with the wonder & magic of A Gentle Wind

Sarah Pirtle
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"If you want to hear some of the best songs out there today...listen to Sarah Pirtle."
– Pete Seeger

Sarah Pirtle is an award-winning author and musician who writes and sings for all ages.   She has received the Magic Penny Award
for lifetime achievement in children’s music from the Children’s Music Network based on the international impact of her songs and books for teachers. The awards for her recordings include the Parents’ Choice Classic Award, the American Library Association Award, The Film Advisory Board Award Of Excellence, and The Oppenheim Toy Portfolio Best Audio Award. 
 


For information about the "Linking Up" activity book and CD published by ESR click here
Song Samples From Linking Up:
Sing About Us ......We Won't Leave Anyone Out .... Let's Get Together.....Two in the Fight
There is Always Something You Can Do....
Speak Up

 

WHY I SING WITH CHILDREN

Just as an artist stirred by beauty comes with a sketch pad to hold the essence in a drawing, I jump into life as a songwriter with a yearning to sketch with words. I pass on what I experience: the feeling of rock-hopping across a stream, the wonder of watching water strider bugs skate on water. I pass on what I imagine: the leaf home of a squirrel high in a tree on a windy night.

 

I look for how a young person sees the world. A song “City Neighbors” captures the joy of visiting familiar neighborhood stores including a favorite bookstore where you can pat the cat in the window. Another song on “Pocketful of Wonder” shows the feeling of balancing twigs to create a fairy house. It answers the age-old question – Do the fairies visit this house I’ve made? – by letting the fairy talk about bouncing on the bed the child has created.

 

I look for unspoken connections: the impulse to keep collecting favorite sticks, the insistence while playing outside not to come in for dinner. On the recording, “Heart of the World,” I capture how it feels on a whale watch when a giant whale flips onto its back and cracks the water. Another song places us in a sailboat at the moment when our dog jumps overboard to swim with dolphins. We talk to quarks and DNA and the long line of plants and animals birthed by the earth. Science and wonder spin together.

 

The first song I wrote back in 1979 sings, “My roots go down to the earth.” It arrived, pushing its way up like an insistent flower bud, while I was walking at night under a full moon. My songwriter’s sketch pad keeps returning to the pulse of the seasons: what it’s like to jump in piles of leaves, or the taste of the first snowflakes on your face. Something happens that is so strong that I can’t rest until a song is made; “Spring Singer” began with the force of spring striding up the valley to awaken and change everything.

 

I want children to be able to feel that same power of nature inside themselves and feel how it is available to translate into their own lives. Like the story of three girls building a treehouse – “Hold that nail and hit it once again….Don’t give up ‘til it’s just the way you like.” And a new song, “The courage of the dandelion is yours and mine.”

 

Most of all I want them to feel their innate goodness: “You’re so strong, you’re so smart. You were born with the loving heart” says the chorus of  “The Sun Inside Us” on the “Wind is Telling Secrets.” I think of songs as a kind of medicine.

 

That same inner power of nature helps us learn how to talk out conflicts. I want to tell the truth about human difficulty: “I’m so angry I can’t see straight. I’m mad as a bull breaking down a gate. You and I are in this fight. Gotta find a way to set things right.” The push inside for connection keeps sending out: “Talk it out. We have to go through it.” I speak of human longing for understanding: “Why do we make walls? These walls divide us. Why don’t we make a start, building a bridge from heart to heart.” These songs are on the recording “Magical Earth,” along with a song about protecting the rainforest that’s traveled a lot called, “The Mahogany Tree.”

 

For a quarter of a century and nearly a hundred songs, I have been creating recordings with A Gentle Wind. We’re just brought out our fifth recording together called “Pocketful of Wonder.” These new songs place the listener close to the heartbeat of the earth – “Let’s go outside, the trees are talking.”  They also celebrate farm life, like in the humorous description of children learning how to hug chickens.

 

I hear from families that what they appreciate is that adults and children alike can listen to the recordings -- like on lengthy car trips. I’ve hoped for the songs to reach out to people of all ages. Back in 1984 when I recorded “Two Hands Hold the Earth,” while I was pregnant with my son Ryan, I started a practice of envisioning the families who would hear the music and sending out good wishes as I sang into the microphone. I’ve gotten letters this year from unknown listeners, now with children of their own, who said they felt those wishes encoded in the music.

 

I like to foster community through music. I have written four books including An Outbreak of Peace that received the Olive Branch Award for outstanding book of the year on world peace. I travel throughout the country giving concerts, school residencies, and teacher workshops. I’m on the national faculty of Lesley University in Creative Arts in Learning and train teachers on how to integrate music into the classroom. I also provide workshops for adults on Everyday Courage. Most of all what I like about these opportunities is the chance to meet new people and see through their eyes. Often there’s something we talk about or discover together that gets sketched and described in a new song.

 

When I drive to the Gentle Wind studio, I go from this region of western Massachusetts in the foothills of the Berkshires across a mountain range into Albany, New York. Songs seem to be waiting in the hills, ready to release new secrets. One time when we had everything done on a recording, I drove back just for one more new song. That’s because its message and its medicine kept tapping me on the shoulder, saying – here’s something else that needs to be delivered. The chorus sang out, “We’re together in the heart of the world.” Singing is a way of thanking.

 

Youngest Years |  Preschool-Early Elementary | Loving Values | Stories | Tickle Your Funny Bone | Listed by Title/Artist
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