Elephants Have Wrinkles
Mike Whitla is the pied piper of the toddler set and spends most of his time singing with children. He is the founder and director of Rainbow Songs, which runs participatory music programs throughout Metropolitan Toronto for kids from birth through 6 years with their parents. As Deanne Fisher writes in Toronto City Parent Magazine, Oodles of Toronto families have introduced their young children to the joys of music by attending 'Rainbow Songs' classes at various churches and community centres. Mike Whitla is the founder of that program and continues to teach many of the classes. I only recently became aware that he also has a CD available. Elephants Have Wrinkles includes a very eclectic selection of traditional, folk, classical and even Klezmer music. The favourites are there - 'Sticky, Sticky Bubble Gum', 'Twinkle, Twinkle', etc.-- but so too are J.S. Bach's Minuet in G, the Jewish folk song 'Hava Nagila', a Venezuelan Waltz and a Georgian lullaby. His intention is to provide parents and children with the opportunity to expand their appreciation of vocal and instrumental music; he does it by luring us in with songs we know and then throwing something completely different and surprising into the mix. Whitla's formal musical training is in classical guitar and he shows off his mastery on that instrument in several of the pieces. In addition to being the founder of Rainbow Songs Mike is also a Toronto based performer, composer, producer, and teacher drawing on idioms including jazz, classical, Indian, Latin-American, folk, and popular styles.