Many Hands: Family Music for Haiti

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“Many hands make the load lighter” -Haitian Proverb


Simply put, Many Hands: Family Music for Haiti is the year’s best family music compilation and one of the year’s best kids music CDs, period. Buy two: one for your friend and one for your own family. Many families will thank you. Definitely recommended.

–Stefan Shepherd,

Update: As of 2015, the CD has raised over $80,000 for the Haitian People’s Support Project, providing drinking water for thousands and school tuition for kids in tent camps, among so many other vital services.

With a national release on August 10, 2010, Many Hands: Family Music for Haiti was the first release from Spare the Rock Records. This unique collection of songs is filled with uplifting messages from some of today’s very best family musicians.

After the January 12th, 2010 earthquake that destroyed much of the Haitian capital, family musician Dean Jones (Dog on Fleas) found himself feeling helpless and desperately wanting to help the people of Haiti. Having close friends in Haiti and feeling a deep love and respect for the music from the region, Jones felt the need to create something that could help the ongoing rebuilding effort.

The idea for Many Hands came to him in the middle of the night and the very next day several of his fellow family musicians signed on. “When I had the idea for the Many Hands CD, I knew without a doubt that I could count on the big-hearted kindie community.” said Jones. “The generosity and the amazing work of all the musicians and everyone involved definitely exceeded my initial expectations.”

[pullshow]Almost all of the tracks on the album are previously unreleased, most of them recorded especially for this release. The gathering of artists featured here is a strong assortment of the unique and special talents creating and performing for today’s all ages audiences, from the legendary Pete Seeger to family hip-hop star Secret Agent 23 Skidoo. In addition, everyone involved in the process of getting this album out into the world from replication to distribution has also either drastically discounted or donated their services. Proceeds from this release will benefit the Haitian People’s Support Project and their long-standing work to help the people of Haiti.[pullthis display=”outside”]”Artfully assembled and brimming with joy, Many Hands lives up to its title with noteworthy performances from many of the finest names in family music. Great music, worthy cause — what more could you ask for?” – Jeff Giles, PopDose[/pullthis]

Many Hands is the debut album of Spare the Rock Records, founded by Bill Childs. “After speaking with Dean it was immediately obvious to me that this would be a great record, and, just as importantly, that it would have the potential to help keep people’s attention on the ongoing recovery of Haiti,” recalls Childs on how the partnership came to fruition. “Dean asked for some help reaching out to a few artists, and that just naturally flowed into my helping the record get a wider release; ultimately, that meant starting a label.” Childs produces, with his kids, the weekly radio show Spare the Rock, Spoil the Child. Bill also writes about kids’ music for various parenting magazines and has produced numerous kids’ concerts and is the cofounder of KindieFest, the family music conference.

CD release shows took place on both coasts, including:

  • Sunday August, 15: Dog on Fleas, Grenadilla, Uncle Rock, Rosendale Theater, Rosendale, NY
  • Friday, August 20: Elizabeth Mitchell & Family and Frances England, Mill Valley Library, Mill Valley, CA (free)
  • Saturday, August 21: Dog on Fleas, Lunch Money, Randy Kaplan, Deedle Deedle Dees, Armory, Somerville, MA
  • Saturday, September 11, 11:00: Randy Kaplan, Johnny Bregar, and Recess Monkey, Multnomah Arts Center, Portland, OR, presented by A Child’s Time to Rock!
  • Saturday, September 11: Deedle Deedle Dees, Gustafer Yellowgold, Dog on Fleas, Knitting Factory, Brooklyn, NY
  • Sunday, September 26: Dan Zanes, Elizabeth Mitchell & Family, Rani Arbo & daisy mayhem, Secret Agent 23 Skidoo, Deedle Deedle Dees, Tony Vacca, Grenadilla, Pines Theater, Look Park, Northampton, MA.  Major sponsors: Impish, Family Fun.  Program sponsors: WRSI, Turn It Up!, Signature Sounds, Northampton Area Pediatrics, The Toy Box, Pedal to Properties, and the Daily Hampshire Gazette.

Click on the thumbnail for a high-res image of the cover:

Media Contact: Stephanie Mayers

The record features the following artists:

Dan Zanes
Pete Seeger
Elizabeth Mitchell
They Might be Giants
Gustafer Yellowgold
Caspar Babypants
Frances England
Dog on Fleas
Lunch Money
Baby Gramps
Recess Monkey
The Deedle Deedle Dees
Rani Arbo and daisy mayhem
Bonga and the Vodou Drums of Haiti
Secret Agent 23 Skidoo
Jonathan Coulton
Uncle Rock
Dean Jones
Emily Curtis
Randy Kaplan
Jerrice Baptiste

Full notes:

My fascination with Haiti began years ago when I heard a CD called “Caribbean Revels:  Haitian Raras and Dominican Gagas”, recorded by my friend Verna Gillis in the late 70s.  Listening to that CD made me feel that Rara music was the most amazing and vibrant sound on the planet!!   The energy and rhythms of the metal trumpets and percussion made me ecstatic.  Bonga’s track (track 3) will give you a tiny taste.  Haiti’s history is full of beauty, poverty and political struggles. Its long and often painful history was recently compounded by the 2009 earthquake that destroyed much of the capital city Port-au-Prince.  Images of the devastation we have seen on the news will haunt us.  For people with a personal connection to Haiti and its culture, there is a strong desire to restore the core of this very special culture.  It will be a long road to recovery.

While the recent destruction in Haiti is fresh in my mind, it’s the warmth, beauty and generosity of the Haitian people that I have met that is the inspiration for this CD.  The idea came to me in a flash in the middle of the night.  And the very next day eight of the artists on this CD offered, with no hesitation, to record tracks!  Everyone involved in this project gladly donated their time and efforts, with many of the musicians writing and recording brand new songs just for Many Hands.  I could not have created this CD without the generosity and talent of these amazing musicians and artists.  Also, a big thanks to Bill Childs for creating a record company to bring this CD to life!  Lastly, thank you for buying Many Hands.  I sincerely hope you enjoy listening to a CD that is part of rebuilding Haiti.

If you wish to do more, please consider donating to the Haitian People’s Support Project.

— Dean Jones, Producer


Thank you to, first and foremost, the Haitian People’s Support Project for their tireless work in Haiti. Thanks to the musicians, recording engineers, visual artists, and everyone else who contributed so much time and talent to this project.  Thanks also to Stephanie Ellis, Dena Childs,, Stefan Shepard, Jeff Bogle, Jeff Giles, Jim Olsen, Stephanie Mayers, Beth Blenz-Clucas, Marty Beller, Sarah at A to Z Media, Peter Wright at Virtual Label, Neva Wartell, Wendy Reid, Lori Gross, Robert Bard, The Big Sky Ensemble, Mark Brown, and WRSI (93.9 The River).  Bill dedicates the record to the memory of his father, W. Ves. Childs.


Executive Producer:  Bill Childs

Produced by Dean Jones

Mastered by Alan Douches at West West Side

Artwork by David Soman

Graphic Design by Jacky Davis-Soman

Spare the Rock Records LLC – – STR-01

Emily Curtis – We Belong (Emily Curtis) Recorded and produced by Dean Jones at No Parking Studio.  Emily Curtis – guitar and lead vocal, John Parker- upright bass, Dean Jones – guitar, glockenspiel, electric piano and vocals, Storey Littleton, Ana Dooley, Tim Gersec, Chance Stover, Kayla Ludwig, Ruby Gunn- vocals, Debbie Lan – vocal coach and kid wrangler

Rani Arbo and daisy mayhem – Here We Go, Zudio (traditional, arranged by Rani Arbo and daisy mayhem)  Recorded by Anand Nayak and Mark Miller  at Slaughterhouse Studios in Westhampton, MA.  Rani Arbo – fiddle,vocals, Andrew Kinsey – bass, vocals, Scott Kessel – percussion, vocals, Anand Nayak – guitar, vocals

Bonga – Activity (Bonga) Produced by Bonga, Co-produced by Rufus Cappadocia and Glen Marshall.  Bonga- Vodou drums, banbou, vocals, James “Tiga” Jean-Baptiste- Vodou drums and percussions, vocals, Alisha Zebulon – vocals, Sheila Anozier – vocals.

Dan Zanes -Tonight Tonight (Dan Zanes) Produced by Dan Zanes and Rob Friedman.  Engineered and mixed by Rob Friedman at Little Life Studios, NYC.  colin brooks – all nature of percussion, sonia de los santos – jarana guitar, vocal, rob friedman – organ, saxaphone, vocal, percussion, saskia sunshine lane – upright bass, elena moon park – fiddle, trumpet, vocal, dan zanes – guitar vocal

Recess Monkey – Fiddlehead Fern (Drew Holloway, Daron Henry, Jack Forman) Produced by Recess Monkey with special guest Elena Murillo on fiddle.

Dog on Fleas- Sing about the Sun (Dean Jones)– Produced by Dean Jones.  Chris Cullo –shakers, John Hughes – guiro, Dean Jones – guitar and voice.

Elizabeth Mitchell- Bright Morning Stars (traditional) Recorded by Warren Defever.   Elizabeth Mitchell – vocals, Daniel Littleton – vocals, Ruth Ungar – fiddle, Kristen Jacobsen- piano.

Caspar Babypants – Check it Out (Caspar Babypants) Produced and performed by Caspar Babypants.

Secret Agent 23 Skidoo – Noise (Secret Agent 23 Skidoo) Produced by Secret Agent 23 Skidoo.  Engineered and mixed by Julian Dreyer. Al Al Ingram – hook vocals, Valerie Johnson- hook vocals, Frank Mapstone – keyboards, Greg Hollowell, Ben Hovey and Derrick Johnson – horns.

Jonathan Coulton- The Princess Who Saved Herself (Jonathan Coulton) Produced and performed by Jonathan Coulton, with a cameo by Lacey Kohl.

They Might Be Giants – My Name is Kingof Socks (TMBG) Produced and performed by They Might Be Giants.

Lunch Money – You Are Here (Molly Ledford)  Produced by Molly Ledford and Jay Barry,  Molly- guitar and vocals, Jay- bass and snare. Henry Barry- guest vocals.

Pete Seeger- Quite Early Morning (Pete Seeger)  Pete Seeger – banjo and voice, Lori Gross, D. Fraser and Fiona Fraser-Gross – chorus. Recorded by Dean Jones beside Pete’s woodstove. Note the crackling!

Dean Jones – Little by Little (Dean Jones, Jerrice Baptiste, J. Mage)  Produced by Dean Jones.  Featuring Eli McNamara – vocals, Jerrice Baptiste – Creole vocals, J. Mage – magic, Dean Jones – vocal, keyboards, etc.

Grenadilla – Arabella Angelique (Debbie Lan) Produced by Debbie Lan and Ken McGloin.  Debbie Lan- piano and voice, Leah Glennon, Jodi Palinkas, Annmarie Callan, Brittany Sacash, Natasha Williams – vocals, Ken McGloin- bass and guitar, Dean Sharp- percussion.

Gustafer Yellowgold – Penguin Day (Gustafer Yellowgold) Written, produced and performed by Gustafer Yellowgold.

Baby Gramps – Never Swat a Fly (Desylva, Brown, Henderson (1930), additional words and music by Baby Gramps)  Recorded by Aleks Barbour, live at the Church of Great Rain, Vashon Island, Washington, 4/11/10

Randy Kaplan – Mama Don’t Allow (traditional/ lyric adaptation by Anne Kelly-Saxenmeyer for PLAY® music. Produced by Willie Aron and Marc Aaron Jacobs. Randy Kaplan- vocal, Willie Aron -drums, bass, piano, acoustic guitar & percussion. Track courtesy of LA Play Cafe, Inc

The Deedle Deedle Dees – Zora (Lloyd Miller) Produced by Bradford Reed; additional vocal production by Marty Beller, Ulysses S. Dee (Lloyd Miller)- bass, vocals, Innocent Dee ( Anand Mukherjee) – guitar, Booker Dee (Chris Johnson)- organ, Otto von Dee (Ely Levin) – drums.

Uncle Rock – Shadow Dance (Robert Burke Warren) Produced by Dean Jones.  Uncle Rock- bass, guitar, baritone ukulele, vocals, Dean Jones – drums, melodica, wooden flutes, Moog, vocals, Amy Poux – vocals

Frances England – That’s What Friends Are For (Frances England) Produced by Andrew Higgins.  Frances England – guitar and vocals, Andrew Higgins- bass and piano, Jeff Redlawsk – drums

Jerrice Baptiste – Many Hands (Jerrice Baptiste)  Jerrice Baptiste – English and Creole recitation.  Recorded by Dean Jones on a rainy night.