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date: 12 November 2019

Jenkins, Ella locked

  • Jeff Place

Extract

(b St. Louis, IL, Aug 6, 1924). American singer of children’s songs. Known as the First Lady of Children’s Music, she is one the most important children’s entertainers of the late 20th and early 21st centuries. She has spent most of her life in Chicago. While working for the YWCA in 1952, she began to host a television show called “This is Rhythm.” In 1957 she released her first album for the New York-based label Folkways Records. By 2010 she had released more than 30 albums for Folkways and its successor, Smithsonian Folkways Records. For most of the history of Folkways, Jenkins has been its top-selling artist.

Many generations of students have grown up with her music; it is not uncommon to have grandmothers, mothers, and their children in the same audience. Jenkins has played numerous instruments and sung in many languages using songs to teach world music. She has often employed a call-and-response technique to encourage audience interaction. She was a champion of multicultural education long before the term was in common usage....

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