Now that my son’s absorbing language at a rapid pace, I totally get the appeal of kid-appropriate music. (At least the kind I don’t mind listening to, too.) So I’ve been stepping away from the profanity-laden hip-hop that used to dominate my playlists and discovering so many wonderful options. The latest being Legion of Peace.
I got an early listen to this inspirational new jazz album from pianist and kindie music favorite Lori Henriques (a Grammy nominee for her album How Great Can This Day Be) and Nobel Peace Prize winner and microloan pioneer Muhammad Yunus, with each original song celebrating a different Nobel Laureate, from the extraordinary Malala Yousafzai to former president Jimmy Carter.
You know just what to expect right off the bat; the first track features Yunus inviting the listener to “join the Legion of Peace” and to act boldly and intentionally, helping to create a better world by first envisioning it.
From there, you’ll discover a series of catchy and uplifting jazz tracks that are perfect for listeners of all ages, thanks to Henriques’s talents as children’s musician and composer.
The first piece, Everything You Do (Creates a Change) has almost a Schoolhouse Rock vibe to it in the best possible way. Imagine the World is a lovely ode to Yunus’s own mother. A Human is a Human, inspired by Bishop Desmond Tutu, is entirely instrumental until several minutes in, when Henriques breaks out with the line, “telling your own story will bring you power.”
And there are plenty of instrumental “preludes” to the songs, so it’s not like you’re being hit over the head with messages nonstop. It’s truly an enjoyable listen, particularly when kids are around.
I love how the songs connect world-recognized greatness to everyday choices that demonstrate kindness and empathy. I think it’s more than just wonderful listening — it’s a great way to spark conversation about these leaders (especially lesser-known Laureates like Wangari Maathai and Jody Williams) and their messages of change, action, kindness and hope, without waiting to pull out a book at bedtime.
If you’re looking to have start great talks with your kids, create more kindness, or hey, to just foster a legion of peace between siblings while waiting to get out of the carpool line, definitely give this album a listen.
Legion of Peace by Lori Henriques and Muhammad Yunus drops September 21 and will be available through multiple services, but you can preorder now from our affiliate Amazon.