Joe Reilly (Photo: Linda Wan)
Singer-songwriter Joe Reilly combines his love of music and his role as an environmental educator on the new CD "Children of the Earth." The youngsters Reilly works with sing along and offer their own ideas to help teach basic science, and spread the message of the importance of ecological stewardship to young people.
CURWOOD: How could we live without trees? That’s the question singer-songwriter Joe Reilly, and the youngsters he works with in Ann Arbor, Michigan, ask in that “Tree Hugging Song.” It’s from a new CD he’s produced, called “Children of the Earth.” Joe Reilly wants to spread the word about good environmental stewardship.
But he wants to entertain as well, with songs about nature, and animals, of all kinds.
[MUSIC: Joe Reilly “Amphibians & Mammals” from live performance for Living on Earth]
REILLY: My parents are both musicians. They’re both singers, and my dad plays the upright bass, as well. And they both play guitar. And so I grew up, really, literally, since I was in the womb with music all around.
REILLY (singing): …. Amphibitti – phibitti-phibitti-an…. Amphibitti – phibitti-phibitti-an …..(fades under)
CHILD 1: You should ride your bike in the summer or whenever it’s warm enough to ride your bike instead of using a car because it’ll give you exercise and it will help the Earth.
CHILD 2: to use cars that use sunlight and no gas.
CHILD 3: using public transportation is better because it keeps more cars off the road.
CHILD 4: try walking.
REILLY (singing) Dogs, cats, hedgehogs, camels, these are all animals known as mammals. Horses, rabbits, humans, too, that’s right, I’m a mammal…..(fades under)
REILLY: I guess sometimes I’ll sit down with a group and say “What do you want to write a song about?” and then they may shout out something like “mammals” for instance. So, okay, so we have a topic – mammals – and so, describe to me what a mammal is. You know, tell me, what are different examples of mammals, what are the habitats that mammals live in?
REILLY (singing): Deer and rabbits are mammals in the forest, so many mammals that we have to sing our chorus. It goes: Dogs, cats, hedgehogs, camels, these are all animals known as mammals.
REILLY (singing): I am a crow, and I sound like CAW, CAW…(KIDS JOIN IN) We are all brothers and sisters…
REILLY: It’s my hope that this album, that this project can be a source of connection for kids. That it can help them build relationships to the Earth that are sustaining for the Earth, but also for the kids, for the kids’ sake.
REILLY (singing): I am a little kid, I live in Michigan….
REILLY: I think I’ll always be a teacher. My mom’s a teacher, my grandma was a teacher, and it’s in my blood (laughs) and so I think, you know, I’ll always be an environmental educator ‘cause that’s something that is so true to me and I’ll always be a songwriter so these are things that I carry with me…whether or not they pay the bills, that’s up to the universe (laughs).
REILLY (singing): We are all brothers and sisters, we are all related.
CURWOOD: Joe Reilly is an environmental educator at the Leslie Nature and Science Center in Ann Arbor, Michigan. Check out our website loe.org for more information about Joe.
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