Remy Rodden has been contributing as an environmental educator for his entire adult life. “I’ve found that music and song are really effective tools to get environmental concepts across,” says Rodden, who recently released a new children’s album, Think About the Wild.
Rodden released his first children’s album, Envirosongs, in the late 1990s. In the intervening years, his repertoire has grown to include many other environmentally-themed songs for the young and young-at-heart. A combination of some of those older songs (including a set created in partnership with the Canadian Wildlife Federation around 2000) and some new ones appear on Think About the Wild. The songs encompass a variety of styles and subjects, but most are focused on nature and the environment, something that most people might guess from song titles like “Let’s Get Drastic with Our Plastic,” “Won’t You Help the Bees?” and “I’m Proud To Be A Beaver.”
Although Rodden has created albums in the past for adults, he says his niche is really children’s music and he wanted to come back to that with this album.
“I love it. It’s fun, it’s heartfelt and I really do want young people to learn about the natural world and protect and preserve it,” he says. His first album was ‘not-for-kids-only.’ This one is definitely more kid-focused, though it was still produced to be enjoyable for adults as well (the last bonus track even includes the words epistemology and pedagogy). The goal was to create music that the whole family can enjoy.”
Releasing an album during a global pandemic comes with its own set of challenges, not the least of which was how to host a release event. Rodden was able to draw on the experience he gained during COVID-19 with hosting Facebook Live events.
He spent a lot of time in the spring learning the technology as part of a performance with the National Arts Centre in Ottawa.
“Those experiences helped me to perfect my ‘technique,’ working with a green screen so I can change the background image for each song, for example.”
Rodden is currently living in Beaver Creek which adds another level of complications to the digital performance realm. Bandwidth is an issue, as they only have DSL here. He is tapped into a service, however, that allows him to pre-record a live performance, then upload and schedule it. That’s what Rodden did with his launch event for Think About the Wild. If you missed it, you can still view it, along with Rodden’s other digital performances on his Facebook page at Remy Rodden Music. He plans to add more performances as social distancing continues.
Think About the Wild is available on streaming services now, or at Road Dogs Music or Mac’s Fireweed in Whitehorse. Alternatively, you can order directly from Rodden at remyrodden.com/music, which comes with the added benefit that he will mail a personalized copy anywhere in Canada for $15.
Remy Rodden performs at the 2020 Midnight Sun Muppets Kidsfest in Whitehorse.