What has a pig on its head and leaves it there all day? Laurie Berkner.
Berkner is a kindie rock musician, a genre of music that arose in the early 2000s and is characterized by a freedom in artistic expression that is sometimes lacking from more commercial kid-focused music. Don’t worry, though: Like any good music for preschoolers, Berkner’s songs inspire singalong and dancing.
Berkner’s show, “Minivan Rock,” will make its Wyoming debut Saturday. A stop on her Greatest Hits Solo Tour, the show will be a free family concert at the Center for the Arts.
Berkner has produced more than 10 LPs, authored several children’s books and is regularly on SiriusXM’s Kids Place Live.
What’s the secret behind the kindie rock queen? Fun.
“The songs I pick to perform have a lot to do with how much movement and interaction each song encourages,” Berkner said. “I probably wouldn’t think about that nearly as much if I were only performing for adults.”
Berkner has an impressive resume of performing in a diversity of media contexts. She appeared regularly on “Jack’s Big Music Show” and was the first musical artist to appear on the Nick Jr. television channel. She helped develop the Sprouts’ (now Universal Kids) short-form animated series “Sing It, Laurie!” She has also scored music and lyrics for three off-Broadway children’s musicals.
Berkner said her music takes families on a “Berkner Break.” Her songs have narratives that are easy to pair with silly dance moves and never-ending choruses that are quickly learned by first-time listeners.
Originally a freelance music teacher for young children, Berkner was called “the Adele of the preschool crowd” by The New York Times. Her animated performances are loud and encourage lots of movement.
When Berkner first decided to record kid-focused music her engagements quickly picked up from the local New York area to national bookings.
“It all came out of being a freelance music teacher for various pre-schools, “mommy and me” type programs, and day care centers,” Berkner said. “Once I had recorded some of my songs and more kids heard my music, I got asked to perform at benefits for various community organizations in the NYC area.”
Her formula is simple. Berkner’s shows are energetic and keep the audience engaged through interaction.
Back to the pig on the head. All attendees are invited to bring a stuffed animal for their heads.
“When I sing ‘Pig on Her Head!’ I like to look out into the audience and sing about the animals I see there.”
Berkner says it’s important to make sure attendees are dressed to dance.
“I try to keep even the youngest audience members fully engaged with dynamic expressions of musical joy in active songs like ‘I’m Gonna Catch You’ and ‘Rocketship Run,’ Berkner said.
The concert will begin at 6 p.m. There will be an indoor pizza picnic in the center lobby, and guests are invited to bring a blanket to sit on. The free tickets are available at the library’s youth desk. ￼