Millions know Raffi for his work as a children’s entertainer whose string of gold and platinum-selling recordings in North America includes his classic “Baby Beluga” song with its beloved melody and lyrics. But a very interesting piece of Raffi’s story is not as well known: Raffi’s pioneering and longstanding commitment to creating music for young audiences.

Founding his own record label, Troubadour, then folk musician Raffi set out on a path that rescued children’s recordings from bargain bin pricing and sub-par production values. In 1976, with help from Ken Whiteley and Daniel Lanois, Raffi spent the time and money it took to ensure that his recordings met the highest standards. Raffi convinced retailers that parents would pay regular price for quality music for their children, and he was right.

Teachers, parents and kids took an immediate liking to the kind of songwriting Raffi offered, perhaps because of the respect that was obvious in his material and the playful delivery which always clicked with the kids. Soon, the media were knocking at Raffi’s door.

After years of networking and reflecting on what it might take to create a world fit for children, Raffi founded the Centre for Child Honouring on Salt Spring Island in 2010. The Centre advocates for an ecological worldview, a whole systems shift in the way we think and make decisions – decisions that affect our children’s world today and the world they will inherit. Raffi is outspoken in his call for a “compassion revolution” so that the world’s children might receive both the respect and the support that they deserve.

Award-winning singer/songwriter Raffi is launching a new song on iTunes today, celebrating hockey. A catchy, toe-tapping tune, “On Hockey Days” comes from Raffi’s love of the sport and the fun of hockey outings.

This bright, all-ages song praises hockey moms and dads who spend a good part of the winter with their girls and boys at the rink. “On Hockey Days” may also be the first tune to celebrate grassroots hockey as a family experience.

“Hundreds of thousands of families are involved in amateur hockey—amateur means for the love of it,” Raffi says. “This song is about the fun of hockey, the winter game loved by young and old.”
On Hockey Days” echoes the spirit of fun, safe, and fair play in Respect In Sport, an online program already changing behaviour positively on and off the ice.

In recent months, Raffi has called for a ban on hockey violence: “I agree with hockey great Ken Dryden and Canada’s Governor General: fighting has no place in hockey. Hockey Canada and USA Hockey are set to ban fights, and that’s good news for kids and families.” The Duncan Keith hit on Daniel Sedin in the recent Vancouver Canucks vs. Chicago Blackhawks game is a fine example.

Nonviolence is a key principle of the Covenant For Honouring Children that Raffi promotes in his current work with Centre For Child Honouring.

Hockey Canada is delighted. “We love Raffi’s song – it’s a winner!” says CEO Bob Nicholson. “It helps remind everyone about respect in minor hockey. Congratulations Raffi for a catchy song with a great message!”

On Hockey Days”, is reminiscent of the Raffi classic, “Baby Beluga,” as well as his 1985 “Bowling Song” (for which he received an award from the Bowling Proprietors Association of America). Its country/pop sound was recorded in Calgary, Alberta, and features a dazzling guitar solo by guitar great Aaron Young.

Raffi’s second sports song and his first ever for hockey, “On Hockey Days” is now available on iTunes (and on April 3 in the US iTunes store). Proceeds from iTunes sales will benefit the Centre for Child Honouring.

Photo courtesy of Centre for Child Honouring.

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