Birthday Boy! Raffi–Born July 8, 1948!

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We’re more into Laurie Berkner ourselves, but there’s no denying the classic kiddie-rock of Raffi! He was born as Raffi Cavoukian in Cairo, Egypt, back in 1948, and he’s turning 65 years old today as a pioneer in children’s music. He immigrated to Canada as a young man, and spent several years there trying to become a mainstream songwriter. Instead, Raffi ended up set for stardom as a real rock star to the Romper Room crowd.

He mostly spent the ’70s as a big deal in Canada, but some smart marketing (including television commercials) soon made Raffi an international sensation. By the time of 1982’s Rise and Shine, Raffi had his albums being distributed by major recording labels. Raffi began to draw a crowd that featured lots of showbiz kids, and he broke through to the Disney Channel with 1989’s Raffi In Concert with the Rise & Shine Band. Raffi would end up selling over 15 million albums of his music in just Canada and the United States. He could’ve been even bigger, but Raffi refused plenty of other opportunities to market himself to children. For example, he didn’t like the idea of contributing to kids spending too much time watching television.

Of course, your children aren’t going to remember any of that. Raffi is still there for them, though. He still performs to audiences whose parents were probably the original Raffi audience. He’s also an environmentalist and advocate of children everywhere. His whale song “Baby Beluga” probably turned plenty of young kids into environmentalists, too. You can catch up with Raffi here, but let’s catch up with his music right now…