Kerplunks are a big hit with the kid crowd
Bobs and Lolo. Charlotte Diamond. Raffi. Norman Foote. Will Stroet.
This province has got plenty of children's entertainers but what sets The Kerplunks apart? "We are one of the only kids' bands in North America," said Dinah D (vocals, upright bass, kazoo). "We provide a show with a four-piece band that is not only interactive but where kids can watch real musicians play instruments. There's no backing tracks."
Because of their strong musical background, the three-time Juno award nominees are in high demand. And that means being on the road — and away from their families — often, especially when the weather warms up. This spring, Dinah D, Tina Jones (vocals, horns), Phil Wipper (drums) and Aaron Cadwaladr (guitar, vocals) will play children's festivals in Alberta. And during the summer, their gigs include as far afield as Folk On The Rocks in Yellowknife and the Canada Day party on Parliament Hill in Ottawa.
Dinah D said The Kerplunks have got more than 50 original tunes at their fingertips — many of which were composed over the past decade, starting from when she and Tina worked at a preschool on Gabriola Island, near Nanaimo.
The school, she said, "ended up being an accidental platform for trying out these songs. I've always written really goofy songs and Tina flushes them out with arrangements and lyrics. We started workshopping them in front of the kids and they were just going crazy. They were singing them in the grocery store so we got 'forced' to make an album, half funded by the community.
"The Kerplunks kind of just exploded from there," she said.
Besides their unique sound, Dinah said the band also tries to make each show unique. In Prince Rupert, their performance will have references to the environment and First Nations culture, Dinah said. However, in Toronto, "we avoid songs like that because people it seems don't even know what a salmon is so we play songs about riding bikes and the rain."
They also encourage their K-7 audience to dance and sing along. "As long as everyone is moving and enjoying themselves, we are happy," Dinah said.
• The Kerplunks play three shows at Coquitlam's Evergreen Cultural Centre (1205 Pinetree Way) next week: March 26 and 27 at 11 a.m., and March 27 at 7 p.m. Tickets are $18/$14 by calling the box office at 604-927-6566 or visiting www.evergreenculturalcentre.ca.