Flor Bromley Keeps the ‘Fiesta’ Going in 2021 with New Music and an Earthy Vibe

by Marisa Torrieri Bloom

Children’s music artist Flor Bromley loves blending so many genres of music that it’s hard to describe her sound. It’s jazzy, with a touch of island calypso, a dash of pop, and a folksy vibe. 

But we can all agree it’s pure, universal sonic happiness, even when the rest of the world is crumbling. Flashback to just one year ago, when, in the midst of the early months of the coronavirus pandemic, the Peruvian-born artist released her album Fiesta Global, and the catchy single ‘Fiesta de los Globos.’ It brought much-needed mirth to the long, drawn-out homeschooling days.

Flor Bromley (Photo by Carmen Stevens)

[RELATED: Bilingual Music Mama Flor Bromley Brings Virtual ‘Fiesta’ into Your Home]

“Musically, I want to share the Latino-American experience through my songs with a new generation,” Flor tells Rockmommy

So what’s next for 2021? We recently caught up with Flor to find out. 

Rockmommy: What were the biggest challenges you encountered in the last 12 months?

Flor Bromley: Finding a time to create and allow the process to “just be” has been challenging. I also teach music classes and do live concert shows virtually, and even though the tech aspect has been manageable, Internet connections are not the most reliable. I’ve had a couple of ‘live online’ shows that have been interrupted, and I had to scramble my things and go to my neighbors or do the streaming from my car. I will never forget what 2020 has made me do lol. 

Flor Bromley (photo by Sightseer Studio)

Rockmommy: How did 2020 influence your music and creative process? 

Flor Bromley: I dared to release an album in 2020. I’m really proud of what we were able to do with Fiesta Global, even in a pandemic year, thanks to Waldmania PR. The album was given great publicity and is on several “Best of 2020” lists by kindie bloggers/publications, and my virtual show “Fiesta with Flor” was mentioned on the grammy.com list of music shows to watch during quarantine. 

Rockmommy: Any recent or upcoming projects you’d like to share? 

Flor Bromley: I’m releasing my third family album in late Summer 2021. This one is a dual language album (English/Spanish) and will be called “Pachamama” which means Mother Earth in Quechua, the language of my ancestors. This album has a lot of Peruvian influences, in sound and themes. It’s a Peruvian music mash-up, where I bring elements from my culture and mix them up with Hip-Hop, Pop, Bachata, Country, Tango, and more. The theme of the album has to do with valuing nature and taking care of our planet. If there is anything this past year has shown us is that we have no planet B and we need to appreciate all of the little (and big things) Mother Nature gives us everyday.

Rockmommy: What advice do you have on balancing parenthood with creative life? 

Flor Bromley: Every day find a time for yourself to do something you really like by yourself. It could be listening to song in your car and singing while you go grocery shopping, eating a piece of chocolate by yourself without having to share with the littles, running, reading, watching a TV show.

Marisa Torrieri Bloom is the editor and founder of Rockmommy

Elena Moon Park’s ‘Reimagined’ Folk, Inspired by East and Southeast Asian Classics, Offers the Springtime Songs We All Need

by Marisa Torrieri Bloom

Elena Moon Park describes her music as reimagined folk and children’s music from around the globe — with an emphasis on East and Southeast Asia — but I’d also call it joyful, whimsical, and inspiring. 

After watching the video for “Flower Dance,” directed and animated by Andrew Benincasa, I felt the urge to step outside and twirl in the sunlight. I literally said to myself, “I can’t wait until my kids get home from school so I can show them this!” 

Elena Moon Park (Photo by Alexia Webster)

And as I navigated Park’s impressive video library, it became clear that this Spring-friendly song is just one of many jubilant tunes and impressive accomplishments. 

A freelance violist who calls Brooklyn, N.Y., home, Park has performed at Carnegie Hall, Lincoln Center, and in other countries — including the Southbank Centre and the Melbourne International Arts Festival. When she’s not creating music, she’s the co-Artistic Director of the Brooklyn-based arts organization Found Sound Nation, which uses collaborative music creation to connect people across cultural divides.

“I love to learn and sing songs in different languages, and to incorporate a lot of different kinds of instruments and musical traditions into the song choices,” Park tells Rockmommy. All of the music I create is driven first and foremost by my love of collaboration, with musicians, visual artists, friends and family who I admire.”

We caught up with Elena recently to talk about life, artistic expression, and making “unhurried” music during uncertain times.

Rockmommy: What were some of the biggest challenges of creating music over the last year? 

Elena Moon Park: Like many moments in life, I think the biggest challenges in the last 12 months also revealed some big opportunities for me. Of course, we’ve communally faced a tremendous challenge, perhaps the greatest global challenge of our lifetimes; but hopefully in that process, we were given some opportunity to be able to reflect and focus on the things that are most important to us, whatever those things may be. 

Facing big challenges can remind us what we value most in our lives. And in particular, this challenge to stay in one place and to slow down, as many of us experienced this year, gave me an opportunity to reflect. I feel incredibly fortunate that I was able to safely work from home and have this opportunity of time — as I know not everyone did — and I am also incredibly grateful for those who have had to move into higher gear to keep us all safe or to keep themselves or their families afloat. I have spent a lot of time in this past year connecting or reconnecting with family and friends, and connecting with the natural world around me, and that has kept me grounded. 

Elena Moon Park

Rockmommy: How did the past 12 months influence your music and creative process? 

Elena Moon Park: For several months starting in March 2020, I took slow walks around my neighborhood in Brooklyn, closely watching the trees and flowers bloom in the springtime, blossom and wilt in the summer, and change into vibrant colors in the fall. I don’t think I’ve ever paid such close attention to these things in this busy, fast-paced NYC world, and, as I mentioned above, it left me feeling very grounded and meditative. During that same time, I was gearing up to release a new family music album, aptly titled “Unhurried Journey” — dedicated to taking a deep breath and slowing down. The album ended up coming out alongside another major shift in energy, just as the resurgence of protests for racial justice hit the streets across the nation, so the Unhurried Journey message was not quite fitting for that moment — although I do believe that the communal slowing down played a key role in bringing much-needed nationwide attention to the movement and to the message.

But in the months leading up to its release, I ended up making 15 lyric videos for each of the 15 songs, inspired by the beautiful artwork of my collaborator Kristiana Parn and by these meditative walks I was taking every day around my neighborhood. The videos still make me think back to that time, and I am so thankful for those moments.

Rockmommy: What are you most hopeful for in 2021? 

Elena Moon Park: I hope that we (or I) can keep remembering to reflect on what is important, to be present in the moment, especially in our time spent with loved ones, and to appreciate and respect the natural world around us. I hope we will also find ways to support one another as we continue this communal struggle, and to support positive change, guided by radical compassion, listening and love for the people and things around us.  

Rockmommy: Any recent or upcoming projects you’d like to share? 

Elena Moon Park: It’s similarly challenging to plan for any projects these days, but I am having a lovely time daydreaming of what it could be like to turn my Unhurried Journey album into a storybook of some kind. I also look forward to creating more music or music videos with artistic collaborators, if and when the time is right.

Marisa Torrieri Bloom is the editor and founder of Rockmommy. 

Sara Lovell Explores Imagination — and Rediscovering Creativity — Through ‘Night Life’

by Marisa Torrieri Bloom

Musicians tend to be nocturnal creatures, so it’s no surprise many of their children are fascinated by the hours associated with stars and sleep.

But for singer-songwriter Sara Lovell, and so many moms everywhere, night time is also associated with quite a few sleeping challenges. 

Her third family album Night Life explores some of these themes, from sleeping habits (“Night Life Listen”) to wanting to stay up all night (“I Don’t Want to Go to Bed”). Immersed in delicate strings, arpeggiated guitar riffs and folksy vocals, “Night Life” offers perfect end-of-day jams for the kiddos. You’ll also hear a handful of uptempo tunes — from fun, synth-infused tracks like “Nightlife,” to the percussive, playful “Leave the Monkey” — but the vibe is still pretty mellow (which is exactly what you need when you and/or your little ones are trying to get some shut-eye).

Night Life album
Sara Lovell’s “Night Life” is perfect for families and bedtimes.

We recently caught up with Sara, mom to 10-year-old son Gabe, to chat about the creative process around her latest record and making the best of life during the pandemic. 

Rockmommy: Hi Sara! I love the new record. How did you come up with the idea to create a record around bedtime? 

Sara Lovell: Hi Marisa! Thanks so much for listening and so glad you love the album! I was making music for grown-ups in the singer/songwriter genre before starting my family. Then when I adopted my son Gabe, I just started making up songs that came directly from my everyday life with him. Night Life is the third album I’ve created for children and families, and the themes of bedtime came out of a new stage for my son that started about a year or so ago with challenges he was having at bedtime. He started having nightmares, and other kids began telling scary stories to each other, and there was a lot of waking up and a lot of resistance. He’s 10 now and is doing much better with going to sleep, though there have been a few more times with wake ups and I’ve heard from other parents that their kids are also having some sleep challenges with the extra stress from our current situation.

Rockmommy: Why are kids so reluctant to go to sleep? 

Sara Lovell: I’m sure different kids have different reasons for their resistance to going to sleep, but I think the primary reason is not wanting to be separated from the grown-ups they love. Also not wanting to stop doing fun things, not wanting to miss out. Add to that fear of the dark, nightmares or other worries, and I think that about covers it.

Rockmommy: I hear so many different sounds, from 80s synth pop to modern-day folk rock. Who are your musical inspirations? 

Sara Lovell: I’d say that the music I was exposed to when I was growing up and coming-of-age just became a part of me. My parents played a wide variety of music – classical, bossa nova, Dixieland jazz, Ella Fitzgerald singing Cole Porter, Harry Belafonte, some early folk… and my older brother and sister listened to The Beatles and Motown. When I started singing along with playing piano, I learned to play Elton John and Stevie Wonder songs. You mention 80s synth pop – Peter Gabriel and Kate Bush are still favorites of mine. I love so many different kinds of music, which makes the children’s music genre such a great playground because I get to create in the style that’s right for each song. It’s so fun and satisfying to come up with all these varied grooves and arrangements and to sing in that wide range too.

Rockmommy: How can parents rediscover their own powers of creativity by encouraging creativity in their children?  

Sara Lovell: I think this would be an interesting question to ask parents who wouldn’t initially think of themselves as creative. I’ve always wanted to create — art, music, building things. I developed new avenues of creativity when I started making music for kids and families, even began writing separate kids stories in rhyming couplet. I think when parents put out art supplies or instruments for their smaller kids to play with they end up playing with those supplies too, and maybe that helps them to remember when they were younger and felt more free to play, and experiment, and make beautiful messes.

Another amazing adventure in being creative with my son has been making music videos with him! We have eleven videos to date, seven with Gabe starring. It’s been a whole new art form to explore and I’ve had a blast collaborating on concept, design, set-building, editing and producing these individual little movies. I’m so grateful for my incredible creative partners as well. Monica Pasqual is producer and co-writer, BZ Lewis – guitarist/engineer, Josh McClain – cellist and filmmaker (we’ve done eight videos together). I also want to thank Anna Silivonchik whose magical artwork graces the album covers, and her paintings were beautifully animated by Maxim Korol for one video. And Jessica Poon and Sylwia Szkiladz created stunning animation for two other music videos.

Sara playing piano - photo by Andrea Scher
Sara Lovell plays the piano. 

Rockmommy: How are you managing as a mom and a children’s artist in this challenging time?

Sara Lovell: Well let’s just say that it took a lot of resources for me to be consistently writing and producing music, while raising my child as a solo parent before this global pandemic. Now it feels like it requires 10 times more resources when there seem to be 10 times less available. I’ve been letting go of expectations — of distance learning, of screen time, of wanting things to seem more normal when they’re anything but. I’m finding and doing the things that can bring any measure of happiness and connectionto keep emotions as healthy as possible. My child is very relational and physical and having to be so far away from other people he loves is super hard on him so we’ve both been having to learn how to cope. For me, I want to do more creating than managing, to make new music and art, to find beauty wherever I can. Lately that has me spending a lot of time cleaning and clearing up all my spaces, or taking late afternoon camera walks. For Gabe it might be riding his scooter, drawing, baking something, making silly videos, or watching a show or cartoon that makes him laugh. We’re having to find our rhythm of just the right connection time and just the right independent time. I’m also very aware that my challenges are not the same as so many out there and so I am wishing support and more ease for all children and families.

Marisa Torrieri Bloom is the editor and founder of Rockmommy. 

5 Heavy Metal Artists I Wish would Make a Children’s Record

by Marisa Torrieri Bloom

In 2016, I interviewed a ton of rock mamas who made children’s music — from big name rockers like Amy Lee of Evanescence and Priscilla Ahn to kid-music-genre mainstays like Laurie Berkner.

But I couldn’t help but wonder, as my kids and I jammed out to each of these ladies’ records, what would an Axl Rose children’s album sound like? Or one by Ozzy Osborne?

And so I arrive at this list: The five heavy metal artists whom I wish would make a children’s record:

1. Alice Cooper. The shock rocker and “Trash” talker in eyeliner (and dad) would definitely have my attention if he wrote an alternate version of “Poison” with lyrics that touched on the dangers of drinking tonics in the medicine cabinet (or breaking into Dad’s pillbox and downing his cholesterol medication).

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Rockmommy Lita Ford

2. Slash. The lead guitar virtuoso with the killer black hair would bring legions of toddlers to the Hair Metal Nation station if he recorded an electric-guitar version of “Itsy Bitsy Spider” and planted a face-melting spider-solo (whereupon his fingers crawled down the neck of the guitar) at the end of the song. No doubt his sons would be jamming out to this tune, too.

3. Lita Ford. The mother of metal (and two grown boys) shreds with the best of them, and sings with the best of them, too. Who wouldn’t love to hear “Kiss me Deadly” reimagined with PG-rated lyrics that 4-year-olds could enjoy? Let’s see … “I went to the play date last Saturday Night … didn’t get to play, got in a fight. Oh no! It ain’t no big thing!” 

4. Glenn Danzig. Deep down, Mr. D. is definitely a mama’s boy (I mean, c’mon, he has a song called “Mother,” right?). I’d love him to turn that “Mother” song into a kid-friendly version so 5th graders everywhere could sing, “mama? Do you wanna bang heads with me?” Or maybe he could try rewriting the lyrics to Lucifuge’s “Long way Back from Hell” so kids would hear his big voice atop a cool, dive-bomb guitar tune?

5. Sepultura. We need more gravelly death metal vocals in children’s music, because they pay homage to Cookie Monster. And they help children who aren’t aspiring to be Adele have more realistic goals (e.g., to sound like Cookie Monster). Brazilian heavy metal band Sepultura, who wrote one of my favorite records (Chaos A.D.) and has another tour coming up (how they’ve managed to survive with all those lineup changes is beyond me) is well positioned for this kind of project.

Did I miss any good ones? I’d love to hear any other ideas for a heavy metal children’s album, so please post in the comments and thoughts below.

— Marisa Torrieri Bloom is the editor and founder of Rockmommy.

Rockmommy Priscilla Ahn on Life and Making ‘La La La’ — a Collection of Hip Folk-Pop Tunes for Children (and Grown-ups Too!)

There are so many great children’s records out today that it’s hard to cut through the noise, even for an established songstress.

priscilla-ahn-with-guitar

Priscilla Ahn, whose latest album ‘La La La’ has little listeners in mind

True to her signature style, pop-rock singer-guitarist Priscilla Ahn, an artist known for her low-key melodies, opted for the quieter route. Her first children’s record ‘La La La’ is a refreshing and pretty 12-song collection, curated to the ears of her youngest music fans — a group that now includes her 1-year-old son!

Listening to Priscilla — whether her latest record or other songs —  evokes so many emotions. Her lovely, etherial, and powerfully subtle vocals take me back to my childhood days of running through fields of flowers, while simultaneously conjuring memories of so many old favorites of the 1990s Lilith Fair era.

We recently connected with Priscilla, whose record dropped on October 28, to learn more about the creative process and inspirations that fueled her writing — and how she channeled her own childhood experiences into her latest release.

Rockmommy: Have you always wanted to make a children’s album? Had you connected to past children’s albums, or is there a particular children’s album that inspired you?

Priscilla Ahn: When I made my first EP, with my song “Dream” on it, a lot of my friends who had kids told me that their children loved listening to it, and to that song in particular. It surprised me, because the song is a little sad, and definitely wasn’t intended for kids. And it made me think that maybe one day I could write songs for kids that had some more complex emotions in them. I love Harry Nilsson’s “The Point” album! It’s another album that’s kind of intended for kids, I think? But the songs are sonically mature so adults love it too.

Rockmommy: Lyrics for some of your ‘adult’ songs are sometimes complex, sophisticated and unexpected. Did you find you has to work to “pare it down” — or simplify your message — for a younger audience?

Priscilla Ahn: No, not really! I realized that kids can connect to so many more deeper emotions than just “happy” and “sad.” And a lot of my songs that I’ve written come from a vulnerable, at times “child like” part of myself. So in a way, this children’s album isn’t too far off from any of my “normal” albums.

lalalacoverRockmommy: Are there any tracks that are inspired by specific experiences?

Priscilla Ahn: Well, all of these songs were written before my son was born. “Forever & Forever” is one I wrote when I was 4 months pregnant. I was thinking of him and of all the fun things we would do together, and then looking further into the future of when I would have to one day let him go and grow up in ways without me. “Dust Bunny” is a song for kids who might be afraid there’s a monster under their bed, or in their closet. When I was little I was always afraid of something under my bed! This song is basically reassuring the listener that there are no monsters under there, just dust bunnies who want to play.

Rockmommy: Some moms who play music like you look for ways to share that with their little ones. Do you play a lot of music for your son, sing to him, or try to get him involved with music in any way?

Priscilla Ahn: I’m really going to try my best to not pressure him into anything. But I did buy him a bunch of cute shakers and bells that he picks up whenever a song comes on the speakers that he likes. And he has a ukelele with his name on it, ready and waiting. I sing to him constantly, and sometimes we sit at the piano together. I kind of try to see what music gets him going. It’s really interesting to see which specific songs he loves. His whole face will light up when they come on.  Right now “Baa Baa Black Sheep” by Caspar Babypants, and “If You Wanna Sing Out, Sing Out” by Cat Stevens are his favorites!

Rockmommy: How has parenting affected your craft? Is the music you make different, or have you had to alter your creative process in any way?

Priscilla Ahn: I have yet to really get back into songwriting yet. But I’m curious to see what I’ll create next, and what experiences I’ll pull from when I write.

Rockmommy: Do you have plans to tour in support of this album?

Priscilla Ahn: I’ve performed in Tokyo, Osaka, San Francisco, and Los Angeles this year to promote this album. It requires so much more energy and focus now to prepare for a show because I have to take into consideration traveling with a baby, and people to help me look after him while I’m working. Traveling with a baby is challenging, but manageable. But throwing work into the mix just makes it exhausting! And I don’t think I could bear being away from him to tour. So I think I’ll stay local now for a little while.

Marisa Torrieri Bloom is the founder and editor of Rockmommy.