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Leeny Tunes are no ordinary kid’s band. Formed by Illene Altman (who goes by the stage name Leeny), their debut album Be Nice has won several prestigious awards since its 2008 release. Over the past four years, Leeny Tunes have not only released a handful of tunes, but they’ve also played live at WERS three times since 2010. Their motto is “kids music that is funducational” and, while their music is both fun and educational, what that motto doesn’t mention is how impressive they actually sound. Will a backing band consisting of Will Dickson on the drums, George Champlin-Scharff on guitar and Dan Condon on the bass, Leeny Tunes were well-rehearsed and extremely talented. Dickson, in particular, kept the songs groovy and funky with his tight rhythms.
On backing vocals were Eli and Zehava Younger and Liam Dickson, three young children who were eager to proclaim their love of WERS. Both Eli and Zehava mention that they’ve been listening to WERS since they were three years old, with Standing Room Only and Playground being two favorites shared amongst the trio.
Kicking things off with a band, the band jumped right into “The Weather Dance” in honor of Hurricane Sandy. The catchy tune was built on the basis of 70s soul and funk with Champlin-Scharff’s wah guitar and Condon’s jumping bass line giving the song a real lively feeling. All it needed was a Stax Records horn section to really give the tune that authentic soul feel.
Up next was another weather related song, “What Will The Weather Be”. Imploring listeners to “ask the animals, dont ask me” over a xylophone and tropical sounding beat, “What Will The Weather Be” continued the trend of fun, dancing numbers before slowing down to a ballad during the middle-8. Never has a song about animals and the weather sounded so poignant during that brief moment before the song sped up to dance speed for its close.
Leeny Tunes decided to end on a fan-favorite, “Ladybug, Ladybug, Ladybug”. With it’s sharp, 60s-styled pop, its a no brainer as it why it is a fan favorite. All the while throughout these performances, the Younger siblings and Dickson added fun backing vocals and sound effects to all of the songs.
Illene Altman can write a great pop tune, no doubt about that. Taken out of the context of childrens music, Leeny Tunes’ songs stand own on their own merits. They’re catchy and fun, living up to their self-described “funducational” goal. For more information and music, visit Leenytunes.com and their Bandcamp page.