The Life of a Children's Troubadour: An Autobiography

Raffi, Author Homeland Publications $24.95 (320p) ISBN 978-1-896943-44-2
Multiplatinum Canadian recording artist Raffi, best known for songs like ""Baby Beluga"" and ""The Wheels on the Bus,"" has been a household name among families with young children since he released his first album, Singable Songs for the Very Young, in 1976. But little is known about Raffi the man, or his evolution into a children's music superstar. Prompted by the death of both his parents within hours of each other in 1995, Raffi Cavoukian has broken his silence, writing with bitterness and affection about his strictly disciplined childhood in Cairo, Egypt, and later, in Toronto, and his slow rise to the top. Most interesting here is Raffi's professional resume, which proves to be a sort of primer for independent musicians. As a floundering folk singer/songwriter, he formed his own record label (Troubadour) before embracing his calling as a children's performer, often considered a less prestigious career choice. He also details (often tediously) his sessions with a roster of top-notch musicians and producers, including Daniel Lanois, who has since found fame in the rock/pop arena. As his star rose, Raffi's marriage disintegrated, though, as he tells it, he eventually found peace and enrichment in children's and environmental causes. In the end, this overwritten, disjointed biography suffers from a single, fundamental flaw: aimed over the heads of his true audience--the kids--it's also packed with too much obsessive detail about Raffi's life and worldview to hold the interest of all but the most steadfast adult devotee. (Dec.) FYI: This memoir is the first book to be published by the artist's own record label.
Reviewed on: 11/02/1998
Release date: 11/01/1998
Genre: Nonfiction
Paperback - 320 pages - 978-1-896943-50-3
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