Nancy Raven makes joyful music for kids of all ages

December 26, 2004
By Susan Cantrell (Quotable Notables)
Monterey County Herald, Section E, page 2

After pulling up to Nancy Raven’s home near Del Monte Beach, I knew it was going to be a fun interview. Aside from the fact that she’s a children’s folk musician, her colorful house sits next to a small park with a tubular slide and several children were zooming down it. An old van painted with beach scenes and gulls sat in the driveway.

Raven ushered me into the newly built home that looked comfortably worn. Seashells, books and paintings galore stuffed every nook and cranny. Most prominent were her musical instruments — guitars, maracas, castanets, sticks, drums, tambourines, gourds. All the ingredients for her traveling show.

“You have to see the upstairs,” said the 75-year-old who was going on seven. Then Mrs. Bojangles, wearing jeans, jean jacket, and long abalone earrings showed me to the attic where twin beds sat under the eaves. They melted into the scene of flowers and rainbows painted on the walls and clouds on the blue ceiling. “My grandchildren love it here,” she said, grinning.

Everything about her lifestyle screamed “Playtime!”

I asked her to play something for me. She grabbed her big beloved guitar and pointed out hundreds of stickers that children have glued to it. Then she launched into Woodie Guthrie's, “I’m gonna mail myself to you,” and I sang along. Her enthusiasm was infectious.

I could see why; schools, libraries, and residential homes call her back for ovations; her Access Monterey Peninsula TV series, “Lizard Soup,” has won a truckload of awards, including Western Regional States award for best children’s program on public access TV; she has appeared on KQED and served as an artist in residence through the California Arts Council.


Copyright The Monterey County Herald (CA)