Award-Winning Singer-Songwriter Jenn Cleary Connects Heart-to-Heart with Kids & Families on “Happy Day”
Happy Day, the second family album from Boulder’s award-winning folk-rock singer-songwriter Jenn Cleary, offers an infectious array of tunes with positive messages of happiness and appreciation for the environment. Happy Day will be released on June 17, 2022.
For 14 years Jenn Cleary ran a non-profit that she founded, which promoted innovative, locally sustainable health and economic sufficiency programs in Nepal, India, and Tibet. Much of her work was with children in Nepal, and, initially, communication was limited. However, calling upon her performing talents, Jenn was able to employ the universal language of music. In this way, she connected heart-to-heart with the people she served, while also developing her own abilities as a storyteller in song and a creator of evocative musical portraits.
Each song on Happy Day can trace its lineage to this profoundly human experience. In a most natural way, the music on this album owes its existence to the efforts of this generous, large-hearted, and gifted musician to establish a connection more universal and more powerful than language.
The title track sets the album’s good-times mood, celebrating the joy of a beautiful day with its tight, insistent rhythm providing a vivid intensity. The sounds and rhythmic feel of train travel, enhanced by a shuffle beat rolling along under the soaring spirit of Mad Dog Friedman’s blues harmonica, all add up to the mystical image of a train in “Magical Music Train,” traveling to wherever one’s imagination takes it. “Plant a Garden,” a super-fun, energetic tune with a Louisiana zydeco sound, encourages curiosity, experimentation, and a connection to the earth. Candy is a universal delight, and the humorous “I Like Candy” spreads the happiness while encouraging self-care and balance. Too much is not such a good idea!
“Take a Walk in the Woods” reminds listeners to not abandon the nature-based ambience of their environment for the enticements of a video screen. “Turtle Time” and “Only One You” emphasize the importance of contemplation, while “Fly Seagull Fly” is a song of avian admiration and the life of the sea. “It’s Time to Go to Sleep” speaks of the power of the breath to ground oneself and relax into sleep.
The most remarkable song on the album, “I’m a Yak,” provided an opportunity for Jenn Cleary to collaborate with her adopted daughter, Dorje Dolma, who, until age ten, was raised by her nomadic yak-herder aunties, parents, and grandparents in the remote Himalayan mountains of Nepal. “I’m a Yak” can be heard as an educational song with yak facts, a journey back to a time and place of pre-modern nomadic life, a cautionary tale of climate change affecting wildlife, or simply a terrific world music song with an irresistible groove. The people of Nepal’s Dolpo region play traditional music handed down over hundreds of years and vocalize to call their yaks back from the pastures. Dorje Dolma based her songwriting on accurate information about yaks and her experiences living and working with them. She and Jenn Cleary not only wrote “I’m a Yak” together but also engaged Dorje’s family in Nepal in the process. Recordings they sent were woven into the fabric of this song, and Dorje herself can be heard doing her yak whistle and the herding calls that she used as a child to bring her yaks home: “coo, coo.” Dorje Dolma is the author of Yak Girl: Growing Up in the Remote Dolpo Region of Nepal, published in 2018 by Sentient Publications.
ABOUT JENN CLEARY
Jenn Cleary has over twenty years’ experience performing on international stages. Highlights include Sundance Film Festivals, Colorado Rockies games, opening for Shemekia Copeland at Etown, and several European tours. Jenn was honored as a Telluride Blues Festival acoustic competition finalist and a Colorado Blues Society finalist for best self-produced album. She has studied with Livingston Taylor, Dr. Ysaye Barneswell (Sweet Honey in the Rock), Peter Yarrow (Peter, Paul and Mary), David Wilcox, and many others. Noted for her range of song styles, Jenn performs bluesy acoustic solo shows as well as rockin’ shows with her full electric band.
Jenn’s songwriting for children is informed by a lifetime of assisting, educating, and raising them. In addition to founding a private school in Boulder, Colorado, she is the founder of All Together Now International, a non-profit that, for 14 years, provided housing, schooling, and medical care for Nepali children. She has also been a foster parent, a sponsor, and has raised her own three children.
Previous albums include All Together Now! (2021, NAPPA Award, Parent and Teacher Choice Award, Hot Diggity Award, International Songwriting Contest semi-finalist for the song “Our Wild Family”), Blues from the Heart (2018), Back to the Wheel (2010), and Breakin’ Loose (2006).
Happy Day will be available on Amazon. CDs will also be available at Jenn Cleary’s live shows, through her website: www.jenncleary.com, and at brick-and-mortar stores through Super D distribution.