Barney need not apply


6-year-old Sander Lagaay dances to the music of the Afternaps band during a weekly kids music event held by the group at the Blackwater Cafe in Stockton. (Camera: Nikon D300. Lens: Nikkor 17-55mm @ 17mm. Exposure: 1/50th sec. @ f/2.8. ISO: 200)


The Blackwater Cafe in Stockton is known for hosting eclectic styles of entertainment and is the hip place to be for teens and young adults who are into folk and indie music. For about an hour every Wednesday afternoon, the music takes an even younger turn.


Greg Severi, left, Erin Skelton and Chris Pocoroba perform as the Afternaps band during a weekly kids music event held by the group at the Blackwater Cafe in Stockton. (Camera: Nikon D300. Lens: Nikkor 17-55mm @ 17mm. Exposure: 1/60th sec. @ f/2.8. ISO: 400)

The musical group called the Afternaps performs a weekly mini concert for toddlers and their parents in a acoustic folk style. Their music was enjoyed by all, including me. What I liked about it was that the music wasn’t dumbed down for the kids. No simple-minded songs of Barney or the saccharine upbeat tunes of the Wiggles.


Erin Skelton, lead singer with the Afternaps band leads children in the hokey pokey during a weekly kids music event held by the group at the Blackwater Cafe in Stockton. (Camera: Nikon D300. Lens: Nikkor 17-55mm @ 17mm. Exposure: 1/60th sec. @ f/2.8. ISO: 200)

The Afternaps played some traditional kids tunes like the Hokey Pokey, Happy and you know it and Raffi’s Baby Beluga. But also they performed You are my sunshine, I wish I was a Wuzza (a crowd favorite) and even a version of Bob Dylan’s Wagon Wheel. An original song by band members Greg Severi and Erin Skelton, Freeze Dance, had everyone on their feet and dancing.


3-year-old Alma Wariso sings along with the Afternaps band during a weekly kids music event held by the group at the Blackwater Cafe in Stockton. (Camera: Nikon D300. Lens: Nikkor 80-200mm @ 80mm. Exposure: 1/60th sec. @ f/2.8. ISO: 400)

It was just good music performed well. The tunes were upbeat and fun for the children but enjoyable for the adults as well. Kids and parents clapped, danced and sang along with the band. The band just asked for a $2 donation per person. Pretty reasonable, I thought, for an hour of fun and a broadening of musical tastes beyond fuzzy purple dinosaurs.

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