Babies Adventures in Music: a “magical musical event”

Jessica Harris is enchanted by a family attraction at the Midland Arts Centre.

If you are in need something to help soothe away the stress of being a new, or fairly new, parent then this magical musical event is for you. For 45 minutes, in Babies Adventures in Music, Sam Frankie Fox and Ricardo Santos Rocha invited carers and their babies to become absorbed in gentle vocal and instrumental music from across the world.

Sam, who fronts the show, has a lovely clear voice and a good rapport with her audience. Her harp playing is delightful and her ability to imitate the sounds of birds, from parrots to cuckoos is remarkable. Ricardo is hugely versatile in his instrumental abilities, moving easily from acoustic guitar to xylophone, from accordion to mandolin, and from whistles to percussion.

The music draws on a range of styles from folk songs to lullabies and its themes, which include water, animals and the wonders of nature, are child-focussed.

Younger babies were mesmerised by an umbrella of shimmering colours which Sam walked around with as she sang I can sing a Rainbow in Welsh, whilst toddlers joined in with her movements to a song about the transformation of a caterpillar into a butterfly. One of the highlights was Sam’s rendition of Glan y Mor (or Seaside), as she produced the sound of the sea on a tambourine filled with dried beans.

With the audience sitting on mats and bean bags, Babies Adventures in Music creates a social space that encourages parents to interact with their babies in new ways and where older children often interact with each other. And the rule of the day for this event is that there is no rule of the day. Parents were invited to come and go as they might need to with little ones. In actuality few, if any, did – a sure sign that their children were comfortable in this environment.

Sam and Ricardo worked the whole room in MAC’s Foyle Studio, moving around the audience to show children their instrument-playing up close. Those children who were able to experience this were clearly engaged. It was just a shame that, in a crowded space, not all had this close-up opportunity.

As well as the show itself, Sam Frankie Fox and Ricardo Santos Rocha have produced a free podcast series of stories, nature sounds and music. Found at here it is designed to soothe little ones at night.

Babies Adventures in Music is being performed at MAC until 5th July. If you’re a parent or carer of small children looking for an alternative to The Wheels on the Bus, then this is for you. For further information visit