When Joshua Sitron first thought of the idea for FunkeyMonkeys he was writing the music for Nickelodeon's Dora the Explorer. Frustrated with the corporate constraints and agendas of big-time kids TV, he soon left to dedicate himself full-time to the monkeys.
The debut album, FunkeyMonkeys, was recorded in the Spring of 2001, and featured the vocal stylings of some of Broadway and TV's best child stars. It's Boots the monkey (a.k.a Harrison Chad) of Dora the Explorer who intones the album's opening call: "All right FunkeyMonkeys! Are you ready".
Released in the fall of 2001, "FunkeyMonkeys!" was received with wild enthusiasism by 3-year olds and 50-year olds alike. Soon after, Josh began getting requests to hire the 'monkeys' to play live. He had to explain that the 'monkeys' were a studio creation and there was actually no 'band' per se, as he played all the instruments on the record, and the 7 kids and one adult vocalist were recorded at separate times, in separate studios. Tired of having no real-life monkeys to play with onstage, Josh decided to find some.
While working on a "Jewish FunkeyMonkeys" album demo, Josh met Carey White, a teacher of music and violin at the Ramaz school on Manhattan's Upper East Side. Her zany humor and vocal/violin virtuosity gave her instant FunkeyMonkey membership.
Josh's experiences performing improv theatre led him to meet Mike Gold (a.k.a ballooniac), a hysterically funny, multi-talented, musical making, balloon twisting maniac, who actually looks like a monkey. And, yes, smells like one, too.
Finally, while taking drum lessons in his home town of Williamsburg, Brooklyn, Josh enlisted his drum teacher, 'boom boom' Brian Carter to round out the group and play skins. It turned out Brian had a killer voice, ability to play guitar and keyboards as well, and previously had made his living as a public school music teacher.
The FunkeyMonkeys band made their live stage debut on Sep. 7th, 2003 at Makor on the Upper West side of Manhattan. Described as a "Blues Clues meets Curb Your Enthusiasm" the show incorporated funny sketches and improvised bits, along with their unique brand of truly funky kid's music. Involving elements like the Muppet Show's breaking of the 4th wall, Saturday Night Live's combination of comedy and music, and Moulin Rouge's freedom to mix and match original and cover music in medleys and mish mash, the show was such a hit, they were instantly asked to perform on an ongoing basis.
6 months later, SING DANCE & UNDERPANTS arrives to express this new energy with original, heartfelt, quirky, eclectic and always fun music.
"SING DANCE & UNDERPANTS" SONG BY SONG
1- THE FRIEND SONG Josh wrote (and sang) this song with his dear friend and colleague, Kimberly Foster (producer of FunkeyMonkeys LIVE). It was originally written for a their children's musical "Happy Flower and the Weeping Willow" but it expresses the wonderful, unconditional-ness of their friendship, and all true friendships.
2-YOU ARE CUTE While playing with her twin infant niece and nephew (affectionately known as 'the chickens'), Olga Toporovsky began singing: "You....are cute! You.....are cute!". Witnessing this, Josh got her to say it again in front of a microphone and added the dance romp behind it. And it also includes the lyrics "mushy", "tushy", "tiny" and "hiny". hee hee.
3-I'D LIKE A BANANA Inspired by the scene in "Willy Wonka and the Chocolate Factory" when Gene Wilder says, "Lick a pineapple. It tastes like a pineapple! Like a snozzberry. It tastes like a snozzberry!". This song expresses one monkey's genuine desire to have a banana.
4-ONLY ONE OF YOU Inspired by the extremely open-hearted and angelic Fred (Mr.) Rogers, this song expresses the reality that we are all, absolutely unique, and special individuals who could never be replaced, and that we deserve unconditional love. Parents might want to sing this to their children every day until they are 5 years old.
5-COPY CAT copy cat DON'T DO THAT don't do that STOP IT stop it YOU GET THE IDEA you get the idea
6-LOS POLLITOS DICEN From "FunkeyMonkeys en espaÃ±ol", Los Pollitos Dicen was recorded in Mexico City and performed by the fabulous Dominguez sisters, ages 8, 10, 12, and 14. Translated as "The Little Chicks Say", it is one of the most widely known children's songs in the Spanish-speaking world.
7-HERE COMES THE MONKEY KING An instrumental track consisting of 4 Jew's harps, 3 recorders, and an empty 5-gallon Poland Spring water bottle which was used as a drum; all recorded by the super-talented Stuart Bogie, composer, saxophonist, and clarinetist extraordinaire and member of the wickedly funky: Antibalas, an afro-beat orchestra.
8-SING DANCE & UNDERPANTS Title track of the album. To be truly free, you must sing and dance, and either say the word or be wearing 'underpants'. We also do the old style switch in this number; from salsa to jazz to classical to country.
9-THE WHEELS ON THE BUS The new "Take the A Train, our "Wheels on the Bus" is a 40's style-swing, Andrews Sisters send-off. Take out your Metrocard and sing in 4-part harmony!
10-BREATHE It's all about breathing people, and we were never taught how. Listen to the song, and when you need to, you will remember to breathe. Imagine yourself on a bed, flying through the clouds on a moonlit night during this song.
11-HEY MR. TUNA Sung in a completely improvised nonsensical gibberish language, we named this song "Hey Mr. Tuna" because the 1st words kind of sound like, 'hey Mr. Tuna'. Ah, sweet fun for no purpose.
12-GOTTA BE ME Written by Jed Becker with his daughter Lucy, and performed by Lucy with her dad, Jed, "Gotta be Me' explains to parents that us children need to assert our individuality. I'm not trying to make you mad, Lucy sings, "It's just my way of saying that I gotta be me".
13-BASHANA A lot of people think the world is going down the toilet. I know it's just growing pains. And listen to the children "You will see, You will see, just how good it will be, Bashana (next year), Bashana (next year), Bashana (next year)". Optimism is always a win-win situation.
14-SPRING Funny words to the first theme from Vivaldi's Four seasons. "It's Springtime, C'mon Get Happy. My dog's ears are very flappy; he's happy. 'Cause springtime is here, today."
15-DON'T POOPY IN YOUR PANTS Inspired by the popular children's book "Everybody poops" and the fact that it's always fun to say the word 'poopy', this song tells the true story of the King of France, who as a young boy, often wet his pants. But now he knows where to go. Toilet bowl. :)
16-BEAR CUB A young boy has lost his bear cub, and just wants to find him so he can hug, and hug, and hug, and love...his bear cub. Who wouldn't want a real live bear cub?
17-BE SLEEPY This song is about...the...........zzzzzzzzzzzzzzzz
Check out the artist's website:
1. The Friend Song
2. You are Cute
3. I'd Like A Banana
4. Only One of You
5. Copy Cat
6. Los Pollitos Dicen
7. Here Comes the Monkey King
8. Sing Dance and Underpants
9. Wheels on the Bus
11. Hey Mr. Tuna
12. Gotta Be Me
15. Don't Poopy in Your Pants
16. Bear Cub
17. Be Sleepy