Canadian children's entertainers Sharon, Lois & Bram release first new album in 21 years
Best of the Best Live album features 25 never-before-heard recordings from live performances
The revered Canadian children's group Sharon, Lois & Bram have released their first new album in more than 21 years, a series of live recordings from North American concerts played between 1989 and 1995.
That album, Sharon, Lois & Bram Best of the Best Live, released on Friday, and features 25 never-before-heard recordings — surprise finds that the group only recently discovered existed.
Sharon, Lois & Bram has been a cherished staple in children's music since their formation in 1978, when the three members borrowed $20,000 from friends and family to make what was intended to be a single album.
The result was a cultural touchstone that helped shape the children's entertainment genre. The band fused many different genres of music — including folk, pop and rock — and eventually won Juno awards, earned gold and platinum records and were inducted into the Order of Canada in 2002.
Remaining members Sharon and Bram continued to tour, but Lois Lilienstein stepped away from performing in 2000 and died in 2015.
In an interview with CBC News, surviving members Sharon Hampson and Bramwell (Bram) Morrison explained that they see this new album as a way for audiences to reconnect with Lilienstein. It is also a way for them to share how important she was to the group, both when she was an official member and after she left.
"When she finally decided to retire, I don't think it ever occurred to us that we needed to replace her," Morrison said. "There was no replacing her."
Hampson and Morrison recently found new fame — and a new generation of listeners — on TikTok. To mark Skinnamarink Day — an unofficial holiday to honour their most popular song, Skinnamarink — the group asked fans to record themselves singing along.
Their video was viewed more than 4.5 million times, and prompted a slew of covers — a response that both Hampson and Morrison found to be overwhelming. While the song has found popularity worldwide since Lilienstein introduced it to the group over 40 years ago — and also inspired a recent picture book — neither expected to see so much engagement on social media.
"TikTok is a new experience for us, "but the Skinnamarink, the response to that just tells you what that song means to people," Hampson said.
Click the video above to watch as Hampson and Morrison talk about their new album, Lilienstein's importance to the group — and give a performance of Skinnamarink.