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Arlo and Arlo: Folk Music As a Parenting Tool

Community Profiles

Parenting tip: if your baby is fussy, find a 70s era folk singer that shares the babe’s name, press play and relax!

Okay, it’s possible this doesn’t work for everyone…

But for Boris Karn and SJ Kerr-Lapsley, it’s been a delight watching their almost seven-month-old baby, Arlo, respond to music.

Arlo Guthrie’s famed rendition of “City of New Orleans” is a favorite. “He just loves it,” says SJ. “He goes very quiet, listens really closely and smiles. It’s just the cutest thing ever.”

Boris and SJ requested the song, in Arlo’s name, during the CKUA Spring Fundraiser.

“It was such an unexpected but really delightful part of setting up a monthly donation,” SJ says.

“It was a way to have the support tied to a moment of joy. It was a lovely little gesture from CKUA,” says Boris.

SJ and Boris are fairly new to CKUA. They discovered it about a year ago. Before, they listened to Spotify playlists when driving. One fortuitous day, however, SJ borrowed her mom’s car. It didn’t have Bluetooth so she hit the FM radio button. It was set to CKUA.

“I listened to Traffic Jams for the first time and loved it,” SJ says. “I felt like I was at folk fest, which is our favorite thing ever.”

“I came home raving about it and Boris started listening. We just fell for the community radio vibe. We were very excited about it.”

After Arlo was born, people asked if he’d been named after the well-loved folk singer.

“We thought it was so funny, like ‘oh yes, right, there is an extremely famous Arlo as well,” SJ says. When their Arlo was just two days old, the new parents put on some Guthrie tunes.

“The first song that came on was ‘City of New Orleans’ and we both just loved it right away,” Boris says.

They’ve been playing and singing music for Arlo since SJ became pregnant.

“My parents did a really great job of brainwashing us to like their music,” she laughs. “It was my dad’s great joy that his five- and three-year-old would happily request it in the car.”

Now it’s their turn. Arlo’s musical education is well underway. And CKUA is a big part of that, say his mom and dad.

“Sometimes you just need uninterrupted musical joy and CKUA is that uninterrupted musical joy.”