family entertainment

Critic’s picks: Music

MattyB performs at the Wilbur Theatre on June 5.
John Salangsang/Invision/AP
MattyB performs at the Wilbur Theatre on June 5.

Toe Jam Puppet Band The only jam band you’ll approve of your offspring embracing? Mr. Tom and Mr. Vinny, longtime purveyors of tuneful mirth in New Bedford, continue their enduring relationship with the town’s fauna. April 18 at 10, 11:30 a.m., 1 p.m.; April 25, May 2 at 10, 11:30 a.m. Free with zoo admission April 18, otherwise $5 plus zoo admission. Buttonwood Park Zoo, New Bedford. 508-991-6178,

Johnny Fireseed and the Junkyard Dogs In observance of Earth Day, this funky Framingham trio teaches children about recycling and sustainability with an hourlong concert performed on instruments made out of refuse reclaimed from local landfills. April 19 at 10:30 a.m. John F. Kennedy Presidential Library and Museum. Free admission, but registration required. 617-514-1600,

INSIDE A SONG Children of all ages are invited to learn about history, culture, nature, and more as expressed in traditional folk songs, and this time there’s a twist: Among the different versions of the American tune “Little Birdie” to be played in recordings here is one by Yo-Yo Ma’s eloquent, appealing Silk Road Ensemble, whose players are scheduled to visit the museum in person on June 5. April 20, 21 at 1:30 p.m.Boston Children’s Museum. Admission: $16, under 12 months free. 617-426-6500,


Music and Movement Music educators from Little Groove coordinate and cheer the efforts of infants, toddlers, and preschoolers up to 3 years old as they move and sing together. And hey, caregiver, if you’d care to tap a tambourine or beat a drum, then you’re invited to join in, too. April 24 and every Wednesday, 10:30 and 11:15 a.m. Boston Children’s Museum. Admission: $16, under 12 months free. 617-426-6500,

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JAZZ AT THE FIREHOUSE Produced by Eastie community-music organization ZUMIX, this series is family fare in the best sense: concerts sophisticated enough for the grown-up jazz lover, yet welcoming to all ages. The new series includes 1032K Trio (May 8), Marianne Solivan (May 22), Houston Person (June 5), and Frank Vignola and Vinny Raniolo (June 12), with a ZUMIX youth ensemble opening each gig. 5 p.m. $15. ZUMIX Firehouse, 260 Sumner St., East Boston. 617-568-9777,

CIRCLE OF SONGS WITH HUGH HANLEY A folksy, engaging songman, Hanley’s been described as a little-people magnet: Wee participants in his playful, active Circle of Songs affairs have been known to compete for the opportunity to sit closest to him. May 10, 24 at 10:30 a.m. Free admission. Boston Public Library East Boston Branch, 365 East Bremen St. 617-569-0271,

Boston Pops Far as we’re concerned, there’s not an event in the whole Pops season to which you couldn’t take your entire clan. That said, an especially sweet trifecta arrives midway through the series: John Williams’s Film Night (May 12, 13) and “Raiders of the Lost Ark” Live (June 3, 4) are good bets for older children, while Puppets Take the Pops (May 21, 24) should keep the younger set mesmerized. 8 p.m. $24-$99 (Puppets), $36-$120 (Williams, “Raiders”). Symphony Hall. 617-266-1200,

Beat Bus An ingenious rolling music lab operated by percussionist Maria Finkelmeier in cahoots with the Record Company, the Beat Bus provides young enthusiasts the chance to make music with timeless percussion instruments, while also gaining insight into timely recording and producing technologies. May 21 at 11 a.m. Free admission. T Wharf, Rockport. 978-546-7391.


RAFFI The patron saint of tunes for tots brings his sunny sing-along fare —“Baby Beluga,” “Down by the Bay,” “Bananaphone,” and so on — to a concert aimed not just at youngsters, but also at Beluga Grads — folks who grew up on his tunes in the ’70s and ’80s, and now are raising kids of their own. May 21 at 1 p.m. $27.50-$37.50, VIP tickets $65. Berklee Performance Center. 617-747-2261,

MATTYB A 13-year-old rapper who in 2014 passed a billion views for his YouTube videos featuring age-appropriate reworkings of familiar pop and soul hits, MattyB (born Matthew David Morris in Duluth, Ga.) brings his act to the stage in person. Bring ear protection — yeah, we mean for you, mom and dad. June 5 at 3 p.m. $27. The Wilbur Theatre. 617-248-9700,


Steve Smith can be reached at Follow him on Twitter @nightafternight.