Raffi Cavoukian – known usually by his first name – has been performing children’s music, including such classics as “Baby Beluga,” “The More We Get Together,” and “Down By The Bay” for more than 40 years. It’s far from a rare instance for parents who grew up on Raffi’s music to bring their own young children to his concerts.
Now, in a new interview, the 70-year-old Raffi talks about both his continuing musical career and his recent habit of posting critically about President Trump on social media.
In the interview with the website Fatherly, Raffi says he’s taking a page from such folk troubadours of the past as Pete Seeger and Woody Guthrie.
“I was inspired by Pete Seeger to sing and speak my truth. He was an amazing, amazing man and he had the integrity with which he conducted his career. He didn’t shy away from important topics to sing about,” Cavoukian says in the interview. “I’m similar except that it’s not so much in the music that I make for children. You know, I keep my voice in the public sphere to social media these days. I don’t politicize my concerts and I don’t even think of myself as an activist. But, if you care about democracy, if you care about a free society, if you care about fair elections, how can you not get involved these days?”
The singer also lists James Taylor, Bob Dylan, and Joni Mitchell as influences on his music throughout his long career.
Also in the interview, Raffi talks about how he got his start in music. Born in Egypt in 1948 to parents of Armenian descent, Raffi’s family moved to Canada when he was 10-years-old. Performing in an Armenian church choir, Raffi got his first guitar at a pawn shop when he was 16. His professional career as a musician began in the early ’70s and has continued ever since. And as the piece makes clear, plenty of adults come to his concerts, not necessarily with children.
While he doesn’t get political on stage, Raffi recently released a song called “Cool It,” which is described as “a musical call to action on climate change.”
Raffi’s latest album, the 32nd of his career, is called Dog on the Floor. Raffi’s Twitter account has over 42,000 followers. He’s recently retweeted the likes of Sen. Bernie Sanders, Rep.-elect Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, and MSNBC primetime host Chris Hayes.