Sharon, Lois and Bram are the Canadian equivalent of Big Bird, Bert and Ernie - the stars of their country's most popular children's television show. In Canada, the trio has one double platinum, three platinum and three gold albums and two new videos that just went gold.
They rival Raffi. (He's another Canadian children's musician, quite popular in this country.) However, unless you have cable television, you may never have seen the singing group in action. In the United States, only Nickelodeon Network carries "Sharon, Lois & Bram's Elephant Show."Whether your children know them or not, you'll soon have a chance to see Sharon, Lois and Bram live in Salt Lake City.
They come to Kingsbury Hall, University of Utah campus, May 3 at 7 p.m. Tickets are $10, $9 and $8.
"They do a variety show for the whole family," says their press agent, Amy Malsin. "Grandparents and parents enjoy the music just as much as children do."
Hearing their newest album, "Happy Birthday," you know why. Sharon, Lois and Bram sing modern arrangements of songs we liked when we were young, songs like "Eensy Weensy Spider," "If I Knew You Were Coming I'd Have Baked a Cake" and "When You Wish Upon a Star."
They don't write original music. Some songs may be new to you, though. For example: "Sarah the Whale" - who has such an appetite that whenever she's around children are advised to "sit on your hat . . . or your toothbrush . . . or your grandma . . . or anything that's helpless."
Sharon, Lois & Bram do arrange their own music, coming up with unusual and peppy variations of whatever they sing, bringing to their music the elements that were important to them when they were young.
While she was growing up, Sharon Hampson's parents played the conscious-raising music of Pete Seeger and Paul Robeson. Lois Lilienstein's introduction to music came from her father, an insurance salesman who moonlighted as a piano player for bar mitzvahs and weddings. She loved jazz and singing pop songs, accompanied by her dad. Bram Morrison used to be a folk singer. Watching him ham it up on the comic songs, you can tell he also grew up acting in amateur theater.
As performers, Sharon, Lois and Bram find satisfaction in songs from their childhood. The parents in the audience seem to share that satisfaction, singing along with their children, listening to music come full circle.