A day in the life of Seward Park children’s musician Eli Rosenblatt sounds downright idyllic. After a morning spent in his garden with a famous florist (his wife, Kelly Sullivan) and lively 3-year-old (his son, Elian), Rosenblatt takes a stroll through his neighborhood to teach music and movement at three local preschools. Though some might find engaging a room full of 4-year-olds exhausting, for Rosenblatt it’s nirvana.
“There are moments when you can feel so much love in the room,” he says. “Just seeing the parents seeing their children and the children seeing their parents. It’s really special. It feels really joyful.”
Rosenblatt writes and performs songs rooted in salsa, klezmer, reggae, cumbia and other musical styles from around the globe. In the words of fellow family music celebrity Drew Holloway of Recess Monkey, Rosenblatt makes “contagiously fun world music.”
His passion for international tunes dates back to his teen years growing up in Seattle. When he was 14, he became enthralled by the piano montuno, the rhythmic pattern characteristic of Afro-Cuban music. “The first time I heard it I was like, ‘Oh, that’s the best music there is.’ That kind of music makes me cry. It’s really powerful,” says Rosenblatt.
He started out playing with Seattle salsa bands Picoso and Si Limon and still performs shows for adults at the Showbox, Nectar, Neumos and Bumbershoot, among many other venues and festivals in the Seattle area.
The music he creates for kids also inspires uninhibited dancing and fun. “I teach kids about joy through self-expression. How to just be humans in a room together. Not the virtual world, or a world that’s being imposed upon them. Just an invitation to connection,” says Rosenblatt.
Sometimes he invites the children up one by one to dance to the music in front of their peers. “It helps them learn vulnerability and risk-taking, and how to hold space for people,” he says.
Eli Rosenblatt's next shows are:
Thursday, Feb. 20, 10:30 a.m. North Bend Library, 114 E 4th St., North Bend. Free.
Friday, Feb. 21, 10:30 a.m. Woodinville Library, 17105 Avondale Road NE, Woodinville. Free.
Sunday, Feb. 23, 10:30 a.m. Fauntleroy Schoolhouse, 9131 California Ave SW. $5.
Friday, Feb. 28, 10:30 a.m. Kenmore Library, 6531 NE 181st St. Free.
Tuesday, March 24, 10:3o a.m. Shoreline Library, 345 NE 175th St. Free.