Mike Whitla
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Mike Whitla


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"Scholastic includes Dinostory review in iPad app!"

“Multi-talented rocker Mike Whitla’s “monster” rock opera is a wacky, way-out mix of music and storytelling about dinosaurs from the egg up.

Acoustic folk ditties “Do You Know Who I Am?” and “Stegosaurus” are funny and heartfelt, and Whitla’s 11-year-old daughter helps out as Terri the baby Triceratops.”

Scholastic Parent & Child - Scholastic USA

"Mike Whitla gets NAPPA Rising Star Award for Dinostory"

Great for: rocking out like a T-Rex.
Why it deserves a Rising Star award: Whitla has created an impressive child-friendly rock opera about “when dinos ruled the earth.”
Why parents will like it: It’s a perfect disc for dino-obsessed kids.
Fun Fact: Whitla’s daughter Emma sings the role of Terri the Triceratops.

Tor Hyams and Michael Berick NAPPA awards - National Parenting Publishing Awards

"Dinostory Wins Parents' Choice Award"

Admittedly, I have a soft spot for children's albums about dinosaurs, and Dinostory: The Ultimate Dinosaur Rock Opera is one of the best, this dino-savvy listener has heard. Vocalist, guitarist, multi instrumentalist Mike Whitla creates a musical journey back to the Cretaceous period of 100 million years ago, when, yes, dinosaurs ruled the earth!

The story is centered around Terri the triceratops, who was separated from her siblings when she was only an egg. We follow Little Terri's challenges of finding food and drink, and her surprisingly touching search for a community and a place she can call home. Some of the best musical moments occur as she meet other dinosaurs along her journey. Among others, she encounters plant-eaters who help her out, the wonderful "Jenny the Ankylosaurus," and a "Stegosaurus," whose tale is told in one of the album's most beautiful, tabla driven melodies. The late cretaceous period also had its share of dangers, including the flesh eating T-Rex, whose musical voice bears more than a passing resemblance to Tom Waits. The music is fun, rich and dynamic, with highlights including the rocking "Brachiosaurus," and the reggae flavored "Plod, Plod, Plod Goes Diplodocus," (which also includes the proper pronunciation of this perpetually phonetically misunderstood dinosaur).

The songs are well written and accurately researched, and are also slyly educational. That, and they still provide provide a narrative story with some great tunes. The "rock opera" aspect of the album reminds one of a kid friendly version of the bombastic sounds of 70s rocker Meatloaf. The CD comes with a richly illustrated booklet, including all lyrics and a dino-identification chart.

Lahri Bond ©2011 Parents' Choice

Lahri Bond is a father, a writer and the art director for Dirty Linen: The Magazine of Folk and World Music. His published books include Spinning Tales Weaving Hope (with the Stories For World Change Network) for New Society Press and People of the Earth (coauthored with Ellen Evert Hopman) for Destiny Books. - Parents' Choice Foundation

"Mike Whitla Delivers the Goods"

With R&B, bluegrass, rock 'n' roll and reggae arrangements, children's educator and musician Mike Whitla and solid instrumentalists serve up a pleasant mix of traditional, folk and original songs as varied as Woody Guthrie's "Clean-O (The Baby Washing Song)," "Hokey Pokey (Funky)" and Bob Marley's "Three Little Birds." - Los Angeles Times -Lynne Heffley, August 11th, 2005

"Knee Slappin' Tunes wins Parents' Choice Award"

North o'da border, up Canada way, Mike Whitla has followed up his first fun release, Elephants have Wrinkles, with an exciting amalgam of original tunes and traditional songs of Americana. Whether channelling Woody Guthrie, Bob Marley, "Twinkle Twinkle Little Star", or "Teddy Bear's Picnic," Whitla's arrangements are sharp, diverse and ready to rock. His musical history is sound and his voice is fresh. Early Morning Knee-Slappin' Tunes has passed the multiple-listening-car-CD-test with flying colors. Look, I still have all my digits! Catch you on the flip side! - John Wood Revue at Kidzmusic.com

"Rootsy Recording Wins Big in the Toddler Set"

Here's a local guy who's dug down into the roots of rock and roll to create a recording of songs for kids that takes us well beyond sugar and spice. Early Morning Knee-Slappin' Tunes is a collection of traditional (and a few new) North American songs arranged with originality and performed with passion. Some tracks - like Woodie Guthrie's "Baby Washing Song", with its banjos and harmonized vocals -- sound like they belong on the "Oh Brother Where Are Thou" soundtrack. Others could be mistaken for the Sex Pistols. Whitla's version of "Teddy Bear's Picnic "starts out innocent but evolves into an aggressive, pulsing warning driven by electric guitars and sneering vocals. Great irony and great fun.
There is certainly some sweetness to the album; a few lullabies and guitar instrumentals to calm things down, a very funky version of the "Hokey Pokey" and lots of sing-alongs with actions. Whitla's gravelly, nasally voice (which I like) is softened occasionally with vocal accompaniment by Jessica Vigars. But what really makes Early Morning Knee-Slappin' Tunes stand out is its authenticity. This is a CD made by musicians who really want kids to enjoy this music as much as they do. It is independently produced so the best way to get a copy is on-line at shop.rainbowsongs.com - Deanne Fisher - Toronto City Parent Magazine

"5 Stars for Mike Whitla's "Knee-Slappin' Tunes""

Just try not to sing along to Toronto children's entertainer Mike Whitla and his talented ensemble on this aptly named sophomore release. That's hard to do with Whitla's fresh interpretations of folk classics by Woody Guthrie and Pete Seeger, along with originals from his popular Rainbow Songs classes. - -Samantha Sacks, Today's Parent Magaznie


Mike Whitla - Elephants have Wrinkles (2000)
Mike Whitla - Early Morning Knee-Slappin' Tunes (2006)
Rainbow Songs - Oh Baby! (2009)
Mike Whitla - Dinostory ~ The Ultimate Dinosaur Rock Opera (2011)



Mike Whitla has spent the past decade producing quality children's albums, drawing on both his extensive musical background and his experience as the Founder and Director of the popular Rainbow Songs music program for children. Beginning with his first album in 2000, he has amassed an impressive collection of awards, including multiple Parents' Choice Awards and NAPPA awards, as well as the 2006 Indie Children's “Performer of the Year” award, amongst others.

As the founder of Rainbow Songs, Mike has successfully created an interactive musical program which has brought music and song to upwards of tens of thousands families in the GTA. He is also a co-founder, with his wife Lisa, of the Rainbow Songs Foundation, a charity which brings the same high-quality musical programs to shelters throughout Toronto.

In 2011, Mike released the album Dinostory: The Ultimate Dinosaur Rock Opera!, a rock’n’roll musical for the whole family. Following a highly successful release concert in May, this CD has gone on to win both Parents’ Choice and NAPPA awards. Concerts performing Dinostory are planned for early 2012.

When he isn't making music, Mike is busy as a passionate cyclist, environmentalist, husband and the father of two boys, Jake and Kyle.