Two of a Kind

Two of a Kind

 Pennsylvania, USA
BandFolkChildren's Music

"Two of a Kind is a one-of-a-kind find!" says Publishers' Weekly. Two of a Kind is an award-winning, nationally touring, husband-wife duo specializing in interactive music for children and families, and eclectic folk music for adults.

Biography

TWO OF A KIND delights audiences of all ages with their music, good humor and audience participation. David and Jenny Heitler-Klevans of TWO OF A KIND love bringing people together and building community through music. Their beautiful harmonies accompanied by David's powerful, rhythmic guitar playing and Jenny's multi-ethnic percussion instruments create magic on stage.

An award-winning husband-wife duo, TWO OF A KIND presents concerts for families and children of all ages, including songs, puppets, movement, and stories - all with an emphasis on interaction and participation. Themes of songs and stories range from reading & books, friendship and animals to social issues such as the environment, conflict resolution and diversity. TWO OF A KIND helps audiences of all ages feel that they can create music and that they can make a difference in the world.

“Our songs are written out of great respect for children - their experiences, their sophistication and their desire to explore big issues. Our goal is to provide quality music that speaks to children and adults, and helps them to become people who make a positive contribution to the world - and to have fun at the same time!”

TWO OF A KIND has released nine recordings; eight for children & families, and one for adults, plus a DVD. Two of a Kind's recordings have won a total of 16 national awards, including: Parents' Choice Awards, Creative Child Magazine Awards, Children's Music Web Awards, and a Kids Radio Mania Award.

In addition, their songs have won awards from Children's Music Web Awards, John Lennon Songwriting Competition winner, International Songwriting Competition, and USA Songwriting Competition. 

David and Jenny have been singing together since they met at Oberlin College back in 1986. They found that they had so many things in common, they felt like they had lived parallel lives. They married in 1989. At first they sang in coffee houses and other folk music venues, but after David starting teaching music at an elementary school, they began singing songs for kids. Demand for TWO OF A KIND concerts grew and eventually they quit their day jobs and began performing full-time in 1996. In 1995 their name "Two of a Kind" came true when they had identical twin boys named Ari and Jason. They are very grateful that they did not name their group "10,000 Maniacs" or "The Three Stooges."

David taught music to children and adults from 1982 to 1996. David has a degree in Composition from Oberlin Conservatory and has Orff Certification Levels I and II. He was a music specialist in schools in the Philadelphia area for many years and taught music theory at Settlement Music School. Jenny has been singing and dancing all her life. She taught dance at camps and sang in the Anna Crusis Women's Choir for four years. She also teaches music in pre-schools. Jenny has a Masters degree in Public Health and a background in training, education and creative writing.

TWO OF A KIND has appeared all over the country at performing arts centers, concert series, folk clubs, festivals, schools, libraries, camps, aquariums, zoos, museums, daycare centers, special events and on radio and television. They have shared the stage with artists such as:

  • Pete Seeger
  • Peter, Paul and Mary
  • Trout Fishing in America
  • Tom Chapin
  • Bill Harley
  • John McCutcheon
  • Kim & Reggie Harris
  • Sally Rogers
  • Magpie
  • Cathy Fink & Marcy Marxer
  • Billy Jonas

Lyrics

The Double Life of Amphibians

Written By: Jenny & David Heitler-Klevans

The Double Life of Amphibians
(words & music by Jenny & David Heitler-Klevans © 1999)

This song was commissioned by the Detroit Zoological Institute for their new amphibian facility - Amphibiville. We found a lot of fascinating information about amphibians in a book called “Tracking the Vanishing Frogs” by Kathryn Phillips (Penguin Books), and also from Andy Snider, Herpetology Curator at the Detroit Zoological Institute.

(Chorus:)
I lead a double life (I lead a double life)
First in the water and then on the land
I lead a double life (I lead a double life)
I am an amphibian.

I’m a cold-blooded creature so I like to stay warm
I’m born in the water and then I transform
Metamorphosis is the name of this change
from gills to lungs, you know my parts rearrange

(Chorus)

The very first animals that swam in the sea
adapted to survive, changing gradually.
It took millions of years until they walked on the earth
But this story is re-told with each amphibian birth

(Chorus)

Bridge: (spoken: Who are these amphibians, anyway?)
There’s the Harlequin frog, with its brilliant yellow spots
Caecilians look like worms, and they can tie themselves in knots
The giant salamander can grow up to 5 feet long
and the Narrowmouth Toad sings a wailing song -

(Instrumental of Chorus)

I breathe and I drink through my delicate skin
which may help explain the mess that I’m in
The poisons people put in the water and air
They end up in me, so I get more than my share

(Chorus 2:)
I lead a troubled life (I lead a troubled life)
with pollution in the water, and trash on the land ...

We’re watching the forests go up in smoke
We’re losing our homes and it’s making us croak
So leap to the cause, it’s time to hop to it
If you don’t help out, tell me who’s gonna do it?

(Chorus 3:)
I lead a troubled life (I lead a troubled life)
with boats in the water, and malls on the land ...

(Chorus)

That’s Not Fair

Written By: David Heitler-Klevans

That’s Not Fair
(words & music by David Heitler-Klevans © 2001)

It can be tricky to distinguish between a true injustice which needs correcting and a situation which feels unfair but needs to be accepted. David was inspired to tackle the issue of fairness by the experience of choosing volunteers during Two of a Kind performances. After we had finished calling on members of the audience, we would try to alleviate the discomfort of the remaining kids by inviting them to chant “It’s just not fair!”. Although the humor of this approach helped somewhat, it left David asking himself: “but what about the times when it’s really not fair?”

My mom took my brother and me to a show
The performers asked for volunteers.
I raised my hand, but my brother got picked
I could feel my eyes fill up with tears.
I turned to my mom, and said “That’s not fair!”
and my mom said what she always says:

(Refrain 1):
“Life isn’t always fair
and you won’t always get a turn.
You’re not the only one;
It’s just something you’ll have to learn.”

At the break, we went to the concession stand
to get ourselves a drink and a snack.
A man cut right in front of us,
when he really should have been in the back.
I turned to the man and said “That’s not fair!”
and he said what my mom always says:

(Refrain 2):
“Life isn’t always fair
and I’m not gonna wait my turn.
You’re not as big as me;
It’s just something you’ll have to learn.”

(Chorus 1):
But what about the times when it’s really not fair?
And what about the ones who don’t get their share?
Should you really pretend that you just don’t care?
When you come across the times when it’s really not fair?

After the show, we were walking home
We saw a man asleep by the street.
I thought about how he had to live in the cold
while we have blankets, beds and heat.
I turned to my mom, and said “That’s not fair!”
and she almost said what she always says, but she stopped
- and said instead:

(Chorus 2):
“I guess that there are times when it’s really not fair
I guess that there are those who don’t get their share.
We can’t pretend that we just don’t care
When we come across the times when it’s really not fair.”

I thought about what’s fair and what is not
I tried to make it all make sense.
I’ll try to change what I can and accept what I can’t
And I’ll learn to tell the difference.
‘Cause sometimes when I say “That’s not fair!”
I have to learn I can’t get my way -

(Chorus 3):
But there are also times when it’s really not fair
And there are also those who don’t get their share
We can’t pretend that we just don’t care
When we come across the times when it’s really not fair.

(Tag:)
I wanna play my part and do my share -
I’m gonna live my life to make the world more fair!

When I'm Strong

Written By: Jenny & David Heitler-Klevans, © 2002

(Chorus)
I feel good - when I’m strong
I don’t have to follow, or just go along.
I feel good - when I’m strong
When I decide for myself, what’s right and what’s wrong.

Out in the yard, we were playing tag;
some boys said, “No girls allowed.”
I said, “It’s not fair if girls can’t play;
I won’t go along with the crowd.”
I said, “We can play a different way;
find a game for everyone.
Then no one will have to feel left out,
and we’ll all have a lot more fun.”

(Chorus)

One day I was playing with my friend
He got his collection out
I could tell he was really into those cards
It was all he talked about.
He said I'd have to start buying cards,
or else our friendship would end.
I said, "It's not about the things we own;
That's not what it means to be a friend."

(Chorus)

My friend came over to my house
We were playing hide and seek.
We found a present wrapped up in a drawer
She said, "Let's take a peek."
She wanted to unwrap the gift
She said, "No one will know."
But I knew inside that it was wrong,
and so I told her "No!"

(Chorus)

(Bridge:)
Sometimes it’s hard to stick up for yourself.
You’ve gotta be brave to stand your ground.
You might be afraid, that you’ll lose a friend;
but if they’re true, they’ll come around.

(Chorus)

I Have 2 Stomachs

Written By: David, Jason & Ari Heitler-Klevans

(Chorus:)
I have two stomachs, two stomachs, two stomachs
I have two stomachs - one for the meal; one just for dessert

Well, I’ve heard that cows have three
That really isn’t strange to me
‘Cause I believe that kids have two
and that’s why we eat the way that we do -

(Chorus)

When it’s time for broccoli,
I say that that’s enough for me.
But I have still got room for pie,
and I’d be glad to tell you why - (it’s because)

(Chorus)

I’m filled to the top with beans
but I could still devour ice-cream.
Of spinach, I have had enough,
but I’ve still got room for marshmallow fluff

(Chorus - Instrumental)

(Bridge:)
When kids grow up, two merge into one
That’s why grown-up meals are much less fun!

(Chorus)

(Tag:)
No more mustard, lots of room for custard
One for the meal; one just for dessert
No onion dip, but lots of mint chocolate chip
One for the meal; one just for dessert
No more meat, but yes to rice-chrispie treat
One for the meal; one just for dessert.

Think of it as an Adventure

Written By: David, Jason & Ari Heitler-Klevans

I went with my mom and dad, and my little sister
on a family camping trip.
We had just finished setting up our green canvas tent
when my sister said, “I felt a drip!”
We all stared stupidly at the sky
when suddenly it started to pour
We jumped in our van and huddled there a while
‘till we finally drove to somewhere indoors.
We came back later when the sky had cleared
but where was our tent? - it had disappeared!
We all moaned and hung our heads
Then our dad’s face brightened, and he said:

(Chorus:)
Think of it as an adventure!
Whenever something goes wrong.
Think of it as an adventure!
You can cheer yourself up just by singing this song.

We decided to go for a family hike
on a trail out in the woods.
No matter how much bug spray we slathered on
the mosquitos thought we tasted good.
We ran out of water, we ran out of gorp
but we found a poison ivy patch.
I yelled at my sister, she yelled back at me,
and our parents kept saying, “don’t scratch!”
We walked and walked until our legs got sore
Us kids didn’t think we could take one step more.
We were tired and thirsty and our feet were in pain
Our mom turned to us and said “don’t complain! Just...

(Chorus)

Dad was in the driver’s seat, on our way home
He was looking for a hotel.
It was dark, he was tired, and we were searching for a place
that he didn’t know real well.
He could see the exit, but he couldn’t find the way
Even though it seemed so near.
He even asked for directions, but the guy just said,
“Oh, you can’t get there from here!”
He kept driving ‘round in circles, but it didn’t help a bit
He said, “I’m so angry, I could spit!”
I looked at my sister, she looked back at me,
and we sang to our parents in harmony:

(Chorus)

(Tag:)
Think of it as an adventure, think of it as an adventure
Don’t fret and don’t fear, and don’t shed a tear
just think of it as an adventure!

Discography

Sing Me Your Story (for kids)
Family Album (for families)
So Many Ways To Be Smart (for kids)
Patchwork Planet (for kids)
Connections (for kids)
Going On An Adventure (for kids)
Love Makes a Family (for kids)
Friends (for kids)
Crazy Whirled (for adults - w/group: Acoustic Blender)
Live Each Moment (for adults)
Blinded By The Right (single, for adults)
All Those People (single, for adults)

Various tracks get regular radio airplay, particularly on radio shows for kids.

Set List

Our sets are tailored to the specific audience and thematic requirements of the show (we do a lot of thematic programs). Our sets are usually 45 min. We do a combination of original songs and covers, including songs written by kids. Musical styles are very eclectic, but our live instrumentation is folky.