3 Jun 2020

Karen O'Leary's band releases album for children

From Nine To Noon, 11:35 am on 3 June 2020

Early childhood teacher and performer Karen O'Leary has released an album of children's songs with her band Fun & Funner.

She talks to Kathryn Ryan about how love of teaching inspired Better than Normal.

Actor, musician and early childhood teacher Karen O'Leary

 Karen O'Leary Photo: Johnson & Laird Talent Management

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Photo: Fun & Funner

Karen's Fun & Funner bandmate Tom Watson is also her colleague at Wellington's Adelaide Early Childhood Centre.

Their album Better than Normal also features a number of well-known Kiwi musicians including Riki Gooch (Trinity Roots), Andrew Bain (Fur Patrol) and Toby Laing (Fat Freddy's Drop).

Karen says teaching is her absolute passion.

"Children are the most intuitive, free, honest people that you can meet I think because they haven't learnt to not trust their intuition… it's such an inspiring place to be.

"Children are so good at pretending and so good at acting and using their imagination to be whatever they want to be… they give me a lot of really good material.

"It's amazing to have a job where you know you're going to laugh countless times a day."

On their new album, Fun & Funner wanted to challenge preconceptions about what children's music should sound like, Karen says.

"Music is a very very powerful tool when it comes to learning. If you can incorporate ideas that do make children think about the world and themselves."

During lockdown, Karen presented a segment called 'Karen's House' on Papa Kāinga home learning TV. In a few weeks, she'll start filming Series 3 of the popular TV comedy Wellington Paranormal.

More Karen O'Leary on RNZ:

  • ECE teachers push for fair pay with rockin' campaign
  • The Mixtape: Wellington Paranormal's Karen O'Leary