Be a Pain: An Album for Young (and Old) Leaders

By Alastair Moock

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Learn about new developments with the "Be a Pain" project here.

My Story

Where does our next generation of leaders come from? Who will help steer this country towards all of its great promise –– the promise of inclusivity, of acceptance, of fair wages, of love –– and away from the politics of fear and division? Our kids, that's who.

"Be a Pain" is an album about leadership and activism. It looks to the heroes of our past (Dr. King, Harvey Milk, Billie Jean King, Pete Seeger, Cesar Chavez, Rosa Parks, Malcolm X) and our present (Malala Yousafzai, the Parkland student protestors, climate change marchers) to inspire our kids to move the ball forward.

We've already completed much of the work on the album. With Grammy-nominated producer Anand Nayak at the helm, we started recording at Ghost Hit Recording in Holyoke, MA last September. Besides assembling a stellar core band (Nayak, Eric Royer, Paul Kochanski, Scott Kessel, Jamie Walker, Lily Sexton), we also brought in an amazing and diverse collection of musicians and change-makers to lend their hearts and voices to the proceedings: Sol y Canto, Alisa Amador, Reggie Harris, Kris Delmhorst, Crys Matthews, Mark Erelli, Rani Arbo, Melanie DeMore, Heather Mae, Sean Staples, and Boston City Singers.

I had the funds to start the project, but I can't finish it without your help. Mixing, mastering, manufacturing, and especially publicity all cost a pretty penny. More than that, though, I'm asking for your support to help me distribute free CDs –– and free enrichment programs –– to underserved students and schools.

As you may or may not know, I regularly perform social justice assembly programs in schools all around the country. Every time I do, it's an opportunity for me to help educate kids about where we've been, so they can help figure out how to move us forward.

I’ve performed in more than 100 schools for grades PreK-12, working most commonly with upper elementary and middle school students. If you click the link above, you'll find a host of quotes from principals, teachers and PTO members who value the way these programs teach kids about the past and push them to think critically about the present. Here are a few:

“Possibly the best multimedia program I've seen in 35 years of teaching.”
– Bill Rogers, History Teacher, BB&N (Cambridge, MA)


“Alastair has a wonderful way of meeting students where they are, sharing his passion and knowledge about the historical power of music, and reminding them of their potential power in this world.”
– Tamara Schurdak, Headmaster, Chestnut Hill School (Chestnut Hill, MA)


“The kids are still talking about Alastair’s amazing presentation. This was one of those experiences I know our students will take with them for the rest of their lives.”
– Brian Gellerstein, Music Teacher, Tobin Elementary (Cambridge, MA)

Unfortunately, the disparity of school resources combined with widespread cuts to arts funding, means that I'm often bringing these programs to schools in wealthier neighborhoods. While it's crucial for all kids to know our history, I would like to be working more regularly in underserved communities, where schools rarely look for or can afford outside enrichment programming. (I sometimes get grant money to work in these neighborhoods, and do quite a bit of pro bono and deeply discounted work as well, but the vast majority of programming tends to happen in the suburbs).

That’s where you come in…

For every $1000 I’m able to raise in this campaign, I'll provide a free enrichment program, plus CDs, to an underserved school or Head Start program in the region.

By contributing to this campaign, you are not only helping to pay for this album and support me in my work, you’re helping get my programs –– and the album –– into the hands of our next generation of leaders.

Thank you, thank you, thank you!


* * *

Alastair Moock is a 2014 GRAMMY Nominee, two-time Parents’ Choice Gold Medal Winner, and recipient of the ASCAP Joe Raposo Children’s Music Award. Long one of Boston’s premier folk artists, Alastair turned his attention to family music after the birth of his twins in 2006. The New York Times calls him “a Tom Waits for kids” and The Boston Globe declares that, “in the footsteps of Pete Seeger and Woody Guthrie, Alastair Moock makes real kids music that parents can actually enjoy.”

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Alastair Moock