Jay Mankita has worked with kids and families for over 30 years. His engineering workshops are experiential and inspiring. His musical concerts are refreshingly positive and fun.
He’s a seasoned veteran of the children’s circuit as well as the adult americana/folk scene, playing for some 50 thousand people each year in diverse venues – elementary schools and libraries, house concerts, coffeehouses, and folk festivals.
Jay is an award winning and masterful songwriter; a guitarist, humorist, and performing artist who long ago, was named one of the half-dozen best songwriters, by folk legend Pete Seeger. Pete himself suggested and transcribed Jay’s song Living Planet, for publication in Sing Out Magazine.
He tours throughout the Northeast, but his songs travel the world. ‘Eat Like A Rainbow’ has won a coveted Parent’s Choice award, and the title track from that album is also featured on the CD ‘Picnic Playground’, by the international world music label, Putumayo, distributed in over 100 countries. ‘Junk Food Man’ was featured on a Grammy-nominated album, ‘Healthy Food For Thought’.
Jay’s songs and CDs are currently being used in nutrition education programs across the country. For instance, 700 copies of ‘Eat Like A Rainbow’ were distributed last year to all Maine teachers involved in the University of Southern Maine’s Muskie School of Nutrition’s educational program. The Orfalea Foundation in southern California distributed 300 copies to lower income families, and the Food Bank of Western Massachusetts recently distributed 60 copies as part of their cooking and nutrition classes.
‘Eat Like A Rainbow’ was originally commissioned by the NY Coalition for Healthy School Food (NYCHSF), who asked Jay to write the songs and perform them for a pilot project in conjunction with the NYC Board of Education, Department of School Foods. After 20 successful shows in NYC urban schools under this grant, Jay has since presented this same concert at hundreds of schools and libraries throughout the Northeast.
Jay has been a keynote presenter at two Association for the Education of Young Children Conferences, and has been a presenter for the NYC Food Bank, the Massachusetts Farm to School Project Conference, the Northeast Organic Farming Summer Conference, and the CT After School Network Conference.
He’s presented over 2000 performances for children and adults throughout the Northeast in schools and libraries, but also at venues like the Vancouver International Children’s Festival, Club Passim, Falcon Ridge Folk Festival, Kerrville Folk Festival, The Town Crier, Old Songs Festival, Clearwater Revival, Tampa Bay Performing Arts Center, Intermedia Arts Center, The Turning Point, People’s Voice Café, Somerville Theater, Boston Folk Festival, Ten Pound Fiddle, The Folk Factory, Cedarburg Cultural Center, Acoustic Brew, The Eighth Step, Caffe Lena, and many, many more.
Workshops and Presentations:
New York State Parents as Reading Partners Conference; North American Vegetarian Summerfest; New York State Outdoor Educators Conference; Association For The Education of Young Children; Dance New England; New York State School Nutrition Association, Massachusetts Farm to School Project, Connecticut After School Network
Children’s Music Network; People’s Music Network For Songs of Freedom and Struggle AFL-CIO/Local 1000 (Traveling Musician’s Union), ASCAP
Books & Magazines featuring Jay’s songs: Broadside, Sing Out! (3 times), Pass It On, For the Beauty of the Earth, Hearing Everyone’s Voice, Bread Alone, Rise Again, the sequel to the popular songbook, Rise Up Singing.
Discography: ‘Healthy Food for Thought’ – 2010 (grammy-nominated compilation; features Jay’s Junk Food Man song) ‘Putumayo’s Picnic Playground’ – 2009 (feature’s Jay’s Eat Like A Rainbow song) ‘Eat Like A Rainbow’ – 2007 (Parents’ Choice Award), ‘R in the Car’ – 2006; Morning Face’ – 2004; ‘Dogs Are Watching Us’ – 2004; ‘The Day the Library Went Wild’ – 1997; ‘The Amazing Time Travel Show’ – 1994; ‘Jay Mankita’ – 1991
Radio: WAMC’s ‘Hudson River Sampler’; WNYC’s ‘Folk Almanac’; NPR’s ‘All Things Considered’ & 150 other radio stations, including XM Satellite Radio, and many internet folk and children’s radio shows.
Dozens of performers, recording artists, and choruses include Jay’s songs in their repertoires. Jay’s ‘Living Planet’ has been sung at Madison Square Garden, and is currently performed by many artists in North America and beyond. It is the title track of the well-known environmental album by the folk group, Magpie, and has most recently been recorded by the duo, ‘Emma’s Revolution’. Australia’s Play School, regularly plays Jay’s songs.