Raffi turns back the clock at Orpheum Theater

Raffi Orpheum AK mainbar 2024

Children’s music icon Raffi played the Orpheum Theater in DTLA on Saturday. With the release of Baby Beluga in 1980, Raffi would become the face of Children’s music and now in his fifth decade of releasing music and performing has been a beloved artist generation after generation and kids who grew up on his own music which he calls “Beluga Grads” are bringing their own kids to see this legend live. This daytime performance began at 2:15 P.M. and featured Raffi performing solo acoustic.

Just to see his name on the marquee brought back many memories for attendees and then a medley of some of his most popular songs played before coming on stage. This was definitely the definition of a sing-a-along. Raffi now 75 sounds as great as ever and to be able to hear the voice so countless kids grew up listening to over the last 48 years in person is quite a special experience. Raffi was dubbed  “the most popular children’s singer in the English-speaking world”. Originally born in Cairo, Egypt and of Armenian descent Raffi would relocate to Canada and has received a CM and OBC. Raffi would become part of pop culture with a Full House episode in 1990 with the plot including a cassette tape of “Baby Beluga” being played in the Tanner home by Michelle so many times that it breaks and Stephanie, Danny, and Uncle Joey sing it as they did earlier in the episode when Uncle Joey presents the tape. In 2004 the Simpsons made a parody of Raffi named Roofi who has a song Maggie continually listens to and a concert that goes wrong from bad weather as a parody of the original Woodstock festival.

Raffi performed a set of his music and traditional Children’s songs like “The More We Get Together,” “Six Little Ducks,” “Bananaphone,” “Brush Your Teeth,” “Apples and Bananas,” “Baby Beluga” “Shake My Sillies Out,” “Down the Bay,” “Luna” written for his dog. Raffi was wearing a plaid shirt which had the same colors as the Orpheum marquee. Raffi came back for an encore including  “Grown Up Beluga” for the “Beluga Grads,” and “If You’re Happy and You Know It.” Raffi also made the animal noises and trumpet sounds to go with the songs and some jokes in between. The concert benefited his foundation.

Words and photos by Alex Kluft