Ella Jenkins is a black children’s folk singer and actress from Chicago, USA (also known as the Windy City!)

For over 50 years, Ella Jenkins has been writing, singing and performing music all around the world, for children just like you!

Ella was introduced to music by her uncle Flood, and fell in love with the gospel music that echoed round her neighbourhood. Moving home a lot as a child meant she heard many different children’s rhyming games, and that went on to influence what she did next…

When Ella grew up and started volunteering in Chicago, she started writing songs for children. She went on to release her first album in 1957, and later became the proud winner of the GRAMMY’s Lifetime Achievement Award. Even today, she performs across the world and continues to educate with her music.

Not to mention, she’s released hundreds of songs for children to sing along to!

After growing up singing along, Ella wanted to make music that meant children could join in and have fun! Using instruments (everything from ukulele and steel drums) and musical styles from right around the world, Ella Jenkins became the first folk performer to make fun, interactive music for children. Her songs often use a ‘call and response’ technique; in other words, Ella sings then you sing.

Today we call her “The First Lady of Children’s Music”, because she helped made music fun for you!

About this Contributor

Given name
Ella
Family name
Jenkins
Birth date
1924
Nationality
American
Contributor type
Artist
Minutes created
Black History Month #3

Minutes by Ella Jenkins