Backyardigans are coming

Evan Lurie's songs are part of The Backyardigans Quest for the Extra Ordinary Aliens, which comes to ADSS on Jan. 28.

It’s fitting an interview with Evan Lurie is filled with laughter.

After all, this is the man who, along with Douglas Wieselman, composed songs for the children’s show The Backyardigans.

His songs are included in the stage show, The Backyardigans Quest for the Extra Ordinary Aliens, which comes to the Capitol Theatre on Jan. 28 at 1 p.m.

The humour, however, isn’t based on strange child-creatures in bright colours who sing and dance.

It’s based more on Lurie describing the process he and Wieselman had to work with as they created almost 400 songs.

It was a job Lurie said he didn’t realize would be as intense as it became — after all, it’s just music for a kids’ show, right? — and, conversely, he’s pretty sure the producers didn’t expect what they got in the deal, either.

“Thank you for not asking me how hard it is to write kids’ music,” Lurie said, “because it’s not kids’ music. It’s music.”

That’s what fuelled the drive to create songs and background music that did more than just move the animation along.

Each episode featured a different genre of music, so Lurie would research everything from the many forms of African music through to opera and balalaikas.

The goal was not only to meet the needs of the show, but to do it in a way that would expose younger minds to music — and then hope it would stick with them “so that in 20 years, maybe they’ll have forgotten all the stuff on the radio and realize there is real music to listen to,” Lurie said.

With a background in scoring films and television shows, Lurie said he wasn’t prepared for the tight deadlines of Backyardigans.

The music would be composed, demonstrated, approved, transcribed to paper, recorded, sent to children to sing for the soundtrack, shipped off to animation and choreography departments. The next week, it would begin again.

“It was an enormous number of songs,” Lurie said, “and I didn’t realize this going in.”

Tickets for the show at ADSS are $23.50 plus service charges and taxes at the chamber of commerce visitors’ centre (2533 Port Alberni Highway) or by phone at 250-724-6535.