There's giggling, and singing, and clapping, and grooving
-- and it's all happening this particular Tuesday afternoon
in the stage area of the children's room of the Johnson
Public Library. With guitar in hand, David Landau is busy
entertaining a group of youngsters as part of the summer
library program. He's got their attention, and it's pretty
clear everyone's having a good time.
Landau couldn't be happier. Making kids happy, after all,
is his job, and from the smiles on the faces peering out
at him, he's right on track.
Originally from Shullsburg, Landau will be keeping Lafayette
County children entertained quite a bit in the next few
weeks as he makes repeat performances in the area the weekend
of July 20-22. Kids, and adults, will be able to catch Landau
in action Friday, July 20 at the McCoy Public Library in
Shullsburg at 6:15 p.m.; Saturday, July 21 at the Benton
Village Park at 4 p.m.; and Sunday, July 22 at the Darlington
Festival Grounds at 7 p.m. Mark the calendar as the public
is welcome to all the free performances.
Being able to come "home" to entertain -- his parents, Dr.
Louis and Ellie Landau, still live in Shullsburg -- is definitely
a fun part of his job, Landau noted. He's been on stage
in front of hundreds of children in the past five years,
ever since he left behind his job as an elementary teacher
in Verona to pursue a different track, one still involving
children but in not such a structured way.
Landau didn't know, he admits, how taking that leap would
turn out in the end, but from his schedule it's been OK.
He performs over 200 dates each year, mainly at elementary
schools, preschools, libraries and fairs throughout Wisconsin,
Illinois and Iowa.
"I now get recognized by kids everywhere I go," Landau said.
"The grocery store, the bank, the post office, out to eat.
Usually (the kids) just stare and stare at me until the
mom comes over and asks if I am really David Landau. It
is quite cute. One girl even shouted, 'It's the real David
And there's more to his success as well. Landau has produced
two CDs of children's music -- "Music for Kids" and "Kids
and Kitties" -- and is currently working on a DVD for children
that should be ready to go later this year. In addition
to winning a Parent Choice Award for his first CD in 2003,
Landau more recently received accolades from Madison Magazine,
as he was the 2007 silver medal award winner in the "Best
of Madison -- Children's Musician" category.
Outside the realm of children's music, for the past 11 years,
Landau has been a member of the bluegrass band "Cork 'n
Bottle," performing each week in downtown Madison. He's
gaining some notoriety on that end as well. A documentary
film, "The Cork 'n Bottle String Band -- The Ken's Bar Story,"
was shown in Madison at the Wisconsin Film Festival to sold-out
audiences. The film is now being shown at other film festivals
throughout the country. So now, besides being stopped by
bright-eyed youngsters, there are adults coming up to Landau
to tell him they recognize him from the film.
For more information about "Music for Kids" or "Kids and Kitties," visit www.happytrails.biz.