"Irresistible... pairs bluegrass, bossa nova, and more with clever wordplay."
-- People magazine
"Mister G (Ben Gundersheimer) delivers a baker’s dozen worth of original tunes full of kid-friendly lyrics, singable melodies, tight harmonies, just-right arrangements... the Massachusetts-based singer/songwriter/producer hits the mark... Fans of Dan Zanes and Brady Rymer will enjoy what Mister G has to offer."
-- School Library Journal
Over the past year, Mister G has performed in England, Mexico, Guatemala, Colombia and around the USA. Combining a worldly musician’s sensibility with his background as a teacher with a Master’s in Elementary Education, Mister G has led innovative concerts and songwriting workshops in settings as varied as the Children’s Museum of Manhattan, the Dana Farber Cancer Clinic, the Regent Theatre, the 92nd St Y, and the Atitlan Multicultural Academy. Like Dan Zanes, with whom he recently played a sold out show, Mister G (Ben Gundersheimer) is a former indie rocker who has found a niche writing and performing for kids.
Released in May 2011, Mister G’s new CD, “BUGS,” has made a splash on the national scene. People Magazine calls the album “irresistible” and selected the record as one of the “hottest and coolest” albums for children. Several of the videos for “BUGS” are have been featured on television, including “Vamos a la Playa,” which was selected specifically to represent Hisanic Heritage Month. A busy summer of touring, combined with rave reviews from School Library Journal, Washington Parent, and a host of bilingual sources, have earned Mister G a devoted following both in the US and abroad.
Mister G’s story begins when he was just about the same age as his devoted fans. Growing up the son of noted children’s book author and illustrator Karen Gundersheimer, Mister G (then known as Ben Gundersheimer) learned to value great writing for kids at a young age. After begging his parents to let him switch from recorder to guitar lessons, he started writing his first songs at nine years old. By the time he graduated from Amherst College, Ben had already been performing his original songs professionally for years.
Ben’s prolific composition won him the first song-writing scholarship ever awarded by Berklee College of Music. As an adult-oriented singer/songwriter, he performed and toured internationally, headlining legendary venues such as the Bitter End, the Iron Horse Music Hall, Somerville Theater, the Mercury Lounge and Club Passim. He’s shared the stage with Phish and Martin Sexton, and his music has been featured on dozens of network television shows around the world.
In the late 90s, Ben created an educational side project, “The Roots Music Collective,” with his bandmates. So began a peculiar double life of playing at rock clubs until 2:00 AM and performing in elementary schools at 9:00 later that same morning. The experience hooked him: time and again he was blown away by the energy, curiosity and creativity of the young audiences.
Ultimately, Ben decided to combine his background as a musician and songwriter with his passion for teaching children. For his Master’s thesis, Ben created a unique curriculum to incorporate songwriting into the classroom as a learning tool. Inspired by his students (who originally dubbed him ‘Mister G’), he began writing the songs that would comprise his debut family album.
With the 2010 release of “Pizza for Breakfast,” Mister G burst on to the family music scene. In addition to raves from kids, parents and school principals, he quickly caught the attention of some of the leading figures in children’s music. “Live, he's got that rare quality where kids are simply and fully connected,” says Bill Childs, Founder of Kindiefest and host of Spare the Rock, Spoil the Child. As for the CD, Childs says it’s, “insanely catchy, totally engaging for kids and a lot of fun for parents.” And Emmy Award-winning PBS children’s television producer, Tim Banker, praises Mister G’s, “exceptional ability to write children’s songs that teach about complex issues, but are also hysterically funny and not preachy.”
Both “Pizza for Breakfast” and “BUGS” showcase Ben’s skills as a producer, engineer and multi-instrumentalist. The albums were recorded in New York City and at Ben’s studio in the woods of Western Massachusetts, with a stellar cast of musicians. Accompanied by the voices of his former students, the CD features Mister G singing all original songs and playing acoustic and electric guitar, banjo, and mandolin. Drawing on his eclectic tastes as a songwriter, the tracks on the albums span an unusually wide range of styles, from rock and country to bluegrass and ska.
In addition to his high-energy concerts, Ben has developed a series of school workshops (“Who Writes Songs? You Do!”; “Mister Goes Green”;“Vamos a la Playa”) designed to unleash the imaginative potential of children. Whether performing for hundreds of kids at a concert, or crafting an original song with a group of first graders, Mister G’s boundless enthusiasm and sophisticated musicianship are taking family music to a new level.