You’ve seen my girlfriend, Ali Eisner, on television or online as Mamma Yamma. Though she also puppeteers characters elsewhere, she’s invested the bulk of her creative energy over the past few years into Mamma Yamma for the CBC.
Ali has decided to leave the program. She just let people know about
it today on Facebook, so I thought I’d elaborate here.
People keep asking me “does she get to keep the puppet?” Sadly, she
does not get to take Mamma with her. But everything that Ali created
with Mamma Yamma as her vehicle is still out there in the world. The
impact she made with children all over the country will be with them
forever. I know that fore sure, because I’m forever connected to the
characters I loved as a child.
Ali is not just a puppeteer. She’s a writer, composer, performer, singer, musician, director…I don’t even know how to list all of her talents. Suffice it to say she does everything.
Over the past six years, Ali has composed some great music for the
show and I’ve had the privilege to play on these songs alongside some
of my favourite local musicians. You don’t often get to hear about the
musicians who add so much to these sessions, and they deserve some
Adam Warner, Drew Birston, Darcy Yates, Robbie Grunwald, Dafydd Hughes, Bryden Baird, Sarah McEachern, Drew Jurecka, John Showman, Chris Gale
Right from the start, Ali had a vision of creating music with real
musicians instead of the band-in-a-box MIDI approach that has become
the norm in the television industry. She wanted to inject life into
the music, just like the old days of television music where you can
tell that musicians are actually in a room together, having fun.
One of Ali’s songs, “Wowie Woah Woah,” recently won a YMA award.
When you’re making good kids television, you’re deeply effecting
children. You’re planting the seeds of their nostalgia.
Ali and I sat down the other day and make a quick recording of one her favourite songs, “Because We’re Kids” written by Friederick Hollaender and Dr. Seuss for the film The 5000 Fingers of Dr. T.
It’s a beautiful song about bullies.
[photos of Ali by Jen Rowsom]