Mister G – About
A leading figure in the children’s music world, Mister G (Ben Gundersheimer) is a former indie rocker who was awarded the first songwriting scholarship in the history of Berklee College of Music. He toured internationally prior to earning a Master of Education and becoming a full-time family musician and teaching artist.
Spanning genres from surf rock and bluegrass, to funk and world music, the ten original songs on The Bossy E are a celebration of language, learning and creativity. The title track was inspired by a popular elementary school teaching concept known as “bossy e” that helps early readers learn how the addition of an “e” adds a new sound and meaning to a word.
In addition to writing all the songs and playing many of the instruments (including his Gretsch guitar on The Bossy E), Ben also recorded, mixed and produced the album at his home studio near Northampton, MA. He’s joined on the record by legendary Grammy award-winning saxophonist Charles Neville (Neville Brothers), Senegalese superstar Massamba Diop (Baaba Maal) and a host of stellar musician friends and kids.
Songs like, “More Books for Me,” “Love to Read” and “Everything’s Free at the Library,” highlight Mister G’s lifelong love of reading. Other tracks, such as “Standing on Top of My Head” and “Aisle 3” encourage kids to use their imagination to tap into their innate creativity. Fans get a sense of what a precocious rocker Mister G was from the album’s last song, a heart-felt rendition of the Chuck Berry classic, “Maybellene,” performed in his parents’ living room at age nine.
Mister G’s story begins when he was just about the same age as his devoted fans. Growing up as the son of noted children’s book author and illustrator Karen Gundersheimer, Mister G 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 the age of nine.
Ben’s origins as a bilingual songwriter trace back to his decision to study Spanish in middle school. At the time, he was convinced that he would grow up to be a baseball player and he wanted to be able to speak Spanish to his future teammates. While he never made it to the major leagues, his knowledge and love of Spanish have allowed him to carve out a unique path in the children’s music world.
ABC Fiesta, his literacy-themed, bilingual CD, was released in September 2013 in celebration of Hispanic Heritage Month. Inspired by his tours throughout Latin America, including Mexico, Guatemala, and Colombia, the album spans a wide range of musical styles from rock to reggae, funk to folk and a host of Latin influences.
Ben first became interested in writing music for children when he was still performing for adults. In the late 90s, he created an educational side project, “The Roots Music Collective,” with his bandmates. The experience hooked him on the energy, curiosity and creativity of young audiences, and ultimately he decided to combine his background as a musician and songwriter with his passion for teaching children. Inspired by his students (who originally dubbed him ‘Mister G’), he began writing the songs that would comprise his debut family album Pizza for Breakfast.
His 2011 CD, BUGS, is a genre-hopping exploration of the natural world. The video for “Vamos a la Playa” was featured on national television during Hispanic Heritage Month. His 2012 release, Chocolalala, a collection of original, bilingual songs, won a Parents’ Choice Gold Award.