Lois Lilienstein, one-third of Canadian children’s musical trio Sharon, Lois & Bram, has died. She was 78 and had been battling cancer since October.
Best known for the song “Skinnamarink” and Sharon, Lois & Bram’s Elephant Show, which aired on both the CBC and Nickelodeon, Sharon, Lois & Bram formed in Toronto in 1978. The group’s first album, One Elephant, Deux Elephants, was one of the fastest selling children’s records ever produced in Canada, and the group went on to record dozens more, including three that won Juno Awards. A second television show, Skinnamarink TV, followed in the late ’90s.
Born in Chicago in 1936, Lilienstein was the blond, upbeat member of Sharon, Lois & Bram. Yesterday, the group’s Bram Morrison described her as “vivacious, creative, [and] full of ideas and energy,” while Sharon Hampson said Lilienstein was “a woman of many ideas” who “would do anything” for an audience.
With a musical style that fused folk, calypso, jazz, rock, and country, the trio aimed to elevate children’s music just a bit, though the end result was far from anything today’s audiences might consider peppy. On Thursday, Hampson told the CBC that the group aimed to “make music that kept us challenged” and tried to keep parents happy despite a kid’s repeated listens, “otherwise hair gets pulled out of one’s own head.”