Tuesday, 6 June 2017

An Interview With Lah-Lah - Tina Harris, Plus An Exclusive Celebrity Family Recipe Share and Giveaway!

All parents of preschool aged children will need little introduction to popular children's entertainer Lah-Lah, AKA the lovely Tina Harris, the talented star of Lah-Lah's Big Live Band!

Tina is instantly recognisable to most, with her vibrant personality and distinctive look. She's a singing talent who is backed by real-life husband and co-performer Mark (Buzz), and their group of loveable co-star musical friends in the popular children's television show Lah-Lah's Adventures. The show airs daily on ABC Kids, weekdays at 1 pm.

We've been so fortunate to be granted the exclusive opportunity to interview Tina about her booming career as loveable Lah-Lah, and chat about the exciting upcoming plans for Lah-Lah's Adventures. Tina has also prepared an exclusive family favourite recipe share for followers of Six Little Hearts, in her delicious Japanese Sukiyaki which you too, can try at home.

Please read on and we hope you enjoy this very special interview... 

Tina, you're a former opera singer. Can you tell us a little about your past career in this industry, and how you made the big transition over to becoming a children's entertainer?

I’ve always loved music. At school, I played the alto saxophone and then I fell in love with singing, (school musical did that, I so wanted to be Sandy in Grease), so I think it was a natural progression that I ended up following the music path.
I had a wonderful teacher at the Conservatorium in Sydney who was also at the Opera School there so off I went. I had my first job with The Opera Company while I was in my final year at the Conservatorium and worked in Sydney and Melbourne, but while finishing my Master’s Degree in Performance, I’d fallen in love with French song, so I said to Mark, (what he says is the most terrifying thing I can say) “Hey honey I’ve got this great idea…” (I’ve done that a few times now over the years) and we moved to Paris.
We lived in Paris for about 6 months, Mark playing in Jazz clubs and me studying with coaches and doing auditions. We completely ran out of money and then I had another great idea, - let’s move to Japan and teach English! So off we went, finally moving home to have Lily. After Paris, all I wanted to do was have a baby, I’d just turned 30 and as mums know, after you’ve had a baby your universe shifts! So, it was back home to Australia to be a full-time Mum with 2 little ones. When Emily (our youngest), turned 2, I got itchy feet and a friend at the Opera suggested I start teaching early childhood music classes. I loved teaching little ones and I guess that’s why Lah-Lah’s DNA is so tied to early childhood music education.
Mark is an Aria Award winning musician! Please tell us more about Mark's past too...

Mark is a brilliant musician. It comes very naturally to him. He studied double bass classically first and then found Jazz. When we first met at The Sydney Conservatorium, he was in the Jazz course but was still being asked to play in all the orchestras. He can read anything, which is a real skill, so he often steps into the theatre pit at a moment’s notice to play whichever musical is in town. I think he secretly loves the pressure. He’s also a great singer, and when we first started dating, he fell in love with opera and auditioned for the opera school and studied there for 2 years. But the double bass called him back.
The great thing about Mark studying singing is, it gave him the confidence to sing and play bass at the same time, something not many people can do. It always makes me laugh because he is hopeless at multi-tasking but this he can do! He, like the other band members in Lah-Lah, is a busy freelance musician. When he’s not jumping around in his stripy socks, he’s playing and singing with Monsieur Camembert and Baby et Lulu as well as playing theatre shows and jazz gigs.
What inspires you both when it comes to producing music and entertainment for children? Is this something you both aspired to for a very long time, (pre-parenthood), or is the Lah-Lah phenomenon a venture that evolved with say, parenthood itself?

I think parenthood definitely changed and inspired us both. At the time, we were looking for shows and programs to take our girls to, and there just wasn’t much in live music. So our girls definitely inspired us and we’re 9 years now. For us, the music is real music, it’s what we would play in adult jazz, world music or rock bands, but it’s the lyrics that are really focussed on what topics kids would be interested in. There’s no reason to dumb-down music for kids. Kids get music, it’s that simple.
The Music Room project that you are both currently collaborating on, is something that sounds so exciting for young children! How do you envisage and hope this new musical venture will evolve and benefit young children?

Music Room is all about us empowering parents to 'pay music forward.' Mark and I do a little two-hander show in schools and day cares. As we’ve been travelling around, we’ve noticed that the resources available in schools vary. We wanted to find a way that we could share music, so we’ve made the digital lessons which were all crowd funded, and we had some help from ING’s Dreamstarter. Basically, when a parent buys the Music Room video, we gift the video, songs and teachers' lesson pack to their school or daycare. This really means parents are choosing where the music goes and that is really powerful.
On the home front - Do you love cooking Tina? (Or Mark?) What are your favourite family bakes? Do you enjoy cooking with your children or are you a 'go-it-alone' chef?
At home with Tina - daughters Lily (at left) and Tina with Emily (rear).

We joke that I’m the weekday cook - the food that just feeds everyone, and Mark is the special occasions cook. But I’m the clean cook, Mark uses every pot and pan on site! The rule is, the person who cooks doesn’t have to clean... I’m sure it kind of averages out.
Tina, how do you fit motherhood and all of its (crazy-busy!) duties into your hectic professional schedule? (Any tips for us less famous mums?!)

I don’t. I’m always forgetting something at school, like they were meant to wear a yellow T-shirt and my kid is in blue. I have a wonderful group of girlfriends and they know I’m hopeless, so a text will come around at 8:30am saying “Hey don’t forget!"
I think as Mums we have to help each other out more and watch each other’s backs. There is way too much pressure on trying to be the perfect Instagram mum. If my kids are happy and healthy, then I’ve done my job.

Finally, do either of you have any special messages for your little fans you'd like to share with
Six Little Hearts' readers?

"We love that you love music, so keep playing, singing and dancing and we hope to see you after the show.
PS: Lah-Lah loves cuddles!"

Celebrity Recipe - Lah-Lah’s Sukiyaki/nabe...
14 years ago Mark and I lived and worked in Japan. We joke that Lily, our eldest daughter was made in Japan. We were teaching English at the time and my students taught me the recipe for Sukiyaki, which has always been a favourite and now our 2 daughters Lily and Emily LOVE it so it’s our go-to Sunday night dinner. It’s cooking without cooking and the kids get really involved dipping in the meat and string the vegies.

You can get all these ingredients at your local Asian shop and the thinly sliced beef will be in the frozen section.

Sauce Ingredients:
1/2 cup of mirin
1/2 cup cooking sake
1/2 cup light soy sauce
Satchet dashi stock powder.

1 carrot sliced
1 onion sliced
1/4 wombok chopped
1 leek, sliced
5 shiitake mushrooms, sliced
1 packet enoki mushrooms
1 packet udon noodles
Shaved frozen beef 500g
4 eggs - 1 per person, lightly beaten in separate dipping bowls
Japanese rice.

Combine sauce ingredients in hot pot and gently heat to dissolve the dashi powder.
Assemble all the vegies and noodles in the hot pot over the sauce.
Cover and simmer until all vegies are soft and the sauce has increased.
Using separate tongs or chopsticks, drop slices of meat and vegies and dip in the beaten egg. Eat immediately with some steamed Japanese rice.

A huge thank you goes out to Tina, Mark and family for sharing your family meal with us! x
Make sure you catch one of the upcoming Lah-Lah's Big Live Band tours!

Announcing - Lah-Lah Having Fun! National Tour 2017
 Tickets are on sale now, get yours here!

Win a specially autographed Lah-Lah's Adventures prize pack
plus 4 tickets to attend a Lah-Lah Having Fun national tour session of your choice* valued at $133!
*Please visit the session/venue information page to confirm tickets are available
at your chosen venue prior to entering! Every effort will be made to accommodate your preference but please understand that sessions do sell out!
Total prize pool: $133.
General terms and conditions
Promotion ends June 16, 2017.

To Enter
Please be a follower of Six Little Hearts on Facebook
and Lah-Lah's Big Live Band on Facebook
then complete your entries below.
Game of skill. Entrants must leave a comment and their name inside their comment box to enter this giveaway. Entries without comments and names are ineligible and will be disqualified.

a Rafflecopter giveaway


  1. I'd love to take my son to lah lah's show because he is the biggest fan of lah lah (I'm sure every mom says it :D ) I had the opportunity to take my son to his other favorite shows like play school and Peppa Big. I always try to create happy memories for my little one.So that he can talk about them when he looks back at his childhood. I never had the opportunity to take him to his favorite show lah lah.Thanks for the oppotunity.I'd love to see him dancing.His birthday is on 30th of June.This would be a great birthday present for him from six little hearts :) (Indika Wijayasekera)

    1. All the best and thank you for entering!

    2. CONGRATULATIONS and Happy Birthday to your son! The passes and prize pack is yours and we'll be in touch shortly to confirm your passes.
      Thank you to everyone who entered! xx

    3. Thank you so much. I'm really happy. My son will be so thrilled. A wonderful birthday present for him :) I replied to your email. I have been following you. You always have great competitions. Wish you all the very best...you have a wonderful family :)

  2. It's so nice to see Tina without her headband :) and get to know a little bit more about her and the crew. That meal looks super healthy.We might have to try it. #teamIBOT

  3. Seeing my son happy and laughing brings me so much joy. He would be dancing, laughing and singing, which makes my heart burst.
    Samara McRae

  4. My son and I glow with excitement when Lah Lah band comes on tv. We've also had a snapshot of them at a shopping centre. They transmit rhythm and excitement. With this prizepack, my son and I could havee a wonderful Lah Lah live experience and many more musical moments at home. Jody Smith

  5. Would love to take my son for a wonderful adventure of seeing a live show, for us it would be a once in a lifetime (unless i win something else).

  6. Our kids love these guys for their enthusiasm which makes my kids want to learn to play an instrument.

  7. My girls are crazy about these guys and know all the words to their songs so would be ecstatic to go see them live.

  8. To see LAH LAH in person, FUN!
    a little face, smile so huge, my grandson :)
    Brush your teeth,
    I like to wash my hands!
    His favourite songs from the band.
    This would be his first concert,
    and wow!! LAH LAH ,
    you would be perfect :D

    Jody Buhagiar

  9. Tina seems like such a genuine person - what a lovely glimpse behind her Lah-Lah persona!

  10. I am so old. I had no idea who Lah Lah was until now. Thanks for the intro!

  11. I've heard of Lah Lah - what a wonderful interview. I love the idea of that Music Room project, it's so good to give back!

  12. Adrienne Harries :
    Lah Lah I wan to win
    Lah Lah to make the littlies laugh and grin
    Lah Lah what a great time
    Lah Lah singing, dancing will be just divine

  13. Lah Lah's live band would transport me to another land (Joanne Carter)

  14. What a great blog! Hello from a new fan and follower. My son loves Lah Lah's Big Live Band (I mean, what toddler doesn't!) It's great to discover more about the characters off-screen. Thanks for the recipes too.

  15. So interesting reading about Tina, Mark and their family. I've never had Sukiyaki before, looks good!

  16. My toddlers would absolutely love to see Lah Lah's Big Brass Band because it is so lively.
    They are mesmerised by the wonderful music.

  17. Funnily it's the day before my toddler's birthday (the one we'd like to go to) so I'd go GAGA to find out he's going!


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