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Various Artists - World Playground: A Musical Adventure for Kids

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In the United States, children's music can be extremely sophomoric -- much of it is stuff that no one over the age of ten would want to listen to. But in other countries, children's music isn't necessarily childish. Offering a wide variety of children-friendly world music, Putumayo's first World Playground compilation doesn't talk down to kids -- in fact, the 12-song CD is fairly sophisticated. One doesn't have to be under ten to appreciate the material on World Playground, which ranges from Greek rembetika (Glykeria's "Tik Tik Tik") and African pop (Touré Kunda's "Fatou Yo") to Bolivian/Andean music (Colibri's "La Mariposa") and Louisiana zydeco (Buckwheat Zydeco's "Mardi Gras Mambo"). A man with very eclectic tastes, Putumayo founder Dan Storper is big on multiculturalism -- which explains why this disc contains salsa from the Congo (Richard Lemvo's "Boom Boom Tarara") and Celtic music from Canada (Teresa Doyle's "Home by Barna"). In some cases, listeners might wonder what certain selections have to do with children's music. For example, was Lemvo really aiming at a preteen audience when he recorded "Boom Boom Tarara"? While this infectious gem -- which examines the history of Cuban and Puerto Rican rhythms -- is children-friendly, it doesn't sound like it was written for kids specifically. Lemvo is telling people in general -- adults as well as teens and children -- that although Latin rhythms are popular in the U.S., listeners should know where they originated. But regardless of whether or not a particular song was written with children in mind, World Playground is an excellent compilation. Full of surprises and totally unpredictable, World Playground: A Musical Adventure for Kids isn't strictly for preteens -- this CD is recommended to world music enthusiasts of all ages. ~ Alex Henderson

1) Fatou Yo - Touré Kunda (03:55)
2) La Mariposa - Colibri (01:43)
3) Three Little Birds - Taj Mahal / Cedella Marley Booker (03:50)
4) Nyanpi Matilda - Teresa Doyle (02:49)
5) Home by Barna - Buckwheat Zydeco (02:43)
6) Mardi Gras Mambo - Buckwheat Zydeco (02:43)
7) Tik Tik Tak - Glykeria (03:13)
8) Bongo Bong - Manu Chao (02:55)
9) Boom Boom Tarara - Ricardo Lemvo / Makina Loca (04:47)
10) Bon Jour Pra Você - Nazare Pereira (02:59)
11) Zichronot M'Africa - Shlomo Gronich / Sheba Choir / Shilomo Gronich & The Sheba Choir Isreal / Ethiopia (04:14)
12) Just Keep Goin' On - Eric Bibb / Needed Time / Needed Time (03:45)

World Playground: A Musical Adventure for Kids
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World Playground: A Musical Adventure for Kids | Various Artists