Music Review: Putumayo’s Animal Playground

CD cover of Animal Playground.

Putumayo Kids is a music label that assembles awesome collections of world music from multiple artists. Animal Playground is its latest children’s CD, a collection of animal-themed songs.

Seven songs are in English, and other selections originate from Italy, Honduras, Brazil, France, Netherlands and South Africa. All of the tracks are memorable, many harmonious, even if you don’t understand the words. I generally don’t enjoy non-English songs, but these are catchy, as are most of the tunes Putumayo turns up.

The CD’s standout song is No More Monkeys by Asheba, a Caribbean children’s entertainer. Listen to the Youtube video rendition below. No, don’t watch it. Listen with your eyes closed and imagine your little one getting jiggy to the lively tune.

No More Monkeys is my 3-year-old’s current favorite. I can’t play it without her shouting for it to be replayed five times. "Again! Let’s do that one again!" she yells. By the fifth rendition she is usually tuckered out from jumping around the room. I admit there is a certain viral quality to the song. We have another monkey song on another CD and I dread hearing it. But with No More Monkeys I want to start jumping around the room with her. This song and Pieces of 8ight by Captain Bogg and Salty were the favorites at my daughter’s third birthday party.

Incidentally, Asheba is currently on tour.

Other favorites:

Nella Vecchia Fattoria by Quartetto Cetra is the Italian version of Old McDonald. The pace is swift and you only understand the eee-yi-eee-yi-oh, but it’s still fun.

Aves by Guillermo Anderson (Honduras) and Mbube — The Lion Sleeps Tonight — by Ladysmith Black Mambazo (South Africa) rank high for on the tranquil scale, nice relaxing music after a tantrum. You do that, right? There’s nothing better than to play some soft music in the background after, or even while, a child is crying.

Don’t Ever Step on a Snake by Aussie Don Spencer. His tone and the lyrics are reminiscent of Eric Idle’s (Monty Python’s) humorous songs, except this song is safe for young ears.

Listen to track previews at Putumayo Kids or Amazon.


2 Responses to “Music Review: Putumayo’s Animal Playground”

  1. Monique says:

    We have the African Playground Cd that i got for my son when he was just a baby. I wanted him to be exposed to music from different cultures. I highly recommend them!

    June 14th, 2007 at 2:50 pm

  2. Beth says:

    Hey, AJ, Asheba is based in the Bay Area – maybe you can check out one of his shows sometime.

    June 14th, 2007 at 5:20 pm

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