World music for kids is a great way to introduce children to
musical diversity and learn about geography and other cultures. Mainstream media provides a very limited, skewed
view of music with only exposure to commercial pop and hip hop. Two recent world
music-flavored releases are directed towards kids.
Putumayo Kids Presents… Kid’s African Party (Putumayo World Music, 2018) is a compilation of animated songs with catchy vocals and rhythms that represent various parts of Africa and invite children to stand up and dance.
The album includes Sam Mukoro’s Nigerian reggae; Afropop
from Takeifa (Senegal) and Aldebert ft. Matar Sall & Joyce Tape (France/Senegal/Ivory
Coast); American lounge band Pink Martini playing a funk version of famous
South African song Pata Pata; the East
African charm of Jabali Afrika (Kenya); the great highlife guitar lines of Babá
Ken Okulolo (Nigeria); Zambian Afropop from Larry Maluma & Kalimba; Berber
pop by Majid Soula (Algeria); excellent chimurenga highlighting the mbira and
guitar of Chris Berry & Panjea (USA/Zimbabwe); and Sharon Katz & The
Peace Train introduce kids to swinging South African music, highlighting the pennywhistle.
The physical CD version of Kid’s African Party is way more fun than the digital edition, featuring dancing kids and animals; colorful illustrations; biographies of the artists with geographical and cultural information that parents can read to the kids; and a short glossary of African music styles and instruments.
The other album, Coloreando Dos, by Colombian songwriter and instrumentalist Marta Gómez introduces traditional Spanish-language songs for children from Spain and Spanish-speaking America adorned with exquisitely-crafted Latin American rhythms and Marta Gómez’s captivating vocals and guitar.
The CD version of Coloreando Dos is beautifully-packaged with lyrics in Spanish and translations to English, multicolored illustrations. On the down side, the liner notes make a nonsensical reference to this album featuring Colombian Spanish rather than Spanish. Any Spanish-speaking person, from any country, will be able to understand the lyrics perfectly. Some Americans (the album was released in the USA) seem to be obsessed with highlighting differences between Spanish from various nations, when they are really minimal.
Songs of Resilience & Hope highlights songs from triumphant female singer-songwriters, composers and instrumentalists. These flourishing artists celebrate the hardiness of women throughout the world who have demonstrated the ability to recover rapidly from hardships.
concept world music album, rooted in traditional music crosses geographical and
language boundaries, incorporating singers from India, Spain, Ethiopia, Colombia,
Russia, Portugal, Serbia, Madagascar, the United Kingdom, Brazil and South
The artists include Marta Gómez, Minyeshu, Hanitra, Lenka Lichtenberg, Khiyo, Ana Alcaide, Maria Ana Bobone, Bilja Krstić, Folk Group Arinushka, Ceumar, Kiran Ahluwalia and Afrika Mamas.
Marta Gómez started her musical studies at the age of six in her native Colombia when she entered the Liceo Benalcazar choir, becoming its soloist for ten years. In 1993 Marta moved to the capital of her country to continue her musical studies at the Javeriana University before entering the Berklee College of Music in 1999.
In 2001 Marta recorded a self-titled CD and in 2003 she released Solo es vivir, chosen by The Boston Globe as one of the 10 best albums of the year. Marta not only traverses a whole range of Colombian cumbias and bambucos, Argentine zambas, Cuban sones and Peruvian landos but she also writes the kind of melodies and refrains that translate across whatever language she is singing in.
Marta Gomez and her group perform a repertoire composed entirely of original songs based on a fascinating variety of rhythms from all over Latin America including Cuba, Mexico, Colombia, Venezuela, Peru and Argentina mixed with jazz and pop elements.
Originally from Colombia, the singer started to compose songs exploring her roots, but when she met Argentine musicians Julio Santillan, Franco Pinna and Fernando Huergo, (Los Changos) they decided to share their musical backgrounds to create a distinctive blend of music that reflects the sound and culture of South America.