The music we listen to as children often stays with us forever, providing a rich source of pleasure. While researchers are delving into why our brains are so attuned to melody and rhythm, parents understand early on that music is, above all, enjoyable and deeply satisfying to children. Music can fill a rainy afternoon, make a road trip bearable and serve as an excuse for kids and adults to sing and dance.
Families looking to update their music collection will be pleased by several recent music releases, including a global nod to Quebec from one of the world’s most respected producers of cultural music collections. All of these CDs are available either through the big chain stores, independent retailers or online.
Sesame Street Playground
This CD/DVD set from Putumayo Kids features 13 songs and five music videos from Sesame Street shows around the world, all aimed at helping children learn about and respect other cultures. Kids can listen to songs from Brazil, France, China, India, Israel, Mexico, the Netherlands, Palestine, Russia, South Africa and Tanzania, along with two from the U.S. Each of the songs and videos was produced in its country of origin so a child can, for example, hear how a favourite Sesame Street song like “Rubber Ducky” sounds in Chinese. The music videos show young people how the Sesame Street characters and music are adapted for different cultures. A portion of the profits will go to Sesame Workshop productions in more than 100 countries.
Award-winning children’s musician Justin Roberts has hit a home run with his newest collection of upbeat tunes about childhood memories that last a lifetime. The title track will amuse even those personally unfamiliar with the Little League baseball experience of a pop fly, i.e. the ball seems to come zooming down from the sky without any warning. Also included is a funny little song about a girl’s messy hair and the critters that live in it, a song about the butterflies in your stomach on the first day of school and a great little song called “Fruit Jar” that has nothing to do with fruit jars. Adult listeners may find that Roberts’ songs tend to sound alike, but the lyrics are quirky and clever and the tunes are catchy, making it a worthwhile addition to any family’s collection.
The brains behind the highly respected Putamayo World Music collection have finally discovered the varied traditions of music chez nous! Released in honour of Quebec City’s 400th anniversary, this collection recognizes our rich musical diversity and features an array of songs ranging from traditional folk to contemporary singer-songwriters. It even includes a song by Native Canadian artist Florent Vollant, singing in the rare Montagnais language. Kids will also discover the enchanting Dobacaracol, with their fusion of reggae, funk and African rhythms, alongside the vocal poetry of singer Chloé Sainte-Marie and Star Académie winner Annie Villeneuve.
Big Round World (photo above)
Created by Trout Fishing in America, a duo composed of singers Ezra Idlet and Keith Grimwood, this CD features 14 original songs filled with an irrepressible energy and spirit. The CD is billed as “music for people who take their fun seriously,” and listeners will soon see why as the group plays songs with lyrics that range from the practical “Always chew your food” to the philosophical “Big Round World” to the topical “Martin Luther King and Rosa Parks.” Trout Fishing in America has been nominated three times for Grammy awards and they tour regularly, bringing with them an infectious energy that is hard to resist.