Two CDs of World Music aimed at children – so are they both indeed “world music for children”?
The Rough Guide music series has published a new compilation “The Rough Guide to World Music for Children”. The album features 18 songs from all over the world – African rhythms, Latin, Indian and Chinese music and much more, including – somewhat out of place – one track by English singer Steve Tilston.
The sleeve notes state that the songs were selected from a short-list by children of friends and family, “with a little expert input from the team here at World Music Network HQ”. However, specifically Children’s Music it ain’t be – certainly music that children and adults equally may enjoy – but then again this would be the case for most world music collections. It’s not that the collection of songs particularly allows for singing along or dance to; the songs are not any more engaging than many others.
One criticism, particularly for an album aimed to bring a feel for the breadth of world music cultures to children, is that the sleeve notes do not reveal the country each of the artists featured on the album comes from. So if the album does the job or raising curiosity of the origin of different music, it’s down to a Google job to find out, which I think is a real weak point of the album.
So yes, it is music that appeals to children, but perhaps the label of being a guide to “world music for children” is somewhat overstated, as good a world music collection as it may be.
This is very different with an album I wrote about in last issue’s German version: The Kinder vom Kleistpark released an album of highly attractive and engaging songs from all over the world, in a wide range of language. Here the choice of songs is very much focussed on songs that any child can pick up and sing along to – be it African, Latin, Klezmer, Inuit, Turkish or German. This album is a real hit with my 8 and 11 year old daughters who love to listen to and sing these international songs.
The children of the Kleistpark is a multi-cultural and multi-generational project from Berlin, combining primary and pre school children and teenage and professional adult musicians – of a range of different cultural background. Their latest album „#backstage“ is a collection of some of the best songs of the first 10 years of the project.
Like with the Rough Guide album, unfortunately the album does not reveal the origins/languages of the songs. However all songs are incredible engaging with very high quality music, yet showing also a high degree of authenticity to the various world music styles. The quality of the album means that it is also a really lovely album for adults to enjoy
If you want to introduce your children to a wide range of world music and languages with accessible yet high quality songs, I would highly recommend the „Kinder vom Kleistpark“ – based on feedback from my children, this is the one to go for above the Rough Guide.
Photo Credits: (1)-(2) CD Cover, (3) Rhiannon Giddens, (4) Sally Nyolo, (5) Kyle Carey, (6) Shanren, (7) She'Koyokh, (8) Anandi Bhattacharya (unknown/from website).