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Home » Music » World Music » Africa » African

African Playground

Artist: Various Artists

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Label: Putumayo
Album: African Playground
# Song Title   Time
1)    Battu (Benin) - Ang‚lique Kidjo
2)    Jambo Bwana (Kenya) - Them Mushrooms
3)    Mbube (South Africa) - Mahotella Queens
4)    Hello Hello - Mose Se 'Fan Fan'
5)    Sing Lo-Lo (Senegal) - Vieux Diop
6)    Kalimba (South Africa) - Dr. Victor
7)    Hendry (Madagascar) - Tarika Sammy
8)    Munomuno (Uganda) - Samite
9)    Hoya Hoya (Ethiopia) - Seleshe Demessae
10)    Sangoma (South Africa) - Bakithi Kumalo
11)    Laba Laba (Nigeria) - Ken Okulolo/Baba Ken Okulolo & The Nigerian Brothers
12)    Barco Di Papel (Cape Verde) - T‚t‚ Alhinho
13)    Lange Mo (South Africa) - Aura Msimang
 



Performer Notes
  • Compilation producers: Jacob Edgar, Emi Gittleman, Lisa Lee, John McQueeny.
  • Includes a 27 page booklet with liner notes by Jacob Edgar.
  • Liner Note Author: Jacob Edgar.
  • Illustrator: Nicola Heindl.
  • If Putumayo wasn't marketing African Playground as a compilation of children's music, some non-African listeners would have no idea that the material is aimed at kids (or is at least kid-friendly). They would know that African Playground is a good to excellent collection of African pop, but they wouldn't associate the songs with kids because it lacks the sophomoric qualities one associates with American children's music; the material sounds playful and lighthearted, but it doesn't sound sophomoric. Much of the children's music that comes from the United States is unlistenable if you're over the age of 12; it tends to talk down to kids and underestimates their intelligence. But that isn't the case on this Afro-pop CD, which could be described as "children's music with a brain." The term African pop can mean a wide variety of things; in the case of African Playground, African pop is pop music from black Africa -- and that includes West Africa and Central Africa as well as Southern Africa. The compilation doesn't get into the Middle Eastern-sounding pop of Egypt, Libya, Algeria, or Morocco, which are all part of Arabic North Africa. Instead, the material comes from countries that range from Senegal (Vieux Diop's "Sing LO-LO") and the Congo (Mose Se 'Fan Fan''s "Hello Hello") to South Africa (the Mahotella Queens' "Mbube" and Bakithi Kumalo's "Sangoma"). Some of the lyrics are in English, although most of them are in various African languages. Again, African Playground is child-friendly without sounding childish, and world music enthusiasts who are 30, 40, or 50 will find it to be a substantial, intelligent collection of modern, western-influenced Afro-pop. ~ Alex Henderson

Format:CD (0 Disc); Stereo
Country:USA
Studio/Live: Studio
Release Date:25 February, 2003
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1 review(s)
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ash on
 
After seeing "The Last King of Scotland" (decidedly NOT for the kiddies!!!), I desperately wanted some African music, so I went online and found "African Playground". I listened to the samples, ordered the CD, and upon receiving it, was surprised (and somewhat embarassed) to see that its intended audience was children.

"Oh well," I said to my dog, "what the heck. I'm pretty immature anyway..." So I tried it out, and became completely addicted.

There is such a wide variety of styles, instruments, and languages throughout the disc, one could never become bored listening to it, and there's not a bad song in the bunch. What unites all of them is their unquestionable beauty and contagious happiness. One of the songs (Track 3, by the Mahotella Queens) is so beautiful it actually made me cry the first time I heard it!

While I have no doubt that kids would enjoy it, adults shouldn't be afraid of falling in love with with this gorgeous, cheerful, utterly charming CD.

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