The idea behind The Rough Guide to World Playtime is to compile children’s music from around the world. Yet it’s interesting that these songs are compiled as a disc of children’s songs when they don’t sound any different from any other world music compilations. These are certainly not childish melodies; “Koka” by Indian singer Kiran Ahluwalia is as complex as any Ravi Shankar song. Similarly, Ghanian singer Mory Kante’s “Djou” has a dark, foreboding feel despite, or maybe because of, the chorus of singing children.
So, no, this is not necessarily a disc you’ll play for your kids, but that doesn’t mean there aren’t some enjoyable moments here for world music fans. Mariza’s “Transparente” has a delicate beauty that is instantly infectious, while Peru Negro’s “Negrito” demonstrates just how rich Peru’s African music heritage is. Also included with this package is a second disc of more songs by Mory Kante. His music is at times intoxicating and at times overwhelming, but again, it may be a bit demanding for children. This is certainly an interesting release for world music fans, but to claim that it’s an easy listen for kids is a bit much. You might enjoy it, but you might also find it a rather strange case of false advertising.