Various Artists: The Rough Guide to World Playtime
World music? Absolutely. Children’s music? Not so fast, Rough Guide.
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.