various artists,
Picnic Playground
(Putumayo, 2009)

The latest release in Putumayo's ongoing series of kid-focused music compilations is Picnic Playground and, as its title suggests, the theme here is eating. And in this case, with apologies to Shakespeare, music be the love of food.

Once again, the tracks are drawn from around the world, beginning with American singer Jay Mankita promoting a healthy and varied diet in "Eat Like a Rainbow," and followed by "Mes Parents Sont Bio," a whimsical French song about the wonders of organics by Pascal Parisot. Jose Conde and Ola Fresca celebrate the culinary delight of chicken and yellow rice balls, a popular Cuban dish, in "Bolitas de Arroz con Pollo," while Trinidad's Asheba goes nuts for "Ice Cream."

I could just go on and list every track, but I think you get the idea. Some songs are sung in English, others are in different languages from around the world. Each song is a treat to hear and the accompanying liner notes might teach kids a thing or two about the foods they eat without being tedious about the subject. Before starting this CD I reviewed Putumayo's Animal Playground and, to be fair, that disc is the superior collection. But Picnic Playground is no slouch, and I think children and their parents alike will enjoy this musical feast.

review by
Tom Knapp

20 March 2010

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