Friday, May 8, 2009

Encouraging A Global Outlook Through Music

Music and food are two of the most important ways we have to learn about other cultures. And while we might not all live in a cosmopolitan enough city to where we can take our children out to experience Ethiopian food on a Tuesday, music is accessible to everyone—even kids.

The Putamayo Kids series is a wonderful group of CDs designed to expose even the littlest ones to music from other cultures. Putamayo Dreamland blends traditional lullabies from Ireland to Africa in a beautifully realized journey around the world that soothes little ones to sleep. My son received a copy of this as a gift when he was born, and we invested in a second when my daughter came along. The music is beautiful and soothing, but never syrupy. We’ve even played it on long car trips when we drive into the evening, and the adults enjoy it as well, though I wouldn’t advise it if you’re driving too late into the evening—its effects are that good.

The entire Putamayo Kids series is a fabulous way to expose your kids—and yourself—to music from different cultures. Titles include African Playground, Caribbean Playground, Folk Playground, French Playground, Latin Playground, New Orleans Playground, Reggae Playground, and World Playground, and Brazil, along with other titles focusing on different themes, such as Animal, Dreamland, Sing Along With Putamayo, and Sesame.
I also find that these CDs make great gifts, especially if you know someone who is eager to incorporate her own background into her child’s upbringing. They are also fabulous tools for continuing to expand our own horizons as adults—something important to keep in mind as we ease into the role of parents.


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