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World Music CD Reviews Greater Latin America

VARIOUS ARTISTS

By Marie Elsie St. Léger
Published March 3, 2006

LATIN PLAYGROUND
Putumayo

By starting with perennial favorite “Guantanamera,” Putumayo’s Latin Playground is guaranteed a place in your kids’ CD players. Sung by the irrepressible Omara Portuondo (the only female member of the internationally loved Buena Vista Social Club) and backed by a children’s chorus, “Guantanamera” finds new blood for a new generation. This dance-happy collection culls new favorites from all Latin America: Mexican-American Terri Hendrix sings her ode to a beautiful Mexican town, “Lluvia de Estrellas,” in Spanish and English; Cubanismo, the Cuban-American outfit, incorporates New Orleans’ zydeco rhythms into its “Mardi Gras Mambo”; the percussive heart of West Africa beats throughout “Bomba Le Le,” performed by Puerto Rico’s Jose González and Koral y Esmeralda; Rubén Rada’s smile lights up “Yo Quiero,” sung in the traditional Uraguayan candombé style. By the time Rudy Regalado and Chévere’s “América Baila” bounces through the speakers, you’ll be dancing right along with your kid. Just as it should be.