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World Music CD Reviews Greater Latin America

VARIOUS ARTISTS

By Paul-Emile Comeau
Published June 27, 2006

The Rough Guide To Latin Music For Children
World Music Network

There’s a new trend in the world of children’s music, one initiated by the good folks at Putumayo and Rough Guides. Rather than compile selections of actual children’s music, the labels present regular world music for the children’s market. The final choices for this new Rough Guides series were made as a result of reactions and comments by five- to 11-year-old students from England who were asked to choose their favorites from selected albums. Half of the performers are well-known (Africando, Plena Libre, Sierra Maestra) but the emphasis is always on sounds that are sweet, upbeat, infectious and not overly serious. Two tracks, one by Jack Costanzo with Marilu (U.S.A.) and one by Merengada (U.K.), are drawn from non-Latin countries. The Rough Guide To Latin Music For Children could be seen as doing double duty. Given as a gift, it’s an effective way of introducing world music to children, or to open-eared adults who might not be especially familiar with Latin music genres. It’s also the type of compilation that is unlikely to exasperate parents on a family trip.