Contest: Win Putumayo's Picnic Playground

PicnicPlayground.jpgThe latest album from Putumayo Kids, Picnic Playground, is a fun collection of food-related tunes from folks close to home (Johnny Bregar, Asheba) and far away. And now Putumayo's giving you a chance to win the CD. All you have to do is be one of the first two folks to submit a recipe in their Picnic Playground Recipe Contest. They're looking for your favorite picnic recipe, and the winners will get the whole Putumayo Kids collection of albums. But if you're one of the first two entries that mention Zooglobble at the start of your entry, you'll automatically win the Picnic Playground disk. Even if you don't win, you can sign up to get a free download from the album here or see if the tour's coming to your city here. The rules for winning the overall contest are here. Entries are due August 25th, but speed is of the essence if you want to be the winner of this disk, natch.

Interview: Teresa Georgi (Putumayo Kids Europe)

TeresaGeorgi_AmsterdamFest.JPGLast month the energetic Putumayo Kids label released its latest globally-flavored CD, European Playground. Last week we chatted with Farmer Jason about life as a North American artist breaking into the European kids music scene. This week I thought it would be interesting to get a more European perspective on the kids music scene, so I talked with Teresa Georgi, who's the manager for Putumayo Kids Europe. She was born in America but has lived in Europe for a number of years now. Read on to find out the good parts about the kids music scene, the bad parts, and about the next Putumayo disk. Zooglobble: What music did you listen to growing up? Teresa Georgi: My mother loves the blues so we grew up listening to Bo Diddley, Howlin' Wolf, Elmore James, John Lee Hooker… When she wasn’t playing the blues we listened to the Stones, Bob Dylan, Al Green and Janis Joplin – I was lucky; there was always great music at our house. My first 45 was "Puff the Magic Dragon" by Peter, Paul and Mary. My mother finally had to take it away from me though as the lyrics always made me cry. My next 45 was "‘I Want To Hold Your Hand’ by the Beatles (I think "Can’t Buy Me Love" was on the flip side) and as far as I was concerned this was music nirvana. I couldn’t wait until I was a teenager! I was about 5 at the time. How did you end up working for Putumayo in Amsterdam? I’ve known the founder and CEO, Dan Storper, for over 20 years. In 2005 we met in a restaurant in Amsterdam by chance (the European headquarters are in Holland) and started talking and sharing ideas; when he told me about the fledgling kids division it immediately captured my imagination. I’ve always loved the brand and its socially-conscious profile and jumped at the opportunity to help grow the kids market in Europe. I really believe that our CDs are exceptional, not only are they fun and engaging but music helps children express themselves, and our music helps make children aware that there’s a whole world of kids out there that are fundamentally just like them. It’s a unique concept that takes children and their families on a journey around the world and helps them to become global citizens. There's obviously been a resurgence of interest in family music from both the public and musicians here in the States. What's the status of the genre in Europe?

Contest: Win A Putumayo Kids Playground Selection!

WorldPlayground.jpgI've already given you a list of recess-friendly disks, but what if you're not near a playground? Well, thanks to the folks at Putumayo Kids, you now have a chance for a little monkey bar time of your own -- we're hosting a contest to win a couple disks from Putumayo. Putumayo's Playground is celebrating its tenth anniversary this year, as World Playground was released ten years ago. It's now a dozen albums strong, and there's more on its way -- European Playground will be released in May and Picnic Playground - featuring Johnny Bregar, Asheba and others - will be released in July, accompanied by a summer concert tour. Putumayo will give copies World Playground and Folk Playground to a lucky reader. Just list your (and/or your kids') favorite playground activities in the comments below. I'll pick one reader at random. One comment per family, please; all entries due by Thursday 11 PM East Coast / 8 PM West Coast time. Thanks and good luck!

Video: "The Change Song" - Herbie Treehead

I know. It's dorky, the lip-syncing is problematic, and there's lots of silly costumes. Still, this video, from England's Herbie Treehead, from his album Sleepy Songs and Not Very Sleepy Songs is not without its charms. (I'm a sucker for a good kazoo break.) The song will appear on European Playground, the next release in the "Playground" series from Putumayo Kids. The album's out May 19th. Herbie Treehead - "The Change Song"

Itty-Bitty Review: Sesame Street Playground - Various Artists (Putumayo)

SesameStreetPlayground.jpgSesame Street Playground, the latest globetrotting collection of kids music from cultural omnivores Putumayo, solves the problem of "what region do we tackle next?" by moving on to children's television. Sesame Street is broadcast all around the world, of course, and this collection culls a sample set of songs from some of those local versions. The downside of the collection is that unlike a lot of the Putumayo compilations, the overall quality of the songs isn't as compelling. Sesame Street has such a rich musical history here in the U.S. that it almost seems unfair to limit it to just Elmo's Song, "Sing," and a Chinese-language rendition of "Rubber Duckie." It's not that the songs are bad (I like the India show opening "Galli Galli Sim Sim" and "Ricas Frutas" from Mexico), just that it casts such a wide net that there isn't the cohesion your hear on the other, more sonically focused collections. On the other hand, the disk also includes a DVD with videos for five of the songs on the album. It's the visual that gives a lot of context to the songs. On video, the point of the songs is clear, even without the captions that are provided. (And Putumayo's liner notes are, as usual, very strong.) The album will be of most interest to kids ages 3 through 6; you can listen to clips and watch all the videos here. I don't think Sesame Street Playground has quite the repeat playability a lot of their albums has. But a lot of the songs are enjoyable and the videos serve as an easy introduction to cultures (or, at least, muppets) from around the world. If your kids enjoy Sesame Street, they may find this album an interesting side trip.

Seven Sleepy CDs: A Whole Bunch of Lullaby Reviews

I get lots of CDs, of course, and just like sometimes you'll see a whole of TV shows suddenly appear with the same theme, earlier this year I got a raft of lullaby/sleeptime CDs. I've collected some of the more interesting ones from that rush, plus a few slightly older ones that got overlooked the first time around. That's right, folks, seven CDs. At least one of them's gonna put you (or your kid) to sleep but in, like, a good way. The list starts after the jump.