Review in Brief: Celtic Dreamland - Various Artists (Putumayo)

CelticDreamland.jpgWhen you release as many albums on a regular basis as Putumayo Kids does, it makes it hard for the reviewer to come up with new things to say about the CDs. Celtic Dreamland, released in November 2007, continues Putumayo's run of artfully-produced disks. It's the third in its "Dreamland" series, and even the 4-year-old in your family could figure out that it's an album designed for sleepy-time. You may want to explain to your kids how Celtic music -- typically music with Irish or Scottish lineage -- is distinguished from other musical styles, but Putumayo's typically descriptive liner notes may help in that regard.

The music is definitely relaxing, although it may be a bit too sunny in parts for it to be a perfect lullaby album. (I actuallly prefer Ellipsis Arts' collections when it comes to pure lullaby CDs.) There are a number of traditional (Celtic) lullabies here, but as is the case with many Putumayo disks, the foreign language (in this case, Gaelic) in which a number of the songs are sung helps mask those cases where the song isn't really a lullaby. If I had to pick a favorite (or most lullaby-ish) song in the collection, it'd be Susan McKeown's rendition of the traditional Irish lullaby "A Phluirin Mhilis," McKeown's voice and acoustic guitar a lovely combination. (The last 3 tracks, led off by McKeown, are probably the best here.)

As a putative lullaby album, I'd put the age range here at ages 0 through 5, though as with most Putumayo Kids disks, there really isn't an age range. You can hear samples of the 32-minute disk at the album's webpage. Putumayo's still working its way toward an excellent album of pure lullabies, but Celtic Dreamland is a good collection that serves its purpose as a mellow-time introduction to the genre of Celtic music. Recommended.