Spanning the globe to bring you the constant variety of kids' music, I'm always excited to find that the North American kids music scene is making waves elsewhere in the world. So when the South American parenting site Emma & Rob mentioned this site a while back, I tooled around their site to see what music I could find.
What I found was Minimúsica.
Minimúsica is a Spanish educational project headquartered in the Catalonian capital of Barcelona. The project releases records, hosts concerts, and generally spreads the word about music for kids. It's associated with the Spanish record label Sones, distributor of artists such as Mujeres and Dirty Beaches, so you're pretty sure it's got an indie tilt.
And once you hear a track like "Autocar" ["Coach"] from the band Me & the Bees, you know it's got an indie tilt.
Me & the Bees - "Autocar" [YouTube]
The track -- about getting ready to get on a bus for a six-hour ride to Pamplona -- is from the Els Transports album, Minimúsica's second collection of kid-friendly tunes. It is, as you might guess even if you don't speak Catalan, all about transportation, featuring songs about trains, bikes, rockets, planes, running shoes, and dreamboats (OK, that last one's a bit of a stretch perhaps). In the tradition of the For the Kids series and many other compilations, the collection features music from bands who spend most of their time playing for audiences with drivers' licenses.
There's more where that came from...
The rest of the album covers a wide variety of musical styles -- the punky pop of that Me & the Bees track, the show-tune stylings of Evripides and his Tragedies to the experimental reggae of ZA! to the surf-rock of Mujeres. Songs are not just in Spanish -- the folks at Minimúsica specifically sought out songs in Spanish, Catalan, and even English. (And the CD version of the album features liner notes in all 3 languages.)
Both Els Transports and its 2010 predecessor Els Aliments [Food, featuring an entirely different set of artists] are lots of fun, without a doubt the closest analogue to "kindie rock" that I've heard from a non-English-language source. The albums are brief (27 and 24 minutes, respectively for Els Aliments and Els Transports), but if you're looking for Spanish-language music with a different sound from most of the Spanish-language music we get here in North America, I can't recommend this highly enough. If some of these songs don't appear on a future Putumayao Kids album, I will be disappointed. Take a listen, won't you?