Check This Out: American Playground – Putumayo Kids

61C4EhMbbXLSince 1999, the fine folks at Putumayo Kids have been curating some of the most wonderful collections of world music, aiming to introduce children to other cultures through song.

American Playground, the group’s latest release, delivers classic American sing-alongs through a diverse array of styles. While many of the songs are familiar folk tunes, other genres such as blues, gospel, country and jazz are also represented.

Like a delicious slice of apple pie, American Playground, serves up time tested renditions of familiar tunes such as “This Land Is Your Land,” “This Little Light Of Mine,” “She’ll Be Coming ‘Round The Mountain,” and “Oh, Susannah.”

Some of our favorite kindie artists are featured on American Playground starting with Johnny Bregar, who recorded a new version of “She’ll Be Coming ‘Round The Mountain” specifically for American Playground. Other artists like Elizabeth Mitchell, Dan Zanes and Randy Kaplan are also featured. I especially love the jazzy, upbeat “Blue Skies,” delivered by Texas based Country-western artist Aaron Watson (with Elizabeth McQueen). Watson’s and McQueen’s sunny vocals make you want to throw a picnic blanket under a shady tree, sip on some lemonade and soak up the fresh summer air.

“We All Need More Kindness In This World,” an original written by Guy Davis, delivers a wonderful message while capturing the essence of early American folk. Hearing Buck Howdy’s upbeat, country version of “You Are My Sunshine” breathes new life into a song that was introduced to me when I was a child and one that I have sung to Em since she was born. It’s also the perfect tempo for kicking up your heels and swingin’ around with a little partner or two.

Once again Putumayo Kids delivers a quality collection of songs. American Playground is filled with timeless classics that span generations. In addition to enjoying the sounds that were so influential in the history of American music, families who purchase the album can enjoy a colorful, star-spangled booklet containing 20 pages of information about each artist, along with the origin of each song. Recommended for all ages!

Take a listen to American Playground through Putumayo Kids’ Bandcamp widget below. You can also grab a copy from Amazon.

Note: Last year, Putumayo Kids announced the first-ever digital availability of selected recordings, including American Playground, available for purchase through the LeapFrog App Center. Additionally, those with satellite radio can enjoy The World Playground with Putumayo, featuring Putumayo Kids’ music, on Saturdays at 10 a.m. EST through Channel 78 (Kids Place Live).

Giveaway: The folks at Putumayo Kids have generously offered to give away a copy of this American Playground to one lucky reader.  Click here to win.

FREE Download: Summer 2013 Rockin’ Kindie Road Trip Playlist

Summer is a comin’ and having a soundtrack to go with it is an absolute must! The good news is that from now until June 1 you can download 13 rockin’ Kindie tracks for FREE. Normally, I would be wary of the number 13, but in this case I can honestly say 13 is a magic number!

Presented by BunchFamily and cleverly curated by Beth Benz-Claus, this list ebbs and flows like a fine mixtape (or digital playlist, in this case) should. You’ll find a variety of styles some of which include Americana, good ole Rock n’ Roll and even some Soul. Check the list and download now before time runs out!

“Wander Round the World” – Key Wilde and Mr Clarke from Pleased to Meet You
“Train Song” – Charlie Hope from I’m Me
“Outshining Nomads” – Dean Jones from When the World Was New
“Slow” – Trout Fishing in America from an unreleased album due out this summer.
“Hard Travelin'” – Alastair Moock (featuring The Okee Dokee Brothers) from an unreleased album due out this summer.
“She’ll Be Comin’ Round the Mountain” – Johnny Bregar from Putumayo Kids American Playground
“Honk Honk” – The Monkey Bunch from Power to the Little People
“My Green Kite” – Peter Himmelman from My Green Kite
“Let’s Skateboard” – The Not-Its! from KidQuake!
“Kilimanjaro” – Shine and the Moonbeams from unreleased album due out this summer
“Turn Around” – Cat Doorman from Cat Doorman Songbook
“Fruit Jar” – Justin Roberts from Pop Fly
“Down at the Sea Hotel” – The Secret Mountain

Putumayo Kids, LeapFrog and Pictures!

Ok, I admit it, a huge motivation for me to drive 30 minutes and pay close to $40 on admission for our local Children’s Museum is because they have a dance room which plays nothing but Putumayo Kids albums. And even though said museum is a great playground for those that toddle, we spend most of our time movin’ to eclectic compilations as they come to life through surround sound speakers. Of course, trying to catch the moving lights on the floor and sparkles from the disco ball is fun too, but it’s all way more colorful when you are surrounded by world beats.

So, I am pleased to announce that Putumayo Kids is partnering up with LeapFrog and will release 4 of its award-winning full-length Playground CDs exclusively from LeapFrog’s App Center (http://www.leapfrog.com/en/appcenter.html) for Leapfrog’s LeapPad1 and the recently launched LeapPad2 and LeapsterGS.

Three of the four digital releases, European Playground, Jazz Playground and Cowboy Playground, are now available at the link above. The fourth upcoming release, World Sing-Along, includes two songs featuring Dan Zanes, as well as, Frances England’s “That’s What Friends Are For” (originally featured on the Many Hands: Family Music For Haiti release from Spare the Rock Records).  Children from Pihcintu Multicultural Children’s Choir, which features refugee girls mostly from war-torn regions, will sing “Around the World” to close the album. The release will be made available to the general public on October 30th and through the LeapFrog App Center on November 6th.  You can enjoy a free preview the album through the Bandcamp widget below.

Putumayo World Music will contribute $5,000 from sales of World Sing-Along during the period October 2012 through October 2014 to Population Services Internation (PSI) in support of its Five & Alive® campaign to ensure that all children have a healthy start to life, no matter where they are born. For more information about PSI, please visit www.psi.org.

Putumayo is also pleased to offer its first photography calendar, Children of the World, featuring images of children from Africa, Asia and Latin America by renowned photographer Jon Kaplan. Ten percent of Putumayo’s sales of the calendar (available October 1st), will be contributed to Seva (www.seva.org), a nonprofit organization which builds sustainable health programs that serve vulnerable populations around the world and help end preventable blindness, that has restored eyesight to more than 3 million people.