African Dreamland

Music review by
Amy Weaver, Common Sense Media
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Happy songs the whole family will dig.

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A lot or a little?

The parents' guide to what's in this music.

Positive Messages

Promotes appreciation for music from different cultures. Also, proceeds benefit NextAid, a charity that helps African kids.

Violence & Scariness
Sexy Stuff
Drinking, Drugs & Smoking

What parents need to know

Parents need to know that this short, pleasing collection of African lullabies makes a great transition from a busy day into a relaxing evening. The fourth CD in the Putumayo Dreamland series features both well-known African musicians like Ladysmith Black Mambazo, Habib Koite, and Samite, as well as some emerging artists.Though it's promoted as a bedtime soundtrack, it's also nice to play while making dinner, and will help the whole family wind down.

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What's the story?

When you pop in AFRICAN DREAMLAND, be prepared to have a moment of confusion. It doesn't necessarily sound like kid's music, and it doesn't sound like a collection of songs meant to induce slumber. It may also take you back in time to that Paul Simon album from the early '90s -- the one where he jammed with Ladysmith Black Mambazo. The South African group is here in all their glory, singing the first of 11 lovely lullabies from the African continent.

Is it any good?

This CD is classic Putumayo -- full of thoughtful upbeat music and diverse artists representing the African continent, from Mali to Cape Verde. But this album is a bit livelier than other titles such as Asian Dreamland, which does seem more suited for the nursery. Still, African Dreamland is a nice CD to add to your collection of low-key evening favorites.

Talk to your kids about ...

  • Families can talk about how different types of music are appropriate for various times of day. While these lovely African lullabies could very well be a soundtrack to sleep, they also make a good accompaniment to quiet play and dinnertime. Also, what do your kids know about Africa? Does this music make them want to know more?

Music details

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