Folk Playground

Music review by
Scott Bierko, Common Sense Media
Folk Playground Music Poster Image
Pleasant performances; not very folky, though.

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

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What parents need to know

Parents need to know that there's nothing objectionable here. They should also be aware that this title from Putumayo World Music isn't authentic folk music.

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What's the story?

FOLK PLAYGROUND is a pleasant collection of sweet acoustic songs performed by a garden-variety of talented artists. To call this a collection of \"folk music\" is dubious, however. Folk Playground is really a hodgepodge of new songs and children's standards that sound closer to today's alternative folk-rock. That distinction aside, most listeners will find someone and something on this CD to like. Zoe Lewis' \"Sheep\" is a wonderful track with delightful harmonies, sound effects, and a welcome approach to the genre of children's music. Jon Gailmor's \"Just Kidding\" highlights this artist's clever writing and expressive vocal range. Near the end of the CD, we're treated to Leon Redbone's \"Polly Wolly Doodle\". The inclusion of his spare, clean baritone voice is one of the best parts of this CD.

Is it any good?

Next time, Putumayo might dig a little deeper into the folk culture to find more authentic players that are not being exposed by the mainstream. Did we really need to hear Laurie Berkner's polished version of "Froggie Went a Courtin" when someone out of the real New Orleans tradition could have given us the authentic, raspy, and swampy feel that song deserves? There's a wide world of banjos, dulcimers, accordions, and old-timey singers out there who kids and families would enjoy -- next time, they should be invited to the Folk Playground.

Talk to your kids about ...

  • Families can talk about the genre of folk music. What instruments on this record are electric? Which ones are acoustic? Some might say that folk music is easy to play and sing by "folks" of all ages and talents -- as opposed to most pop music, which requires special instruments and highly trained singers. What do you think?

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