Putumayo Kids Presents World Sing-Along

Music review by
Kim Alessi, Common Sense Media
Putumayo Kids Presents World Sing-Along Music Poster Image
A welcoming introduction to world music for little ones.

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

Educational Value

Putumayo Kids Presents World Sing-Along exposes families to music and expressive culture from around the world. Whether it's language or musical style, these songs bring the world in a little closer through the invitation of participation. Each song has a repeated sing-along section, so kids can learn traditional English-language folk songs as well as a few words or phrases in Spanish, Mandarin, Portuguese, German, and Caribbean Creole.

Positive Messages

These songs encourage sing-along participation. Each song has at least one section where kids can sing (or hum) along, regardless of language.

Positive Role Models & Representations

These songs expose families to music from across the globe and are a great way to open up ears and minds to world cultures.

Violence & Scariness
Sexy Stuff

Putumayo World Music pledges to donate $5,000 from the sales of World Sing-Along to Population Services International (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.

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What parents need to know

Parents need to know that World Sing-Along is an inviting collection of kid-friendly world music songs by Putumayo Kids Presents. The majority of songs are in English or have verses that alternate between English and another language. Some are traditional folk songs, others are originals, and all span musical genres including cumbia, reggae, calypso, pop, and doo-wop. As its title suggests, every song on this album has a sing-along section, regardless of language, that draws listeners of all ages to join in on the fun.

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What's the story?

Putumayo Kids Presents World Sing-Along features 11 songs from El Salvador, Australia, Brazil, Trinidad, Switzerland, China, Jamaica, Cuba, Benin, and the US. The songs are upbeat and performed in genres that span the globe, including a cumbia version of \"La Cucaracha,\" a reggae rendition of the children's nursery rhyme, \"Ah Sailor,\" and a calypso version of \"Jamaica Farewell. There's also the folky \"That's What Friends Are For\" and \"Shang Xue Ge,\" the pop/doo-wop \"Krokodil,\" and even an Afro-pop inspired choral piece, \"Around The World.\"

Is it any good?

On its own, PUTAMAYO KIDS PRESENTS: WORLD SING-ALONG is enjoyable. But compared to other Putumayo Kid world music compilations, this album is a bit lackluster. Perhaps it's the over-reliance on English-language lyrics or, when there are non-English lyrics, a dependency on Western pop-style music. That said, the album gets kudos for introducing young listeners to some traditional world favorites and decent originals from world artists, even if they are sung in English or played with Western instruments.

Standout tracks include: "Ah Sailor" by Asheba (Trinidad), "That's What Friends Are For" by Frances England (USA), "Jig Jog Gee" by Father Goose, featuring Screechy Dan and Dan Zanes (Jamaica/USA), "Shang Xue Ge by A Little Mandarin (China), "Pititi y Titi" by Jose Conde (Cuba/USA), and "Jamaica Farewell" by Dan Zanes and Angelica Kidjo (Benin/USA).

Talk to your kids about ...

  • Families can talk about what part or parts of these songs are sing-along. What makes the parts easy to sing along with? Is it the melody, the lyrics, the repetition? How do you feel when you sing along with a song in another language?

  • Using a world map or globe, locate the countries where these songs or musicians originate from. Are there a higher number of English-speaking singers on this recording? If so, what are your thoughts on this?


  • What other ways besides music can you become familiar with another culture? Through dance, food, visual art, literature, and language? Do you have friends from other countries who speak a language other than English? What are some of their favorite sing-along songs in their native language?

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