Thursday, April 11, 2013

No Language Barrier for Latin Dreamland

There's a fine line I walk with world music. While I don't consider myself innately xenophobic, I do miss many of the intricacies and differences between similar, yet disparate foreign cultures. That can be frustrating and annoying, especially when I scan other reviews by people who marvel at the natural tonality or native charm of these performers.

Having dug myself into a hole, let me state for the record that Putumayo Kids' new CD, LATIN DREAMLAND, is a fine compilation of songs. The company has collected recordings representing artists from Argentina, Brazil, Columbia, Venezuela, Mexico, and Peru. The 10 tracks range from traditional classics to reinterpretations of famous fables.

Pamela Rodriguez (Peru) sings "Cunita de Hielo (por Triste)," about the children of the South who sleep in cold climates and need their mothers to keep them warm:

Sleep my child, sleep
In your little cradle of forgotten memories
Dream, my child, dream
That an angel is bringing you warmth

Now that's COLD.

Brazilian Reginaldo Frazatto Jr. sings "A Jardineira (A Gardnerer)," a song first recorded in 1938 at a much faster tempo for Carnaval. In the song, a female gardener mourns the loss of one of her flowers. The singer tells her, "Don't by sad, my love, you are much prettier than the flower." Somehow I can just picture a Brazilian saying that, only as a pickup line.

LATIN DREAMLAND clocks in at a swift 28 minutes, which is to be expected from children's lullabies. The production is lively and full (listen to some tracks on headphones) with orchestrations that will go over the heads of most young children. Still, you don't need translations to convey the mode and magic that these performers bring to these songs.

LATIN DREAMLAND is available from the Putumayo website, Amazon, and iTunes.
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