Jessica's Picks

Sun, 01/30/2011 - 4:06pm

*******PUTUMAYO Summer Sampler CD Giveaway!!! Leave us a comment below telling us your favourite Putumayo Song for a chance to win one of 10 free Putumayo CDs. We will pick 10 winners via random draw on Monday August 6th at 12pm************

I had to think long and hard about what was going to be my first pick. There are so many things I love to use on a daily basis. But the one common denominator is music! Music is literally the soundtrack of my life. In our house we listen to music from the time we get up until we go to bed. And I use music constantly as a dance instructor. I would not consider myself a music snob, I like almost all genres of music (well except new Country), so we listen to a very eclectic mix at home and at the studio. With the little ears that surround me on a daily basis I am also very conscious that my music choices need to be kid friendly. And so my parents at the studio ( and the Dude at home) don't want to beat their head against the wall after a 45 minute class, I also respect every parents desire that music be parent friendly too. I can still remember the week Bria wanted to listen to Baby Beluga... non-stop... all day long... and I had to sing along... every time!

Putumayo Kids CDs fit the bill! I first discovered their award winning Animal Playground at Chapters when Bria was a baby. I was looking for music that wasn't Raffi (love Raffi but Mama needed a break), that Bria would enjoy, and that I could handle listening to if it ended up on repeat multiple times a day (parents repeat after me: repetition, repetition, repetition is good!). We put it into the cd player on the way home and Bria was in heaven, kicking her feet and cooing along. And Mama got the break she was looking for. The music was not just a collection of simple goofy songs about animals, but rather an experience in world music. Songs from Trinidad, Italy, Brazil, France, New Orleans, and more filled the car. It took us out of cold winter driving during rush hour to exotic destinations around the world. The songs weren't dumbed down to "kid" level as I often find with children's music, but rather masterfully crafted to create an accessible experience that left me feeling good. In fact the company's motto is: guaranteed to make you feel good!

Over the past few years our Putumayo Kids CD collection has continued to grow. We shake our hips to Latin Playground, twist and shout to Rock and Roll Playground, play our drums to African Playground, dance and sing to World Playground, and relax to Dreamland, another division of Putumayo Kids focused on global lullabies.

We have taken many other titles out of the library as they can be tricky to find (I am assuming because they are such popular sellers) and have enjoyed every single one. The songs from the collections frequently make their way into my class playlists. In fact our most requested activity in our parent and tot and preschool classes is a dance we made up to the song "No More Monkeys" from the Animal Playground collections. Parents and kids just can't help to jump along to this Trinidadian version of the poem Five Little Moneys Jumping on the Bed. Check out the music video by Putumayo Kids :

Over the past month I have been doing a bit more research into the company. The more I learn the more I love Putumayo! They are truly dedicated to providing people with an authentic music experience and use many undiscovered international artists in their collections. They are committed to making the world a better place by donating at least 1% of sales (over 1 million dollars to date) to non-profit groups in areas of the world where the music from their collections originate.  They are committed to education as stated on their website "An international music selection contributes to the education of future global citizens". But more then just words they show this commitment by offering FREE teaching guides to accompany 6 of their children's collections! There are so many amazing things this company is doing on a global scale! Read more about Putumayo Kids here.

The reason I took a deeper look into the company's background is because I was interested in retailing the cds at J'Adore Dance. I figured rather then having to send my clients to stores all over the city looking for these great cds, I should just bring them into my space. They have been fabulous to deal with from a business perspective as well. They focus on selling their cds in non-traditional settings like dance studios, book stores, and education supply retailers so J'Adore Dance is a perfect fit. Putumayo also offers a 60 day no risk trial on retails orders. They stand behind their product and I like that! The Canadian sales manager was super friendly and helpful on the phone, giving me suggestions or other titles we might enjoy from the Adult collections (Putumayo World). She was just as excited as I was to get their CDs in our studio and I appreciated that. So click on some of the collection links above and take a listen to some great music (all songs can be heard for free on their website). If you enjoy what you hear as much as our family has you can find their music in Edmonton at:

Have great music you love to listen to with your kids? Send me your suggestions! I would love to hear them!

* All the beautiful artwork and cd covers in this blog post are owned by Putumayo World and the talented Nicola Heindl

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