various artists,
Dreamland: World Lullabies
& Soothing Songs

(Putumayo, 2003)

Dreamland is a sweet collection of lullabies from all around the world. The songs hail from such exotic places as West Africa, Madagascar, Brazil and Japan. Each track introduces a featured singer, all of whom have incredibly rich voices. Many of these songs were written or collected by the artists, making this collection unique. In fact, many of the singers composed these songs for their children; others recall songs from their own childhoods.

While the songs appear in their original language (rarely English), they are simplistic and beautiful, with general meanings quite clear from both the singing and the booklet's explanation.

The booklet's commentary on songs appears in Spanish, French and German, as well as English, helping kids to learn languages as they read along with the music. While the booklet does not include full sets of lyrics, it includes each chorus and general meaning, translated into all four languages. From listening to each song, it is quite easy to follow the meaning.

A band from Australia brings us short, soothing "Yi-Rana," artfully blended through many male voices. "La Vai Alguen" from Brazilian singer Virginia Rosa is more sing-song, rhyming like a picture book. The American, Tanja Solnik, offers her own diversity with the ancient Jewish lullabye, "Numi Numi." Kanji Yano plays the wordless Japanese "Cradle Song" on the rhythmic sanshin, a stringed instrument from Okinawa. Angelique Kidjo, a world famous West African singer, composed the soulful "Naima," which named for her daughter.

The collection finishes with Zulya Kamalova singing the traditional Russian lullaby, angelic in its choral beauty, against a background of soft organ. Truly, this is a bedtime collection not to miss.

- Rambles
written by Valerie Frankel
published 27 September 2003

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